Being a working parent is a challenge. Moms and dads in the workforce often feel pulled in two different directions: work obligations and family life. Do you go to the school play, or stay late to run that front office report?
It turns out that working parents make great employees for exactly that reason. When you’re always trying to balance two equally important parts of yourself—and raise rambunctious children—you learn a few things about productivity, time management and more.
Here’s a list of the skills working parents can bring to the table, and why they might actually make the best employees of all.
Working parents often have higher productivity.
According to a 2014 study, mothers with two or more children who work in academic settings are often more productive. It’s easy to guess why.
When you have children, you learn to get tasks accomplished quicker and more efficiently. Moms are used to balancing children on their laps while doing important work like studying for their career training or continuing education courses.
Parents in general are used to being pulled in a ton of different directions at once. When you live in a constant state of multitasking, you become pretty good at the juggling act. And those skills can transfer into productivity at work.
Working parents have great people skills.
Have you ever tried reasoning with a toddler? It makes an uncooperative coworker seem like a piece of cake. When you’re used to negotiating bedtime with a tiny person who only has enough vocabulary to repeat the word “no”—you learn a few things.
Working parents often bring this patience and skill for negotiation into the office. They can make better, more team-driven coworkers.
Working parents have mastered time management.
Parents often have set schedules. They can’t usually stay late because they have to pick up and take care of their children. But that means they’re more likely to value the time they do have at work.
A working parent might get more accomplished in one 8-hour shift than another employee can get accomplished in a 12-hour shift.
Parents are just used to having less time to accomplish more tasks.
Working parents are empathetic.
While everyone has the ability to be empathetic, becoming a parent can lead to more warmth and understanding. When you connect to another person’s needs so fully, you often start noticing the needs of other people around you. That caretaker instinct can overflow to their coworkers, making parents a more helpful member of the team.
Having someone who takes a moment to check in with his or her teammates emotionally can be a great motivating force in a healthcare office or facility.
Working parents are motivated by their children.
And perhaps the biggest point: Working parents are often motivated to provide the best life possible for their children. This intrinsic motivation can make them some of the most dedicated employees—because succeeding at work means providing for their family. They’re also motivated to be a good role model and encourage their children to succeed. And studies show that the children of working parents might actually be better off.
So parents, what do you think? How does being a mom or dad help you do your job?