Anni Millar
Aug 23, 2017 · 5 min read
Unleash your She-ra and your mum skills

Motherhood empowers you on so many levels; it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. It’s the hardest but most rewarding job you’ll ever do, and it sure as hell doesn’t come with a set of instructions. All you can do is wing it — whilst full of best intentions for your child.

I think being a parent has made me a better person and a better designer and here’s why.

I am ‘all in’ as a mum and designer

Raising kids is not for slackers. It’s a lifetime job that us mums do wholeheartedly and with the utmost of pride. Ask any mum — we’re constantly learning and researching all the different milestones our children reach so we can deal with anything that comes our way, from weaning to potty training and beyond.

So it’s easy to apply these same amazing research skills and fast learning to my creative work. I love my role as a mother and as a designer, so I put in the same hard graft in with each which means I’m learning all the time.

It boosted my ambition and drive

I’ve only gained even more drive and determination to succeed because I am a provider and role-model for my kids. I want my children to be as proud of me as I am of them, so it’s vital I set a good example.

Mums are multi-tasker by nature

Us mums are used to doing ten things at once while looking after our children. How else would things get done? It just makes total sense to multitask and having a family definitely fine-tunes this skill.

Like take having a shower. Hell, I might as well clean it while I’m in there! Leftover pasta from dinner? Great! Get the Tupperware and VOILA, tomorrow’s lunches done with no waste. Or when I’m tidying up, I pop my headphones in and listen to a free podcast. This makes a boring clean up job more interesting and I get great design tips, advice and inspiration too.

My organisation and planning skills are razor sharp

With three kids they have to be, so I simply plan ahead and this means I write tasks down, if I write it, I’ll do it, I have a diary and I keep everything in it.

I also, have a daily routine, yes, once you have a baby you soon realise that routines do work. Having a daily routine eliminates guesswork and helps me get more done at home and in work.

To be a good mum I anticipate my child’s needs and look for all the possible dangerous in a situation, so I don’t leave anything to chance to keep them safe and out of harms way. So being a mum has taught me some valuable lessons in foresight and preparation and you can bet I’ll have covered all my bases when dealing with a client too.

I am far more productive

Multitasking and planning means I am far more productive, I have a schedule and no time to waste. When you have kids you have to get the job done and work to your schedule or who is going to pick them up in the evening, just because you got too chatty or spend the afternoon procrastinating.

No time for bullshit

Sorry nope I don’t have time for bullshit, so I steer clear of drama queens and gossips, in work and in general.

Improved communication

As a mum, you have to come down to your child’s level to explain things making it easier for them to understand. Especially when they are little, kids ask a hell of a lot of questions, well how else are they supposed to learn, right?

So whether I am explaining a storybook or making sure my instructions to my teen are clear and not open to interpretation, being a mum has definitely honed my communication skills.

I am that bit more empathetic

I feel every emotion my children do as if they are my own, their excitement, sadness or fear by putting myself in my children’s shoes and understanding how they must feel. So this comes in handy when working with clients; I am a lot more understanding of their perspective.

I can adapt well

This definitely makes me more adaptable and open to change, I don’t mind productive criticism during a project because it more than often leads to a much better end result and I then push myself that bit further.

My priorities are straight

With children and work, comes a list of daily tasks, so I decide what really needs to be done, versus what can perhaps wait.

Prioritising is a skill that stops me feeling burnt out or stressed to the max!

If something unexpected comes into the mix, then I simply reprioritise. So I keep calm and composed under pressure, well at work anyway.

I am much better at creative problem solving

Mums are constantly finding solutions and solving problems, whether it be, getting our kids to sleep at bedtime or getting them to eat all their dinner or folding a pram down as fast as you can while holding on to your baby, your bags and getting on a bus, not to mention getting off the bus again, so these mum skills definitely translate into my work life.

Us adults can learn so much from our kids too and spending time with your kids rubs off, the way kids view the world, with such curiosity, only teaches me to be more open-minded and to question things like they do, making me an even better lateral thinker.

I don’t crack under pressure (well hardly! *Shhh)

The pressures of parenting can be stressful and they do definitely help you deal better with stress and find solutions and coping mechanisms such as the ticked off lists found in my diary. But, to be honest, I think a bit of pressure is a good thing, it makes you focus and really take control of the task in hand and you can even surprises yourself with just how much you can do at times.

Surviving sleepless nights when your little one is teething (my wee one just now) or going through the “terrible twos” seriously makes dealing with some work related stresses a breeze.

I love my job even more now — I really do!

It also makes you appreciate your job even more so, hell, a hot coffee and lunch in peace, wow!

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Anni Millar

Written by

Mum. Graphic Designer. Screenprinter. Work in progress. Dreamer. Doer. ✌🖤

the composite

made up of various elements

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