When I found out I was going to be a mom, the idea of that serving me well in my career did not cross my mind. Actually, I was thinking a lot more about who really thought I was equipped enough to handle being responsible to keep someone else alive. I was hardly feeling confident taking care of myself in the real world at that point in my life. Although it hasn’t made getting my work done any easier, being a mom has served me well in my work. I’ve learned more about patience, what is really important, and how to multitask in the past three years than I had in the nearly thirty before it.
Motherhood and community management. Who would think they’d have so much in common? Oddly enough, being a parent and being a community manager share more than a few similarities. Here are a few that really stand out:
- Someone is always hollering, crying, or whining. The more quickly you can identify the cause of the noise and turn the situation around, the better it is for everyone. Please note: the crying is not always from your community. It’s perfectly normal to find yourself hiding in your bedroom closet with a chocolate bar in one hand and a sippy cup full of wine in the other. Right?
- You do not have all of the answers. You never will. That is perfectly okay. A great attitude and a willingness to learn will get you far.
- You spend an inordinate amount of time talking without being heard. You pour your heart into creating awesomeness – whether that be a tiny little person or promoting a great company. Often, you find yourself saying the same things over and over. Those statements may include such gems as “don’t ride the dog” or “monitor your reputation online so that you know what is being said about you”. Either way, you’re lucky if half of your audience is paying attention a quarter of the time.
- “Did that just happen?” is a question that you frequently find yourself asking. A crazy scandal breaks about a squeaky-clean CEO, a toddler tears through the living room with no pants on, an employee goes berserk on a customer, a tiny version of you kicks and screams over nothing at all. You just never know what you may witness on a day to day basis.
- Someone always has an urgent need. Potty! Tweet! Phone call, now! Juice on the floor! It often seems that everyone around you needs something right away, and they need you to make it happen. The ability to multitask serves you well.
- If you do your job well, people will ask when they can expect to see more from you. Great content, awesome kiddos, whatever.
- At the end of a rough day, you’d do anything for a strong drink and a long nap. At the end of a great day, you are on top of the world.
- They can smell fear. Don’t ever let children or the people on the other side of your computer screen see you sweat, they will eat you alive. Keeping your cool is imperative both in parenting and in social media management.
- You often end up learning just as much as you teach. Communities and children alike have an amazing way of turning their teacher into the student. Surrounding yourself with brilliant people, be it your kids or your community, you will find yourself learning amazing new things every day.
- It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. You love what you do. You think about it even when you’re somewhere else, you talk about it to anyone who will listen, and you keep going back for more. Even in the toughest, most stressful sleep-deprived moments, you know you wouldn’t change what you’re doing for anything. (well, except maybe that nap…)