A post written by Annie Lavigne, Director Human Resources and Talent Development at South Shore Furniture, and a mom with 2 kids.
Mom = hardworking + informed consumer. Yikes! Four little words that put my mind in “alert” mode. But that’s nothing new: a whole lot of skills are needed to stay on top of all this! I’ve been working with the human resources team at South Shore Furniture over the past few years, setting up skill profiles for all the jobs in the company… and let me tell you: the list of skills for the “mom-hardworking-informed consumer” profile would be U-N-E-N-D-I-N-G!
- Client-focussed (be ready to listen to our kids or co-workers)
- Performance management (make the right choices when shopping, and for our families)
- Organization and planning skills (no need to explain this one!)
- Good judgment, decision-making (on a day-to-day basis)
- Teamwork (able to look for resources on hand)
- Creativity (to achieve a goal by deadline and on budget)
- Enthusiasm (whatever happens!)
- Leadership (those who like me will follow me!)
- Ability to balance (otherwise everything else could fall apart).
Double yikes! We often pressure ourselves (too much!) to excel at all these skills… Are my girls eating enough veggies? The older one didn’t see a mistake in her homework – she won’t get an A! Will I be all caught up by the end of the week? Could I excel even more at my job? Will buying this used snowsuit be the right decision? …And on it goes.
I made a personal choice, a while ago, to stop worrying about all that stuff. Because I’ll never be 100% excellent at all these skills anyway. I know my strengths (and my many weaknesses), and I’m cool with that. Everything is based – more and more, and all the time – on performance, goals, evaluations, results, and action plans for resolving situations. I just choose to always do my best, putting my heart and soul into what I do. But what this means is no half-measures or doing things in dribs and drabs; I give it everything I’ve got!
Marlène, a member of my team, has a poster that she’s kept in her office for years. It’s just a plain white sheet that reflects a feeling: “Damn, but we do a great job!” It’s a daily reminder to her (and her colleagues) that whatever happens, we should always be proud of ourselves, as long as our intentions are good. It’s a simple – but very effective – message, and I try to keep it in mind every day.
What about at home? No, I don’t correct my older daughter’s homework. She doesn’t need to get an A, be the best or the most conscientious, apply herself, or concentrate the hardest. I try instead to help her discover what she likes, so she can put her heart into it and thus develop the skills she needs for what she’s specifically interested in… and I let the rest of it go. We don’t eat all our servings of veggies, the fiber we need, omega-3/6/22, and other antioxidant chia seeds… but what the heck!
We don’t have a tablet, a big-screen TV, the latest model car, or a lot of other trendy stuff. We buy things that are practical, functional (so they save us time), and not too expensive. If I invite you to my home, you may find some toys strewn around and dust in the corners, and I might serve a store-bought cake rather than one I made myself (and I won’t even apologize for it!). But I’m not going to stress over it – what’s important is we’ll have a good time together.
I often say that at this stage of my life, I’m a mom 24/7 and a Director Human Resources and Talent Development 24/7. I can’t switch off either one. And thinking this way doesn’t drive me crazy – it reflects my state of mind, my passion for the 2 halves of my life, and how important they both are right now. When I reach the point where it becomes too much, it’ll mean I’m no longer in a good place and I’ll have to get back to a balanced state.
Right now, I’m calm and relaxed. And writing this gives me an idea: maybe I should think about having a third baby? (But can I give him or her the right amount of time? Daycare costs money! And I’ll be away from the office – again – for a long time… not to mention that babies are often sick, which breaks my heart!) So OK, the answer is no: I’m not relaxed enough for a third child! ;‑)