SARAH MACONACHIE

WORK HARD PARENT HARD

Problem solving is an incredible skill to have and it’s really not for everyone. It requires the ability to assess a situation from various angles and come up with a solution that appropriately resolves the problem. It can require some quick thinking, decisiveness, and the ability to see different points of view. It’s an art that most leaders need yet many are lacking.

I have always been a decisive person and perform very well under pressure. I always knew this was a strength of mine in the workplace but I am also very laid back and happy for others to take the lead in my personal life. My friends often tell me where and when we are catching up and I love it. I am there with bells on, but I struggle to decide on plans myself.

In the workplace, I am fast, determined and have very strong views on what needs to be done and can do it in a very timely fashion if required.

Becoming a parent has stretched me personally. Outside of work I’m much less decisive, I like a slower pace, yet I am amazed at some of the situations that I have been exposed to where I have jumped into “work mode” and seriously got shit done (pun not intended- you’ll see).

It was about 8.15 on a summer morning and Sofia (my eldest) and I were cleaning our teeth together getting ready for the day ahead. The twins about 14 months old at the time were playing beautifully in the kitchen. I could hear them giggling away and felt warm inside. Nothing fills me with more joy than hearing them playing together, the bond they have is just magical.

I carry on cleaning my teeth and think I’ll just pop my head around to see what they are doing before I do my makeup.

And there they are…

Lola is sitting down in an open nappy, full of poo, while Sebe is standing in front of her. They are howling with laughter at each other as they both dip their hands in Lola’s poo and smear it simultaneously down Sebe’s legs.

OH MY GOD.

I freeze momentarily and think how the hell am I going to tackle this. We need to minimise poo being smeared any further on the children and most importantly I don’t want shit smeared across my house.  

I need to think fast. Never in my life have I been faced with something that needs a quick, smart solution quite so desperately. This challenges any problem I have been faced with in the workplace. Looking back, if I was able to tackle this situation and come out of it the other side gastro free and alive- then I can honestly solve any problem that could ever be presented to me.

I grab Lola and wrap her open nappy around her as best as I can to keep it on. It’s her morning nappy so it’s heavy full of wee and now full of poo so I can’t seem to re-stick it together. I place it in position and pick her up under one arm supporting her and holding the nappy together… (the things you can manage when you have twins)

Now Lola is secured in what can only really be described as an arm lock, I take Sebe with the other hand and lead him over to the kitchen table where some wipes live. I one handedly managed to take off his pj’s that are covered in poo, I wipe their hands, and I managed to remove as much poo as I could off Sebe’s legs.

Once they were decent enough to be transported through the rest of my house, I take them both to the bathroom, one under one arm, and one under the other, with a packet of wipes hanging out my mouth. Cleaned them up more, chucked them in the shower- job done.

After careful inspection once both twins were faeces free, I could not find a spec anywhere. I well and truly nailed this situation.

This is just one example of many that I am presented with having twins and I am sure other twin parents out there will be nodding along with complete understanding of what I am exposed to daily.

When I reflect on my life, there are some really amazing stand out moments where I have problem solved something under pressure. When I was recruiting Emergency Doctors, I would be out on a Saturday night on a dance floor 10 drinks in ordering Ubers for doctors to hospitals as they missed a flight. I was problem solving constantly- this hospital needs a Doctor and I would get a doctor there in any way I could. NOTHING compares to the problems you solve as a parent.

I thought I was good back then, but I am so much better now. If you are at work and you need a quick solution- find a parent as I am certain their problem solving skills will be excellent if they have tackled raising children!

If you want to support your working parents more- reach out to me to find out more about my program “The Mindful Working Parent” designed for working parents and workplaces. Parents are an asset to organisations and deserve to be supported to enhance all their incredible qualities.

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