My dad once told me that after our first family vacation, he immediately called his parents and thanked them for all the effort they put into family trips in his childhood. As fate would have it, I called my parents after arriving home from our first family vacation and did the same thing. Why all the gratitude? Parenting is hard. You’ve essentially created a mini version of yourself with more emotions and fewer communication skills. While I’m not gearing up for another six-hour road trip anytime soon, I am able to bring some of my newfound skills to Nomadic Agency. Here are a few parenting tools that have influenced my working style as Social Media Director.
Adaptability: You know when you have the entire creative brief written, approved by the team, ready for kickoff, and then your client lets you know that product is now delayed by six months? That’s a lot like managing any plans with a toddler. No matter how much time you’ve spent planning something, things are bound to come up (hi, teething!) that will stop you in your tracks. Being adaptable allows me to pivot without holding on. Sure, it may have been an amazing creative execution, but now we have the opportunity to make something even better.
Simplification: I am about 10% proficient in my toddler’s language. Fluency may be in the distant future, but for now, I’m able to discern the key things. My daughter doesn’t need to explain that she’s hungry, ask what we have, and then make a choice. She can simply say ‘apple?’ and ‘open’ and be on her way with an applesauce. In our industry, it’s easy to get caught up in the minute details and multitudes of acronyms. But being able to communicate in clear, simple terms allows for understanding across departments and ensures alignment from all teams.
Focus: Any #NomMom (or Dad!) can tell you—attempting to do anything with a little one nearby is nearly impossible. Toddlers don’t understand the concept of time, so ‘one minute’ doesn’t work when I need to get something completed. When my daughter needs my full attention and I’m able to set aside what I’m doing to give her it, we’re both happier. While I’m not able to multitask the same way I was able to before becoming a parent, I’ve become more focused – at work and at home. I have a newfound appreciation for the quality time I can spend in the mindset needed to build strategic briefs, reports and content plans. I’m able to concentrate on doing one thing at a time and doing it well.
Parenthood changes a person, and I’m happy to report that I’m a better director, strategist and teammate because of it. Just please don’t ask me to take another family road trip until my toddler turns 3.