How I’ve Changed Since Becoming a Working Parent

working mom

Becoming a parent can definitely change the way people approach their work. Read what these professionals say about how they’ve changed most since becoming a working mom or dad.

For me, becoming a working mom was transforming. Gone were the days of being able to work extra hours without a lot of complications. In was a push for better work/life balance and trying to accomplish more in less time. I know I’ve become much better at prioritizing and really zeroing in on what needs to get accomplished. This may be in large part due to our son’s napping in 15-minute increments in the early weeks, which left me skilled at finishing important tasks in a very short amount of time!

After talking with colleagues who have children, I’ve found we’ve had similar experiences when it comes to being productive and achieving work/life balance.

Time management

“Being a working parent has forced me to be much more realistic about my time and what I can accomplish. With the baby, my schedule is so packed that I don’t have overflow hours like I did before – it’s much harder to work at night or on the weekend so I can squeeze in the extra stuff. So I’ve had to be honest with myself about what 40-45 hours really means. The upside is that I think I’m more productive than before. Knowing I have a finite number of work hours means I waste less time than before.”
- Robert McCauley

“A time management strategy that I found helpful on my hardest days back when the kids were little was to break down tasks on my to-do list into 10- or 15-minute chunks so that a few minutes of unexpected quiet time could be put to good use. That took a real adjustment to my former way of doing things, which was to dive in to a big task and come up for air only after having made some significant progress.”
- Cathy Cambron

“As a parent, the biggest change I’ve made at work has been my time management. I used to work around 10-11 hours in the office, leaving in the early evening. But in hindsight, I realize that I wasn’t fully productive the entire day, particularly because I didn’t have a firm 'end of day' deadline. Now, sticking to a nine-hour workday, I undoubtedly accomplish more per hour than I did before. Bottom line, I’m much better at leveraging shorter windows of time, which not only has enhanced my work/life balance, but also has improved my job performance.”
- Kevin Donahue

Career path

“I’ve had to accept the fact that there are limitations on my career right now, and there are a lot of projects I can’t take on and jobs I can’t have. I need a highly flexible schedule because my husband is away 12 hours a day, and one of us has to be able to take our son to appointments, soccer practice, etc. I’m lucky to have a flexible job, but I probably couldn’t take on a much larger role right now.”
- Clea Badion

“As a working mom, I've learned to listen to my instincts, even when they're in conflict with what everyone else is telling me. I chose to leave a steady, well-paying job to pursue short-term assignments in 2010, and most people told me I was crazy (given the recession and all that). But I knew it was the right thing for my family. By that time, I'd had a lot of practice putting aside even well-intentioned parenting advice when I knew it wasn't the right thing for me and my family. I learned to do what was right for us, even when it went against conventional wisdom, and it's led me to some very good places.”
- Robin Jones

Temporary assignments can be a good solution for working parents seeking greater work/life balance. To learn more about the benefits of temporary work, check out 6 Advantages of Being a Temporary Professional.