Parenting, coaching, and building a team are not that different. That’s what I have learned from living with 2 kids for the past 6 months.
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Sure, differences do exist.
But looking at the bigger picture, I have come to realize that several of the best communication and leadership principles I know have been extremely helpful to navigate parenting land with my new role as a plus mom.
And that’s what I’ll be talking about with you today; raising kids, managing a team, and communication principles.
I will open up and share some of the parenting and leadership lessons I have learned over the past year and answer some of the questions I have received on Instagram about being a plus mom.
Let’s jump right in.
#1 Manage expectations
One of the absolute first things we have been practising since the kids, Charly, and I all moved in together is to manage expectations.
In fact, this is one of the principles I have been able to borrow from my coaching experience, namely managing the expectations of clients by telling them about
- What’s coming up
I did the same for the kids.
For instance, we noticed they were struggling with the switch days (that’s every Tuesday), and often on Mondays, they wouldn’t even realize they would be leaving the day after.
We looked at: how can we speed up the nesting time? How can we speed up the time it takes for all of us to get settled into our weekly rhythm?
To improve this, we created anchoring points by engaging the kids in a conversation on
- What are we going to eat next week?
- What movies are we going to watch?
- Which activities will we do?
By talking about these things before leaving, they already know what’s waiting for them when they come back the following week. And honestly, since we started doing this, everyone has settled in much quicker.
You can do this in so many ways for clients, your partner, kids, colleagues, and even your boss.
As humans, we tend to deal badly with insecurity, and the same goes for kids. Creating these anchoring points or setting milestones really helps everyone feel more at ease.
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#2 Use visual cues
This is one I learned from dad years ago, and it’s one of my favorites.
Scenario: you’re hosting a workshop for your client, and you feel there’s something not quite right. It doesn’t click. Often this happens because people are missing visual cues for things, and then misunderstandings happen.
And guess what? We noticed the same thing with the kids when it was bedtime.
When I met Charly, I didn’t get a baby, but a 6- and 11-year-old, who both have their own bedtime patterns. Of course, they don’t want to go to bed at night because they want to stay up and spend time with us.
Jack, the youngest one, goes to bed at 8:00 PM, so we set up a timer on my iPad that he starts at 7:30 PM. It’s a 30-minute timer and a very visual cue that helps him get used to the thought: “OK, in 20 minutes, I have to go to bed,” or “OK, in 5 minutes I must turn off the TV.”
Think about: how can I use visual cues to improve communication with clients and colleagues and avoid misunderstandings?
#3 Encourage ownership
Once the bedtime timer is on, Jack knows what’s coming, and he knows it’s time to turn off the TV when the timer only shows a few seconds left.
Now, he has come to the point where he does it by himself. We no longer have to tell him. It gives him a sense of ownership, proving to himself that he got this.
Encouraging ownership also goes for your team and clients.
For example, I would be like this to my team in the past, “Oh, I don’t like it, the layout isn’t right,” and then I would go onto changing the visual myself.
Now, I’ve learned to hold myself back and give proper feedback to my team to give them ownership, so they can finish what they started. It provides satisfaction.
And with kids, it’s exactly the same. You can’t just include them when it suits you. You got to include them anytime and let them make something from start to finish, on their own.
We love baking or cooking together, for instance.
#4 Set clear boundaries
With all the responsibilities and expectations that come with my new role as a plus mom, I have naturally spoken to the ones that know this stuff best: my parents.
Of course, plus parenting is new to them, but they know a lot about parenting and raising kids. Looking back at my childhood and how they raised my brothers and me, I think they did a pretty good job.
My dad used to say: being firm and strict is also a way of showing your love.
And I realize now that it applies to SO many things.
With kids, you want to provide them with options, but that’s not always what they need. Sometimes what they really need is clarity, consistency, and, yes, boundaries.
For instance, I like options; I’m the person who wants to choose, pick A or B. But because I, or if you’re like me, like options, it doesn’t mean others prefer it that way.
Sometimes providing options simply doesn’t work, whether that’s for kids or even team members. In fact, too many options will cause overwhelm.
And that’s probably one of the biggest lessons for me: stepping into a power role, setting boundaries, and telling my kids, team members, or clients when it’s not OK to do something.
Remember: being firm is also a way of showing love. Set clear boundaries even if it makes you unpopular. Do what’s best for the people you care about.
#5 Do the best you can
After taking on a new role as a plus mom, I can’t help but notice all the mom guilt out there.
I have had this feeling about being a boss, and now I’m starting to feel the same about being a parent. Sometimes I think, “I’m not good enough if I don’t know how to be a boss, be a mom, be a parent.”
But then I see so many others struggle with this, and it made me realize one thing: I have to go back to how I do things, namely, communicate with integrity, transparency, compassion, and respect, and as long as you do that, you can only try your best.
I remember going to exams and my mom telling me, “Amy, you can only do your best, and that’s it.”
Honestly, I used to hate it, but I get it now.
You can’t control the results; you can only control what you’re putting in. Some days you’ll have more energy; other days, you’ll have less.
Last week was one of those days for me. My energy reserve was low, and I wasn’t able to set anchoring points for the kids. It impacted all of us; Charly, the kids, and myself.
Could I have done better? Sure, but I don’t want to waste energy punishing myself for that, and you shouldn’t either!
To all new parents, team members, and bosses: when you communicate with
- and respect,
you’re trying your hardest. You’re doing the best you can!
Sometimes it will go well, sometimes it won’t, but everything will be good. Keep on learning, open up, and most importantly, BE KIND to YOURSELF.
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