Mommy A to Z

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F is for… Five Things Corporate America Taught Me About Motherhood

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I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch lately.

Yesterday, I was attempting to rush my kids out the door, to pick up the car from the mechanic before they closed. My kindergartner, who had planned on spending the afternoon watching Winx Girls, began stomping around in defiance. Joining in the drama was my toddler, who stood before me with a fistful of Play-doh in one hand and my checkbook in the other — and, of course, no pants.

It was one of those moments where I just wanted to crawl into bed and emerge 18 years later. Was I really going to survive these early years? Was I strong enough to withstand the madness?

And then I pulled myself together with a thought: I’d had a pretty good stint in Corporate America before having kids. I had survived crazy bosses, hysterical authors, Darwinian struggles for the last bagel at sales conference — without once barricading myself in tears in the bathroom. If I could survive that, I could certainly manage two small humans whose life ambition was to acquire ice cream. In fact, I could use my corporate experience to get a handle on this motherhood thing. Here are 5 lessons in parenting, straight out of the boardroom.

1. Toddlers are like that crazy boss in need of constant attention. You know, the one who wants everything instantly. Who barely articulates his needs, because clearly you can read his mind. Who continually changes his demands and then throws a fit when you don’t deliver. How do you deal with an overly demanding, possibly unstable manager? Experts have plenty of strategies, but my way is simple: Smile, pretend you’re listening — and remind yourself that Happy Hour is just a staff meeting (or bedtime) away.

2. Co-workers are key to keeping your sanity. At the office, you have fellow workers with whom you commiserate about your insane boss, or that client who somehow got your home number and has been harassing your spouse about your work ethic. In parenting, you have fellow moms, who completely get why you canceled your cable service to avoid yet another episode of Thomas and Friends. So schedule a play date, pour some coffee, and enjoy a little fellow-mom therapy. And hope the kids don’t break anything important.

3. School break is like a never-ending staff meeting. You know how it goes: you enter the Monday-morning meeting full of enthusiasm and ideas you can’t wait to share. Forty minutes into the meeting, you’re binge drinking coffee and hoping no one notices you drifting off in your chair. School breaks are similar. You start out with grand ambitions: trips to the museum, family-cooked gourmet meals. A few days in, and you’re eating Goldfish for breakfast and watching Anna beg to build a snowman for the hundredth time. But, just like with meetings, suddenly there’s that moment — of humor, of camaraderie, of pure inspiration. Miss it at your own peril.

4. Social media is… hold that thought, I have to check Facebook. Whether at work or with the kids, social media is the ultimate distraction. And just like I was never able to convince my boss that checking a friend’s relationship status was “research,” my kids aren’t convinced I’m doing anything important either. And they’re right.

5. Never let them see you sweat (in fact, don’t sweat — you don’t have time to shower). At work, everyone around you needs to believe you have it covered. You need to inspire confidence, or else you’ll be ignored, overlooked, or put in charge of organizing the holiday lunch. In parenting, the same rules apply. Even if you’re not feeling like you have your act together, you need to fake it — or else you’ll end up hiding under the table while the kids have a “snowball fight” with last night’s leftover meatballs. Stand tall, speak firmly, and hope no one notices your shirt’s on backwards. You meant to do that.

Photo by franky242, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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24 Comments

  1. Looking good!!! Love Dad

  2. Sorry that your motherhood travails have turned your hair blonde! Maybe once you start following these great tips from the corporate world it will turn back again and the toddler replacement will trade himself in for the real thing.
    Your methodology sounds great, but I do seem to remember another blog entry where you told us all how to avoid a dependency on social media? Now I am at sixes and sevens and do not know what to think!

  3. Good to know the corporate world can be useful if not particularly family sensitive. And, a note to Bonnie-avoiding a dependency on social media doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from it completely.

  4. Great post Meredith! You had me LOLing. I have to share this on FB.

  5. Oh the humble words of truth, as much as I’m looking forward to the school holiday (which started today for the next 3(!) weeks) I’m also dreading it, the constant need to do something is very present in both boys.. Fingers crossed for sunny days 😉

  6. I love love love this post! I was laughing and nodding my head in agreement. Is winx on netflix?? We don’t have cable, and my daughter has never asked for it.
    I love your dad’s comment, too :) I’ve never seen a picture of you until this post, you’re a hot mama!

    • Winx is on Netflix. A bunch of scantily clad fairies fighting a bunch of scantily clad witches. Not sure you’re missing much. No, that hot mama is not me. A stock photo. A real photo of me working would involve pajamas and a couch. Not too glamorous. LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I can totally see each and every comparison. You’ve got to work Happy Hour in this somewhere. It was vital many days too!

  8. This was just great! I really identify with each one, and I love the correlation between what we learn to do in crazy work situations with handling our kiddos at home-if only I’d been able to read this back when my girl was a toddler. 😉 For now, the biggest crisis I have to deal with is being embarrassing to her-all of the time-and honestly, I’m really lovin’ it, LOL! XOXO-Kasey

  9. Haha! Love this! I can totally relate! I gladly left Corporate America, but didn’t realize it followed me home in the form of my kids!

  10. Hilarious, clever and true! Toddlers are like that needy boss and if it weren’t for my coworker, I’d probably have a weekly breakdown.

  11. You know I so agree with you especially about toddlers. My daughter is so bossy, it’s starting to scare me. I wonder if that will change… Well I hope it does.

  12. So clever, hilarious and true!!! I love this…as always ☺

  13. This is all so stinkin’ true! Especially the coworker part!!

  14. lol love it and so true! Except we don’t get paid at home. :(

  15. I love the parallelism you use between the two! And humorous part of it all is that it makes sense. The toddler is the unruly boss, social media is still a distraction, and fellow moms are still your colleagues you lean on for support. It’s great to know that amidst the chaos of motherhood, I can find words like these to lighten up the mood and make me feel like I’m not going out of my mind. Thank you for sharing, and hosting us for Manic Mondays! Hoping your week is off to a great start!

  16. Spot on comparisons! #1 & #2 are my favorite! I definitely need my “co workers” to help me deal with the minds of the little people in my house!
    And wait, Facebook is not important??? 😉
    Have a great week!

  17. My teenager is my crazy bosses boss, the one you couldn’t avoid because their reach extended well beyond the walls of one room.

    • That’s great! I can only imagine the teenage years. The only advantage I can see is that a teenager generally doesn’t climb under the table and try to eat day-old crumbs off the floor. Sigh. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. I Identify with ALL of this. I’m still in the corporate world and some days I can’t decide which “boss” is going to be harder on me! You know you’ve gone crazy when you can (sometimes) consider work an escape. Great post!

  19. Haha I snorted out loud (SOL?)! I wasn’t corporate America, but often wondered this too how somedays i just want to cry at the thought of a few more hours until hubby gets home. Such a great post…Thank you for linking up at #MeetUpMonday with thequinntessentialmommy.com and me (although I missed hosting this week because I was crying in the bathroom too much)! :)

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