By Neha Bagaria
Shortly after I restarted my career, I had to attend an early morning meeting after a Friday night of partying that had extended into the wee hours of the morning. There were many others like me who had managed to catch only a few hours of sleep the night before.
The only difference was that I felt fresh and wide awake while the others could barely manage to keep their eyes open.
The only difference was that I was a young mother, which had given me sufficient practice managing on a few hours of sleep at night!
After having survived months of breastfeeding my baby through the night and then catering to the needs of my toddler during the day, a juggle between partying and corporate meetings felt like a walk in the park!
In fact, soon after restarting my career, I started realizing that motherhood has given me several life skills that no college degree could have.
Here are just 3…
Wharton always stressed the importance of multitasking and pushed us to take on more and more every day. It wasn’t enough to be graduating with a Wharton degree – they pushed us to consider dual and triple concentrations, join several groups and organizations, apply for internships, debate and discuss with professors and peers, take up community service, be active in sports and other extracurriculars… the list goes on.
But, none of it compares to the multitasking required as a mother.
Being able to attend a conference call while changing a baby’s diaper and have a toddler tugging at your shirt teaches you how to multitask effectively.
And after having to cater to your older child’s needs, younger child’s needs, husband’s needs, in-laws’ needs, parents’ needs, and finally your own needs – you DEFINITELY become an expert at the art of multi-tasking!
Wharton really stresses the importance of teamwork and we all had to take a compulsory class called Management 100 during our very first semester to hone our teamwork skills. My group had a project at the local YMCA to teach us how to achieve something as a team. I now realize that instead, they should have just given us a baby to take care of because nothing else can teach you better teamwork!
It was only after we became parents that my husband and I started feeling like we were part of a team.
A team that needed to support one another physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a team, we needed to lay down ground rules and stick to them. As a team, we needed to cover up when the other was unavailable, sick, or just having a breakdown. As a team, we had to remind one another that “this too shall pass” and our kids will turn out fine. And as a team, we were able to enjoy the fruits of our hard labour – when those little voices said “I love you” and planted big kisses on our cheeks.
This kind of teamwork teaches you how important it is to build camaraderie in the workplace too; support and build one another up instead of tearing each other down.
3) Patience & Endurance
No job in the world requires more patience than bringing up children. Because not only are children unreasonable, they are also extremely fragile. So, no matter how far over the edge they may drive you, you need to somehow keep your cool or risk breaking the heart of your little two-year-old.
And, nothing can teach you endurance better than having to tend to a child who’s very sick. Because in this situation, you have to keep not only your own morale up but also your child’s, even though his pain and suffering is ripping your heart apart with worry and misery.
Once you have built up the patience and endurance that motherhood teaches you, you can apply them to every annoying colleague and every challenging business setback because after all, nothing can ever be as infuriating or heart-breaking as a child.
There are many other skills that I learnt from motherhood like financial prudence, discipline, and even managing HR with household staff.