So after The Big Family Holiday, everyone went back to work, Izzie returned to Nursery, and Jemima and I went back to enjoying our last few months together. Because next year, I too am going back to work.
If I’m honest it’s starting to irritate me when well meaning people politely ask if I’m “nervous about returning to work” because no, I am not scared.
I am absolutely terrified.
You see I’ve been out of the game for 3 years now and there’s a couple of things that concern me. I’ve always worked in Sales and supposing I’ve lost “it”? That ability to persuade someone to buy something they could more than likely, live quite happily without. I mean some Sales people bug the living daylights out of me.
But then will returning to Sales be much different to my “work” now? It’s interesting that looking after your own children doesn’t constitute as work but looking after someone else’s does. You’re never interviewed to look after your own children but its one of the most challenging, multiskilled jobs you’ll ever do. Training is very much on the job and the renumeration package is frankly shocking.
Looking back I’ve been through some gruelling interviews and assessments to check I had what it took to sell various products of equally questionable importance. Then when successful, I embarked on lengthy training schedules just to sell a few tons worth of stock. But I guess nothing could have prepared me for the challenges of parenting.
Granted, IVF wasn’t a picnic but treatment taught me different skills on a much deeper level rather than focusing on practicalities. As an apprentice parent, very few people teach you things you really need to know, like jiggling a pram will get most babies to sleep and Sudocreme will stop their bottoms resembling a Belisha beacon.
There are also other things, much more relevant to the work place, I’ve learnt in the last 3 years. So if I was asked that old interview question, “What skills would you take with you to your next job from your current role?” Now where should I begin?
Let’s start with Negotiation. I think all corporate HR departments should recruit toddlers to improve employees’ negotiation techniques. My toddlers are ruthless and reluctant to follow rules, therefore I’ve learnt to drive a very hard bargain. In the last 24 hours I’ve negotiated on pretty much everything from why they can’t have chocolate for breakfast but can have a piece after lunch; to why they can’t have another hour but only another 5 minutes in the bath.
Occasionally one negotiating party may not be happy with a compromise so Confrontation is inevitable. The shame of very many public tantrums has given me strength of character. A toddler will sniff out weakness and if for example they want a ride on those annoying Noddy or Thomas The Tank Engine contraptions, outside the supermarket, refusal will often offend and result in said child throwing themselves on the floor. I don’t enjoy watching my child publicly disgrace themselves but sometimes you’ve just got to stand your ground.
To ensure Confrontation is kept to a minimum, Time Management is key. Yesterday I put Jemima in her pram for her afternoon nap, went to the post office, bank and picked up the groceries while walking the dog. Ok the dog looked a bit bewildered, peering out from an umbrella, parked outside Barclays (I wonder why they allow my children but not my marginally, better behaved dog into the bank?) but a few throws of his squeaky ball and all was forgiven. After all, any working relationship requires give and take.
Above all, I’m fiercely Competitive. I will do whatever it takes to be the best Mother I can be for my girls. Not because I want to be better than anyone else. I just want to do whatever I can to make them happy. Primarily because seeing them thriving gives me an amazing, warm, fuzzy feeling and secondly when they’re content they’re much more manageable.
I could go on but arrogance is never attractive, especially at an interview.
I think of that other favourite interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?”
A few years ago I could never have seen myself here. I’d just started IVF and barely hoped that would be successful. Let alone that I’d have another baby naturally just a year later. Sometimes you’ve just go to go with the flow. After all I’m going back to work part time and will give this my best shot but my 2 baby girls will continue to be my number one priority, full time and forever.