As working mothers know, the best laid plans seldom work out. That was never more evident that the events of this morning.
I was scheduled to travel from Cleveland to San Francisco today in preparation for a Women in Technology conference. It was to be a simple ride from home to Hopkins. However, what started out as simple soon became a potential disaster of epic proportions. I found I needed to use several management skills for the less than 20 mile ride:
Followed by the ability to work under stress. You see, I arrived at the airport to discover I had left my driver’s license at home. This is never a good discovery when planning to board an airplane. This opportunity for a calm and patient demeanor wasn’t my first act of the day. I had already encouraged my two school-aged children to rise, wash and dress. Eat breakfast. Gather their belongings. I helped them to remember to take the lunches I had packed them and then shuffled them out the door to ride on different buses heading in different directions to start school at two different times.
While completing this loving mother task, I had also loaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, started a load of laundry and made the beds. I had gathered my own business papers, (sans license, sadly) and made sure that my suitcase was packed and ready for the several destinations, starting with CA, that I was about to embark upon. Is it any wonder that I left the license at home?
Taking a deep breath, I hailed another Uber driver to take me home and back, this time with my license. He was a stickler for the rules of the road, insisting on driving two miles UNDER the speed limit. With some keen negotiating skills I managed to impress upon him the importance of making my flight on time.
Once back at the airport, I was cutting it close for checking my bag one hour prior to departure time. Again, my negotiating skills (and a generous tip) were called into play so that my bag could make the flight.
Now, as I rest my head back on the seat of the plane getting ready to take off, I think back over the past two hours and realized just how many management skills working mothers employ each day.
Patience, above all, served me well today. Following closely by flexibility. On the fly (no pun intended) I needed to regroup and change plans, finding solutions for the most immediate problem quickly and then negotiate to make it happen.
Being organized by getting many of the tasks completed the night before, like making lunches, packing my suitcase, etc. helped make a busy morning go more smoothly. Of course, as working mothers can attest, not everything goes as planned. However, with a little persistence, I was able to overcome the obstacles as they appeared and ultimately persevere.
I share this story, not to illicit sympathy, but to point out all of the skills we must have, as working mothers, to function on a daily basis. As you work toward your next career advancement, recognize the skill-sets you are developing when you juggle work and family.
And always remember your license when you are traveling.
JJ DiGeronimo, keynote speaker for women, based in Cleveland, presents keynote addresses on women in leadership, diversity in business and advancement for women.
Check out JJ’s new book Accelerate Your Impact by downloading three free chapters.