TRANSFERABLE SKILLS: FROM PARENTHOOD TO PR
My first week back after my year-long maternity leave, done – just like that! And, as everyone promised, not only am I fully back in the swing of it after just a week, but the year ‘off’ from ‘work’ has concertinaed down into feeling like a few weeks, at most!
But I am happy. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be coming away from my nearly-one-year-old (an overdue baby!) back into a job that I love. Especially when on the face of it, it felt like it could be a very emotional and negative experience – and for many, I know it is.
As I embrace the reflective mood I am in, I began to ponder how my year as a full-time parent has honed some of the soft skills we flex on a daily basis as PR professionals:
Improvise, adapt, overcome. Never has thinking on one’s feet become the difference between ruining a day out, or not. When you’re new to something, you try to prepare as much as you can…but slip ups can happen. That doesn’t have to ruin a day out though – or upset an otherwise smooth-running campaign – if you can keep a cool head, assess what you have available to you, and seek to overcome the challenge.
Network, network, network. “It takes a village to raise a child”, so those new to parenthood like me, seize hold of the plethora of opportunities to meet new parents in the same boat. Baby sensory, swimming, singing, sign-language, creative, messy and music classes; NCT groups; library story times; play dates; there’s even a Tinder-like friendship app that enables mums and dads to ‘swipe right’ on others, based on location and matching similar interests! Honing that ability to walk into a room of people you’ve not met, and make introductions, are all transferable skills, useful for tradeshows, journalist meet-ups, and client meetings.
Ensuring you look after number one. I know for new parents, ‘number one’ very often slips to the needy new baby, but as you soon realise, if you are not able to function, you’ll struggle to look after anyone else. And the same applies to work. Whilst our bosses can never tell us how to live our lives, it’s very important we take care of ourselves to avoid burnout: getting enough sleep, eating healthily, taking exercise…this is something Babel very much supports. Offering mental health days, fruit, juice and salad for Babelites to snack on, and cycle-to-work schemes, the team’s health is Babel’s number one focus.
Prioritising. And let’s add multi-tasking and efficiency to this one! Whilst a year off in the company of very young humans can make you question just how much you have been flexing that brain of yours – in my current reflective mood – I believe there is no greater mental capability than:
– Being able to turn on a sixpence and juggle the balls that a new parent does
– Keeping one eye out for dangers whilst doing absolutely everything else
– Dealing with baby-related bits (thought I’d put it politely!) whilst out in public
– Ensuring the baby is fed/washed/changed/dressed/loved before doing anything else
– Budgeting for parenthood and all those gorgeous must-haves
And being able to prioritise like this, efficiently – and in good spirits – are very much the sort of qualities we value in our team members at Babel.
Being a team player. This has always been something I value personally, and it’s never been truer than when you’re raising a baby, to have a team around you (be that a partner, friend, family member, and even the scores of midwives and health visitors we see) that you can trust and rely on whilst you wade through unchartered territories. Back to the Babel office – and with my baby settling into nursery – the support of my team will be one of my greatest appreciations.
If you have any questions about how Babel supports working parents, or what our above-industry-standard maternity and paternity benefits package look like, please reach out to us for more information!