Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bee Vision

Have you ever seen a picture of what the world looks like to a bee? The flowers are all totally different colors and even have patterns in ultra-violet wavelengths that humans don't even know exist. Becoming a parent is a lot like gaining bee vision. You suddenly become aware of a whole world of emotions and an entire pattern of life that you never fully understood before.

Some days I'm able to turn this new part of myself off when I go to work. Its weird. Its as if as I ride the train into work in the morning cards in my brain are shuffled and I become "Work Woman". Then as I ride the train home in the afternoon the cards are reshuffled and I become "Mommy Wife Lady". However, recently, I realized that I take the "mommy" side of me to the office more often than I realize, and that, when I'm not letting baby talk slip out in a meeting (I'm sure no one else remembers but I'm still so embarrassed!!) this emotional growth has actually made me a better worker. My communication skills and flexibility in the workplace have improved. I have more realistic expectations of fellow employees, and I have more understanding about the myriad of life experiences that motivate people and make up our day to day interactions. I'm also more in tune with non-verbal cues (for example I'm pretty sure that asshole in that meeting the other day was just constipated), and I think I now qualify as a multi-tasking black belt.

But in all seriousness, I think that the skills we gain as parents should be valued in the workplace, not disparaged. And when I read about the new breastfeeding law for hourly wage earners and the telework bill for feds that is in the works (notice that there are no laws to expand maternity/paternity leave in sight), I couldn't help but wonder why parents have to fight for the right to be good parents AND good employees. We aren't just distracted, slacking workers who take lots of extra sick days to take care of our kids. We have special skills and life experiences to offer as well.

Maybe employers would notice what we offer if we started putting parenthood as a skill on our resumes. Maybe list it along with "familiar with Microsoft Office" and "highly organized". Although, then our children would be called as references, which would mean that bath time would never come, we would have to read "The Foot Book" ten trillion times, and spend weeks and weeks in the sandbox. Hmm. Maybe legislation would be easier.

1 comment:

  1. I have noticed that the people I work with who are the best at team building are those who have children. Its like their children have taught them a type of patience that I don't have. Or maybe they think of honing people's skills whereas I think about hiring someone who already has the skills.