Try walking around in someone else’s shoes…

 

So I’m almost 8 weeks into part-time work and my new role and I am already feeling seriously grateful for the opportunity to work flexibly, and as selfish as this may sound happy I don’t have to feel the combined weight of a large team of people’s problems, worries and ambitions anymore and quite so much of the ‘mama guilt’.  I’m also relishing the opportunity to do some ‘doing’ and less talking, getting hands on with some training and feeling the pressure to ‘be the big boss’ easing away and more and more elements of Mama Lady shining through.

I’ve also been heavily reminded of the benefits of living and breathing the detail and as in ‘Make it happen’ the importance of just getting stuck in, after all having worked from the ground up these things got me to this Mama Boss Lady position in the first place.  Plus whilst there are certain ‘gripes’ I may have not quite dismissed previously, but definitely not give 100% empathy towards, now I am having to admit are damn right annoying; ‘computer speed’ in the office is a no go phrase and I too have nearly launched mine out the first floor window several times over the last few weeks..

I strongly believe to be a good Boss Lady you need to have at least some eye on the detail, being able to filter out the ‘BS’ can save a lot of time and heartache when it comes to managing people but it also gives you a basis to train, lead and inspire others.  So if you’ve walked around in your teams shoes and seen it for yourself you’ll know wether or not to ‘believe it’, but more importantly it can be a great way of earning respect as a boss.

Now when it comes to parenting you also really need to ‘see it to believe it’… Dada Boss Dude and I discussed over a ‘date dinner’ recently how we have actually become those people who say ‘you don’t know what a sense of purpose is in life until you become a parent’ which is almost as bad as saying ‘you don’t know what love is until you have a child’ but in all seriousness there are a number of things you just have to see, and its not until you become a Mama Lady (Dada Dude) do you;

  1. Know what tiredness is; after the initial 3-12 months(?!) of waking throughout the night to feed/change etc it then turns into 5am wakes ups 7-days a week and requests for Ben & Holly on the telly before you’ve even registered if there is daylight outside, and this is all before the teenage years when I have no doubt I’ll be awake all night worrying if the little lady is home safely yet, either that or up waiting all night as Mamas taxi!
  2. Appreciate the value of simple yet ingenious gadgets such a nappy bin (seriously on my top 5 lists of baby buys), the muslin cloth, the self-sterilising bottle (god bless Mam you clever people) or the JoJoMamaBebe toy leads (no more Sophie La Girafe overboard/the buggy) who knew before this stuff even existed let alone how reliant on it all you’d become.
  3. Appreciate your own parents; suddenly you get why they called Broccoli ‘trees’ and went to the effort of making you weird pictures out of food, anything to get you to eat, and you can almost forgive their annoying Grandparent behaviour having put up with you for so long.. you know doing the complete opposite when it came to the rules they bestowed upon you – grandchildren can eat as much ice-cream as they like, stay up late, avoid naps and be bought another god damn Peppa Pig book complete with sound affects just because..
  4. Really get to test your negotiation skills; I used to think I was pretty good at haggling over my teams quarterly targets, and recruitment agency fees but nothing tests you like coaxing a toddler away from another overpriced Paw Patrol stuffed toy in Sainsbury’s or having to use the power of song, dance, a rag doll and your blusher brush to convince a toddler brushing their teeth is not just essential but also super fun! (Note: I later found some suspiciously familiar rosy pink patches on the hall cream carpet, almost exactly the size of a blusher brush swirl?!)
  5. Understand the true definitions of.. poonami, regression, milestones, jumperoo, routine, dum dums, uh oh..you get the idea..

As someone who was genuinely happy living a childless married life for nearly 5 years before having a little lady I really do understand why people choose not becomes Mamas & Dadas and at that time I really did feel fulfilled, and happy and all of those things.  I was often quick to roll my eyes at the woman ramming her buggy into the back of my ankles and new suede boots, kids throwing food across my local Pret while I was trying to enjoy my Sunday brunch, but now again seeing things from the other side I have to admit it really is a case of you ‘just don’t know until you try it’, what you’ve never had you can’t miss and therefore trust me; don’t judge, you really do need to try and walk around in some ‘mama shoes’.

I distinctly remember the little lady being about 4 month old, sat in the John Lewis cafe (standard maternity leave activity – less ‘ladies that lunch’ more like a change of scenery and someone to make you a coffee) next to a lady with her Mama and newborn and hearing her horror at having realised she had forgotten to pack any milk and that it would take a good 15-20 minutes to get to the nearest shops where she could stock up on some Aptamil.  Shortly after the crying began and as the baby’s face grew redder so did hers so having been in exactly her shoes many a times before and regularly ‘forgetting something’ I offered her a spare premixed bottle I kept in the bottom of my own nappy bag.  Her face in response said it all, a knowing Mama thank you, eased dropped shoulders in relief and “seriously don’t worry about it” from me and the baby got fed, and we both felt a little bit more connected to the world of Mamahood mayhem.  In that moment as someone who had ‘lived and breathed the detail’ I was well equipped to help, and to understand the fraught overwhelming panic that at times like this often it can feel like only another Mama would ‘get’.

It’s often described as a ‘Mum Club’ or some kind of ‘tribe’, personally I hate this and what having a little lady has taught me is that yes sometimes it helps if you are a Mama too but actually its about kindness and that shouldn’t be exclusive to dishing out nappy bags, or spare anything.  We should all make the effort every now and again to resist the temptation to roll our eyes, hold back on making our own judgements and try on someone else’s shoes for size.

When it comes to Mama’s we don’t want sympathy for how tired we are we just want a little kindness, the best support and encouragement I’ve had recently has been from a non-Mama friend who simply said ‘you are Wonder Woman’ the best boost any Lady Mama or otherwise could wish to hear.  As for Boss Lady life well maybe we should turn the boardroom tables now and again, see for ourselves, get reacquainted and hands on with the detail because as my own Dada boss taught me you can ‘work hard and be kind’.

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Mama and Boss Lady style in shoes both amazing Bicester Village finds (if you love shopping and bargains well worth a visit)

 

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