Slowing Down, Compassion, and Time Management
I gave birth to three children in short order. For about five (5) years from the mid- to late-aughts I don’t remember much of popular culture. TV, movies, songs – it’s a gaping hole.
I absolutely loved raising our children and seeing their little hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits grow. It felt good to give and receive “huggles” from our son, to see our eldest run around leading the other little kids in a playgroup, and our middle creating her artistic masterpieces amid the chaos around her. At times, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. I alternately fumed that I wasn’t using my brain enough or believed that my brain had stopped functioning.
If nothing else, I discovered how to slow down. Children can’t process information, events, or emotions as quickly as adults. They need us to explain the how’s and why’s of the amazing world around them. Slowing down made me more aware of how much life I’d missed focusing on the next hurdle or ruminating on the past. Things like:
- walking down the street and greeting other pedestrians;
- providing full-bodied hugs after being stung by a bee;
- eating a gingerbread man during snack time at the local park;
- playing in the sandbox “just because.”
By slowing down, I learned a few things: compassion and time management. Compassion developed through meeting the needs of others. Young children require full attention. When we don’t address their demands quickly, emotions escalate FAST. Taking time to respond to our children teaches them their needs are valid and deserve our loving care. Over the years, this allows them to practise compassion with others because they’ve experienced it themselves.
Parenting young children also requires exceptional time management skills. Timing naps, meals, activities, bath-time, and bed sounds innocuous until you do it. Then you recognize the planning involved. I remember having a window between 1:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. to do yoga when I had all three kids napping. It was the only time to myself during the day and, if I didn’t nab it then, I lost the opportunity altogether. Add in the usual extracurricular events like swimming lessons and soccer games and you add another layer to the level of organization required. Eventually, I colour-coded my calendar by child so I could see who had what event when.
The business world needs to know that parenting skills are business skills. Full stop. When I returned to work full time I was only offered junior roles as if I were less capable since I had become a mom. In truth, my compassion and time management skills increased, valuable assets in my area of specialty, HR.
Through my lived experience, I fully appreciate what parents bring to the working world and why business needs more of it. Imagine if we all took a moment to slow down at work. To respond instead of react. Wouldn’t we make more thoughtful decisions? Consider compassion and time management. If we saw more of them today, we’d see a lot less burnout happening in the workplace. And make no mistake, there’s a lot of burnout happening now not just with parents but with all workers.