I’m sure that almost all parents would agree that having a child is deeply humbling. It is like nothing else you can experience. The love you feel. The responsibility. The sense of pride, worry and wonder. It brings perspective to the rest of your life and reshapes your goals and priorities.
But parents – especially those who have worked in responsible, high pressure jobs – may find it harder to admit that it is an experience that can leave you questioning your decision-making and leadership skills – your ability to tackle what may seem a simple problem. Perhaps, to lead you to question whether you’ve ever made a decision before!
I write as one half of a couple who have held senior roles in high profile private and public bodies, managing large teams, multi-million pound budgets, reporting to demanding and impressive CEOs, working across the UK, Europe and globally and spinning so many work plates at any one time we could have toured with the circus. You may think I am writing those lines with the large dollop of smugness. Wrong.
I write now as one of half of a couple who – in the midst of potty training their other team Jones member – is racked every day with the toughest decision of all. Is it pull-ups or pants? Are we making enough progress to keep the nappies in the bag or should we wait and try again in a few days or weeks’ time and deploy the pull-ups? It might seem trivial, easy from the outside, but this daily dilemma has brought a surprising level of indecision and heartache. We have three, four-times daily management meetings to discuss the problem – rarely finding a solution – so perhaps not that different from the world of work!
For her part, Miss J, is happily getting on with life, making her key decisions about which princess dress to wear or Frozen song to sing, whilst we have been turned into a shuddering mess of indecision. It is this reality check, this profound sense of responsibility over the person you love beyond words, than makes being a parent so wonderful. There is nothing else for it but to embrace the constantly changing feeling of being on the edge of your knowledge and judgement – the minute you have one phase of development sussed another one arrives to catch you out. I love it – even if it does make me feel like it’s my first day in the office.
You can keep your big jobs and big decisions, this is the only thing that matters now – the only job I ever want to hold. In reality the decision-making is done for you by nature and the person that it’s all about – the person your life revolves around. The littlest person in the house with the biggest impact. And that’s how it should be.