Things and Skills and Being a Parent
Obviously I have spent time with my children before. I mean, I gave birth to them, and then kept them alive long enough that I could hand them over to a very nice nursery when they were 6 months old so I could get back to what I enjoyed more- my career. That makes me sounds so unmaternal. Let me clarify. Babies, although adorable when someone else's, can be extremely dull day in day out. Everyday is the same, and keeping a baby alive can feel like an absolutely thankless task at times. Yes they smile occasionally, but usually for their father as he breezes through the door at 6pm just as you're about to lose the will to live. Sometimes even for a complete stranger as they coo and kiss the squirming, spitting, wailing baby that is now yours. I'm pretty sure my babies did smile for me, but as my back was seemingly always turned cleaning up shit/sick/spit at that precious moment I really wouldn't know if they were flashing me their gums or their middle finger. So anyway, when my babies finally grew into the terrible two's I was actually quite chuffed. Yes they were a total pain in my arse half the time, but at least they were becoming full of personality. Babies becoming mini humans is the most magical part of motherhood, watching this weird boob-sucking, spit sicking, shit splattering alien turn into a teeny version of yourself and your other half is a humbling act of nature. All the best and worst parts of you are playing out before your very eyes, and there's absolutely nothing you can do to put a stop to any of it. So when it became clear that the move to Singapore would involve me giving up my career, temporarily at the very least, and becoming a stay-at-home-mum I was less horrified than I was at my initial foray into SAHM-life. But it was also untested territory for us all, this being at home business, and after 3 (lonnnnnnng) months I feel like I'm now part of the SAHM-hood. I've earned my welcome badge of honour, albeit nearly 5 years later than most mothers with children of the same ages as mine. But whatever. I've learned THINGS and SKILLS that no LinkedIn page or CV can possibly list in a way that a future employer would take them seriously...
- My time management skills are off the scale. You would be amazed what this ninja mother can get done during the 3 year old's power nap. I'm talking practical duties (cleaning, tidying, loads of washing, spot of ironing, online supermarket shop etc) as well as the less practical (skimming an inboxful of emails and responding to the urgents, flicking through a magazine, necking a tepid cuppa from earlier in the day etc)
- I can pee in super quick time and in front of an audience. Whilst this is unlikely to become a turning point in my career, one hopes anyway, future employers can rest easy knowing that I won't be found loitering around in the ladies wasting time. If that's not a reason to employ me, I don't know what is.
- No matter the disaster, I can avert it with diplomacy skills to rival the best of the UN peacemakers. Is calming two irate children part of their training manual? It should be. I'm chief of peace talks, negotiator to the most tense situations, and top pinky promise maker.
- Keeping children alive requires another level of patience. It kind of links in with the negotiator part, but basically I will let the less-informed half of the conversation make their point in the most illogical, irrational way, and then I will smile and begin to demonstrate my next skill set...
- When you can make a little boy think that eating all the yucky green stinky pea's on his plate in the quickest time possible makes him a winner, you have acquired powers of manipulation known only to parents. Whilst this particular skill can be dangerous if not used correctly, when used in a responsible manner it hands you all the power. ALL. THE. POWER. That probably doesn't sound appealing to a potential employer, I need to reword it so they don't even realise what I'm saying. *evil cackle*
- I'm not fussy. I won't be that awkward person in the office who only drinks tea that has been harvested by pixies in the light of a full moon on the second Tuesday of every fourth month, and can only possibly drink it out of my special mug when it's at the perfect (yet vague) temperature. If someone makes me a drink I thank them several times, thank all the gods for their very existence, and drink every drop. With gusto. If office tea etiquette is a measure of how easy someone is to work with, I would be so damn popular. Weirdly though, no one ever checks how easy going you are via a hot beverage. This is a test of character that should catch on.
- I can make good any spill/stain/mark in minimal time with minimal tools available. In fact, I only really require a pack of baby wipes. I can give an entire apartment a once over with a handful of baby wipes. Imagine what mad skills I'd have with a scourer.
- I am the queen of creativity. Two young kids, one small space, several days of rain, no escape. I can build cushion forts that could feature on Grand Designs, I can create rockets from toilet rolls that are so complex in design NASA really needs to give me a call on how to bring their costs down, I am an unstoppable force for finding something from nothing. As that well known wise man, one LL Cool J, once said "When adversity strikes, that's when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on." Preach it Cool J, I'm listening.
So there, 8 damn good reasons why I am a better person for having spent time at home with my children. If I never have a grown up job ever again, at least I can die knowing I did the most grown up of all the jobs. I survived motherhood. The early years edition anyway.