Before you read this blog I just want to state that it is in no way politically motivated as I don’t know enough about either of the Conservative MPs bidding to be the next Prime Minister to make any kind of informed opinion on who deserves the job.
This weekend, reading the story about Andrea Leadsom stating in a recent article in The Times that being a mother would make her a better Prime Minister (a statement she now says was misrepresented by the journalist who wrote the article) has divided opinion in The Simply Small household. Mr SS thinks it is underhand to state such a thing. I, on the other hand think whether Mrs Leadsom meant what she said or not, makes a very valid point.
I considered whether since becoming a mother myself six years ago has made me better at my job and actually when I think hard about it, it has! For the following reasons.
- I get much more done these days: I work part-time (and run The Simply Small Co when I’m not at work) and it’s safe to say I get far more done in three days at work than I ever did when I worked five days a week. When I’m not at work, I’m running my business and looking after my family. I’m much more focused and the saying ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person’ certainly rings true in my job/life.
- I’m much more decisive. Becoming a mother and having two tiny people at the centre of my universe means that I no longer sweat the small stuff. They come first, every decision I make puts their needs first and when I’m at work, it’s the same. I no longer procrastinate or dilly dally around.
- I’m far more empathetic and compassionate. Before I had children I’d say I was a pretty unsympathetic person and didn’t really consider the needs and feelings of others much, especially at work (sorry former colleagues). Now I think I look at other people’s perspectives and consider other points of view much more.
- I’m much more accountable for my actions. I make mistakes and I’ll happily own up to them and try to resolve them. My approach is very much has somebody died because xxxx? If not then it’s ok and we can sort it out.
- My capacity to multitask is ten-fold. On a typical working day I’m usually sorting out problems, being proactive, signing off jobs, organising a children’s birthday party (in my lunch hour I hasten to add) planning ahead. I wasn’t very good at this before children.
- I’m never off sick. I don’t have time to be ill. Having said that I have had to take time off when my children are ill (in extenuating circumstances)
- If I do take time off, I make it up and usually end up overcompensating and doing more, mainly because I don’t want my colleagues to think I’m using my kids as an excuse for shirking my responsibilities at work.
- I grew two humans inside my tummy, endured the greatest pain to bring them into this world and kept them alive using only the milk I made for the early months of their lives. They give me such joy, I've never felt love like it and they've tested my patience, stamina and resolve to its absolute limit. Does that make me a better person or better at my job than a none mother? No, absolutely not! But it did make me realise that I'm more capable of achieving things than I ever imagined. I'm braver, stronger and smarter for being a mother and everything I do, I do for them.
So in short, I don’t think Andrea Leadsom should worry about whether her comments were misrepresented or not. I think it’s a valid statement to make. However, what is wrong is to insinuate that somebody who isn’t a parent wouldn’t be good or even better at their job. There are clearly many benefits to employing somebody who doesn’t have children. For some people, not having children is a choice, a valid choice that I totally respect and for others it’s a precious gift that they can’t receive and for that I have great empathy.
Do you agree or disagree with what I’m saying? Post your comments below.
The Simply Small Life Blog is a behind the scenes look at what goes into running an independent children's retailer. Written by Nat SS, a North East Mam (#notamumpreneur) of two who founded and runs The Simply Small Co. All opinions are her own. Copyright of The Simply Small Co.