15 months in, I totally have this parenting thing down, I think to myself. And then my daughter goes and eats a piece of dog food off the kitchen floor and I am back to square one.
The past year has taught many things about life; how to manage on little to no sleep, how to change a diaper in the dark, how making mom friends is a lot like dating and how everything I am doing in my role as a mother can be applied to my work in public relations. Here are three parenting skills that have served me well professionally:
Research, research, research: During my pregnancy, I could not get enough of What to Expect when You’re Expecting, Heading Home with your Newborn and the Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. Reading up on other experiences, ideas and tips was so reassuring and helpful. The same principle can be applied to new PR clients. It helps to study up as much as possible, not just on the company but also the employees you are going to meet with; find them on LinkedIn, read up and then wow them with all your insider knowledge. (My daughter may not have been wowed by my knowledge when she was crying at 2 a.m., but it made me feel prepared.)
Stay Calm: Did you know that babies can sense when their parents are stressed just by touching them? Being able to read emotion is hard-wired in us from birth. It helps to remain calm even in the scariest of situations. My favorite piece of advice I received during pregnancy was from my pediatrician, who told me: Don’t Fear the Baby. He didn’t mean that this beautiful bundle of joy was anything to be afraid of, but rather to be confident in your ability to care for them. Clients can sense our level of stress when we are dealing with a full blown crisis. It’s critical to remember to remain cool, calm and collected and don’t fear the crisis—you’re equipped to manage the issues.
Prioritize Face Time: There is nothing better than waking up in the morning and going to pick my baby up out of the crib, or seeing her delight when I walk through the door at the end of day. Nothing beats the time you spend with your child, even if it just to read Madeline for the thousandth time. In this day and age when we can call, text, email, even Snapchat with our clients, nothing beats getting to see them face-to-face and having a real conversation. Go out and get coffee or try a new restaurant for lunch. It is always time well spent.
Are you a parent in PR? What skills have you learned personally that have helped you professionally? Share your tips with us on Twitter @solomonmccown.