As many mothers can tell you, the role of motherhood really should be renamed Chaos Coordinator. You start off the day with plans on how you want to tackle the neverending schedules of school functions, after school activities, homework, picking up, dropping off, signing all the things, preparing meals on the fly all while keeping all the little humans alive. But those little humans often throw a wrench smack dab in the middle of your flawless schedule. They have you becoming a professional NASCAR driver because they wouldn’t get up and dressed in time for school. Or you’re searching to find a different pair of cleats because the ones they have were left at home... an hour away from the fields.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, in families with two working parents, about 54% of people state that the mother does more when it comes to managing the children’s schedules and activities. Us mothers are all about communicating and providing guidance, so for me, it came naturally in the context of project management.
Setting expectations at the start of a project is crucial for any team with a lot of moving parts involved. You discuss with the team (or family) what work needs to be done each day, what we need to do to achieve the goal, how long it will take to complete the work, and who is responsible for which parts. Then the real “momming” starts to happen.
Moms are often the nagging parent who is always on your case, asking you the same questions — “Did you remember to double check if you have homework?” “Are you sure you dance at 3:00?” — and for good reason: when you don’t follow up on projects or schedules, things tend to slip. Deadlines are missed, steps are skipped, and efficiency goes down. Parenting and project management both require managing time and priorities cohesively. It takes organization and strong communication skills to keep track of what priorities take precedence while still juggling other tasks so that no boxes are left unchecked at the end of the day.
You don’t ever want the words “micromanage” to come out of someone’s mouth when they are talking about you as a project manager OR a parent. As a parent and a project manager, your end game is to help. Help build better habits to improve efficiency. Help remind them timing is important. Help them grow. Help them be innovative. Help them feel supported and heard.
For a team to trust you and buy into your role as a project manager, your team has to feel appreciated and seen. No one person is the same. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. An effective project manager or mom will be able to find ways to communicate with each team member and work with them to prevent mistakes from happening. You need patience and flexibility for both roles. So for the sake of sanity, mostly with parenting, let those manifest in your day-to-day life! Find ways to connect with your people. Learn how to set the expectations so that it’s clear from the start. Continue to guide, to encourage, and to show up every day because your role is vital for controlling the chaos.