“Congratulations on your promotion to Manager! You will receive your welcome letter from HR with your benefit package soon. We hope you’ll enjoy Parenting for years to come.”   Yes, it’s true. When you become a mom, it’s like being promoted to management.  You go from being responsible for just you to being IN CHARGE!  Don’t believe me?  Here are 5 ways being a mom is like being promoted to manager for the first time.

1.  You were really good at your old job, but have no clue how to do the new one.  Sure you may have been a star employee, but how are you supposed to know how to manage others?  When they hand you your baby for the first time, then they LET YOU TAKE HER HOME, you probably have never felt more clueless.  Rest assured every parent has been in your shoes.  As scary as it is, you’ll figure it out.  Just don’t try to do it alone.  Reach out to others who have been there, done that.  In other words, ask for help and get some training!

2.  Your direct reports need your direction and support.  Or they don’t need either.  And then they will need one or both again.  It’s your job as the manager to figure it out and react accordingly.  This week, my daughter knows everything.  I know this because she told me so.  She already knows how to play Crazy 8’s and can play bingo (never played either before) all by herself.  Of course, once she got into both games, she realized how much she didn’t know.  I was glad to help once she realized she needed it.  You’ll learn more from your kids by listening to them and observing them than any parenting book can teach you.

3.  Your daily routine consists of negotiations and concessions.  When you’re a manager, you’re always trying to balance what is good for the company and “The Bottom Line” with what works for your department and your employees.  When you’re a mom, you’re trying to keep everyone alive and keep your sanity screwed on tight on a good day.   Sometimes you have to offer up an extra 15 minutes of TV to get your child to take that long overdue shower.   Don’t even get me started on the great M&Ms for “poopie on the potty” negotiations we had back in 2011.  And vegetables?  They don’t just eat themselves.  Just sayin’.  You’ll get so much practice that it will make buying a car look easy.  Transferrable skills, y’all!

4.  Upper management seems to have amnesia when it comes to how hard your job really is.  You know them; they’re always talking about how well they did your job, how easy it was back in the day.  They especially like the phrases “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “It’s easy–Just do it my way.”  Yeah, I’m talking about grandparents.  As the new manager in town, you really want to ask for their advice but at the same time you want to prove that you can do the job as well as, dare I say better than, they did.  Walking this tightrope isn’t for the faint of heart.  Keeping your cool is essential when dealing with upper management.  Every action and decision you make will be noted—in your permanent record!

5.  The salary never matches the workload.  When you’re a manager, you’re expected go the extra mile, take one for the team.  You have to work hard and long to set the example for your employees.  Most parents will agree that being Mom or Dad is one of the hardest, most exhausting jobs we’ve ever had.  It’s a job that doesn’t come with sick days or overtime pay, or any pay actually. (Wait? Was that in the job description?)   It doesn’t come with a yearly bonus or even a gold star of recognition.   But the rewards we do get are worth every extra hour, every sleepless night, every “hands up in frustration because she won’t put on her underwear” moment:  Hugs.  Kisses.  “I love you Mommy. You’re my best friend.”

Wait...Who's the boss?  Photo: K. Stevenson

Wait…Who’s the boss?
Photo: K. Stevenson

Sure the stakes are higher when you’re a mom.  You’re managing a human life, not shareholder value or return on investment.  The bottom line you’re responsible for as a parent is turning out a decent human being.  There’s no official performance review at the end.  That’s because there is no end.  There will be moments when you want to take a demotion, to go back to the carefree days of being that “individual contributor.”  You may want to escape and take care of yourself for a change.   There’s nothing wrong with that.   But you’ll come back because your little direct report needs you.  And you need her.

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