Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

Parenting is Training without Pay

Atia Aman Azizee

Parenting is Training without Pay

It has exactly been a year since I became a mother and within these last twelve months, I have realised parenthood is literally the most underrated type of internship on earth! It is a without pay training through which all parents agree to walk into voluntarily, and in that process, hone so many skills, and yet they leave it out of their resume.

In fact, adding motherhood as a job title on our LinkedIn profile is most likely going to work as a disadvantage even though it should actually be the complete opposite.

A parent who is trained to put multiple bottles on sterilization, place water for boiling, prepare a bottle of milk, and do all these while carrying an infant on their lap securing the child perfectly, using just one hand, is definitely a pro level multi-tasker.

When I see myself dancing, singing, making weird faces for hours after hours just to make a twelve month old finish his food, I realise what a wonderfully patient entertainer I am.

I have honed a great set of interpersonal skills too. Otherwise, how do you think I communicate with my dear mister little one, who has a personal dictionary of his own!

At 2:00am in the morning, when he suddenly decides to wake up and play with mommy with his set of pull-back cars that his father bought the previous day, it is then when I realise, I am strong enough to work for really long hours.

While preparing oats for him, I make sure it is neither too dry nor too watery, the formula milk to be added in there is exactly two scoops and no more, and finally serve it with nothing but a medium sized chini-champa banana. Trust me when we see Sheldon Cooper, on TV, recognizing even the slightest change in his sandwich ingredients simply by looking at it, the makers of that show aren't really exaggerating it. Babies do tend to be very keen observers and that's why, in the process of keeping my little prince satisfied, by repeating his breakfast recipes exactly the same way as he wants, I have indeed become a perfectionist by now.

When sometimes he suddenly decides to refuse to eat his lunch and simply take a bottle of milk instead, I have to think on the foot and prepare a portion of scrambled egg or something similar swiftly in order to draw his interest back on solids.

Interestingly, this is not the story of any one mother. Each and every parent has their own journey and with each passing day, they become more and more polished. Then why shouldn't parenting be counted as a recognised training session?

Recently LinkedIn has added “stay-at-home parent” and simply “parent” as new job titles which are a good start but more changes are required to make it work. For example, if I add “Parent” as an internship experience, on LinkedIn what am I going to add in “Company” field? I personally would simply write the name of my house to make it work but it would be better if the form were more “Parent” appropriate.

However, these are minor things. In fact, the most important change that needs to be brought in this regard is a change in mentality. People need to have an open mind while hiring parents. I remember once being told by a senior that he prefers not to appoint female lawyers as juniors in his law firm because he believes, once they give birth to children, they are likely to become less efficient. This might be true for the first couple of months since giving birth can take a toll on their health; but as the time goes by, these parents become more efficient than they ever were as a person, as a management staff, as a researcher and what not.


The writer is a Principal Officer, National Bank Limited