There is a steep learning curve to becoming a parent. And unlike others roles, parents are never off the clock. But luckily, many skills learned in former or current careers can be applied to parenting. For example, my background as a counselor ingrained in me the practice of making reflective statements - "Sounds like you're feeling mad right now" - to which my child says, "Duh!" But it helps him feel heard... that's what I tell myself at least.
Here's what other parents have to say about how their past or present professions inform their parenting:
Patience and Planning
"I think the biggest thing that working has taught me about raising kids is to be patient. In my job, patience is key. Also, the ability to come up with a plan and execute it, even in the face of adversity or unplanned outcomes has been helpful. I find myself better at planning for contingencies. Maybe that's just age (wisdom?), but I think that working in a job with uncertain outcomes has helped in that aspect of raising the kids... to have a plan B." -Director of Trading and Operations; Father of 8-year-old and 12-year-old.
Kindness and Gratitude
"Being in the workforce in general has taught me to keep myself in check with my children, and reminding myself to always be kind. Also, each day that I am lucky enough to be home with my kids is a great day, no matter how crazy it gets or how stressed I get! It could always be worse." -Sales and Marketing; Mother of 18-month-old and 9-year-old.
"I taught preschool for 4 years. Being in the classroom can teach you patience, love and discipline all at once. I feel like nothing really prepared me for an infant though." -Former preschool teacher; Mother of 7-week-old.
Praise and Positive Reinforcement
"Being in HR, I listen to a lot of complaints. The number one complaint is not being told good job or not hearing "thank you" enough, so I make sure to always say 'good job' to my son and it seems to pay off, even when feeding him." -Human Resources Manager; Father of 17-day-old and 16-month-old.
The Art of Follow Through
"I've learned the art of follow-through and it so pertains to parenting. Whether trying a new method of sleep, trying to breastfeed, teaching how to sign. Persistence and follow-through eventually pay off. Well, still TBD on the sleep thing." -Music Tech Consultant; Mother of 7-month-old.
"In the medical field, working with patients from age 10-90, you learn a lot about empathy. It's easy to empathize with the needs of others as well as my newborn. When she's hungry or gassy or just wants to be held, it's easy for me to cater to her needs without getting too overwhelmed as I do it everyday with my patients at work. Although their needs are different, cast vs. bottle or stitches vs. gripe water, needs are needs and you do what is asked of you." -Registered Orthopedic Technician/Medical Assistant; Mother of 7-week-old.
How has your professional life prepared you for parenthood?