5 ways your working life changes after children

Now, I’m not talking about the huge changes like returning part-time or taking on the new career of SAHM, I’m talking about the more subtle differences between pre and post baby when you return to work.

Here are 5 ways working life changes after children.

Brain capacity

computer-frustration-1238728-639x830From a life where the only things you needed to worry about were your job and your social life, suddenly your brain is thrown into disarray.  Your brain has to continue to work on these things, however, it now has to process every worry, chore and happy memory from parenthood that enters it as well and there is no control. It just happens – they pop into your head on the journey to work, in meetings, at lunch or just sat at your desk. Your brain capacity is stretched beyond your wildest dreams – and you manage.

Tea room chats

I remember that I used to talk to colleagues about city breaks, sports matches and office gossip.  Nowadays it is 90% about children – theirs, mine, our mutual friend who has just given birth.  It becomes all encompassing and even if the conversation starts with ‘how was your weekend?’, you can’t help but turn it into child-related.

Appearance

There are many working women who somehow manage to retain their immaculate appearance after maternity leave.  I’m not one of them (and I probably never was immaculate).  However, the hairdresser visits have plummeted, the personal grooming a distant memory, new clothes rare and my make-up is way past its best before date.  The priority is getting the child out the door on time and not looking like an urchin – even if you do look like a female Fagin in ill-fitting suit.  Note to self – book hair appointment.

Patience and Tolerance

For me, this has been by far the most surprising consequence of having a child. In my previous life I used to be calm, optimistic and could take most things in my stride.  These days, by having military-style routines for most family activities, time is of the essence in everything.  Unfortunately, this means that I expect the same at work as I do at home and not everyone thinks the same way.  Needless to say, I can be abrupt to the point of rude these days because I know how precious my time is.  In order to manage, most parents I know run a tight ship. We cram as much as we can into our working day so that we can sign-off and change into our superhero costume for nursery pick-up.  When colleagues don’t have the same challenges it tests both patience and tolerance levels to the max.

outside-the-box-1243054-640x480Ability to think outside the box

This final point essentially pulls together points 1 and 4 and is a fantastic benefit for employers hiring us working Mums.  As parents, you find ways to do things that are smarter and easier – because if you don’t, you’ll implode.  Multi-tasking like a ninja was one phrase picked up from a LinkedIn post the other day and it is absolutely right.  After children, you think differently and you reduce slack in your day by working smarter and not necessarily harder.  Prioritisation is paramount along with stronger decision-making with less pondering.  There is no time to sit and deliberate over whether the decision was the right one – you make it and you stick by it.  Agile is a term I use regularly in my job and it resonates perfectly with working Mums. We are agile, we can move between tasks seamlessly and do things differently in order to increase our productivity.

Our daily grind changes after children, but it isn’t all bad!

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

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Published by

Amelia Salisbury

A thirty-something working Mum of one who devotes her spare time to helping other paranoid, worrying, stressed parents who are trying to juggle careers and parenthood.

22 thoughts on “5 ways your working life changes after children”

  1. Hi Amelia,

    Did I ever relate to this post! It actually made me laugh out loud in some places too.

    My daughter is about to turn 18 years old, so I have passed the stage you are referring too, however, I do have a very good memory, and the multi-tasking and agility skills I learned along the way are superior to any I would have ever been able to master if I had not had a child and worked at the same time!

    Thank you for this extremely accurate information.

    Warmly,
    Heather 🙂

  2. Oh god you are SO right! When i returned to the office after no1 i didn’t realise how mumsey i had got! I’d turn up with two day old mascara on my face and panda eyes, Rusk down my shirt and only chat about the kids, which my work mates hated as none of them had any!! Oh and your baby brain bit is spot on!! Where has my brain gone??!! #KCACOLS

  3. These are important posts! It’s sad that there is a need to have to prove that working parents have valuable skills and shouldn’t be shunted to shadows of their previous roles.

    Have you found yourself unintentionally ‘parenting’ colleagues yet?

    #KCACOLS

  4. Brilliant post, it has given me a look into what I am going to be experiencing in 2 months time when I go back to work. I’m a little worried how I am going to fit it all in, but I’m sure that I’ll be hoping to get into a routine as soon as possible really and probably be quite military about it! And like you said once a decision is made I will stick to it. Claire x #KCACOLS

  5. This is so true and I love it. I have found that I’m much more capable of thinking on my feet than I was before my daughter was born – and I’m more assertive at work too, because I’m used to speaking up to make sure she doesn’t miss out! Great post. #KCACOLS

  6. Spot on on all points. This really made me smile multi task like a ninja is great lol and don’t even get me started on getting out the door looking half decent. Never happens #kcacols

  7. enjoyed reading this as I am a working mum. particularly like the last point! So true and employers should be proud to have parents on their teams! #KCACOLS

  8. Brilliant post! I think I became far more efficient when I returned to work after maternity leave – far more coffees, far more chats, far more grasping on to life away from the chaos of childcare! A really funny read though – love the picture – so funny! #KCACOL

  9. Yes I agree with you 100%. The multitasking skills are amazing. I don’t know how many things I have to deal at the same time. Having kids definitely change you. You feel a totally different person. It is also true about your appearance. You don’t have the time to look immaculate all the time. And yes my conversations are mostly about kids. Very interesting post. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. It is nice to have you this week. I hope to see you again on Sunday, 🙂 xx

  10. I agree with this 100%! As a new mom, my whole outlook has changed. My brain functions at a random pace, my conversations are PG, my physical appearance is so simple it looks unfinished and my tolerance for those who cannot multi-task or make a quick decision is slim.
    Motherhood is a type of superpower and we wear it with pride (which usually looks like spit up).

    1. Thanks for reading. Yes, it’s a crazy change that happens and you’re powerless to stop it. I wonder whether once the pre-teen years are over I’ll regress back to a normal state

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