How to succeed as a workparent, with Daisy Dowling
My guest today is Daisy Dowling. Daisy has worked in senior leadership roles on Wall Street and has now left that behind to start workparent helping companies to best support working parents. She's also the author of ‘Workparent: Thrive in your career while raising happy children’. So, if you have kids or you're thinking of having kids this episode and Daisy's book are for you. We talk about how to support working parents, which organizations do it well, what to do if your boss isn't so understanding.
We talked about the Zeigarnik effect, how to think about money and also what it was like to leave the Lehman Brothers just before it collapsed in the 2008 crash plus much more.
Daisy talked about how to set up a dialogue between a manager and a working parent:
(What do you think organizations can do to support managers to change those practices and to, and to really make it more of an embedded cultural response?)
"So one thing I always advise managers to do and listen, most of the managers who I talk to are supportive there. They may not want to spend all of their time coaching working parents because they're busy or they've got their own kids at home.
And they feel a little bit overwhelmed themselves. So, sometimes they don't want to cross the line or get into the support and counselling business and I understand that, but the one really powerful thing that managers can do. It's small but it really works is to ask the people on their teams, open-ended questions to signal support, to signal the fact that the door is open, that this conversation has permission that you don't have to hide what you have going on as a working parent.
And as soon as you ask that, then. You're relating in a more human way. You're not making any promises. You're not telling somebody you can work at home five days a week, but what you are doing is putting yourself into a sort of a peer to peer conversation in which some problem solving can begin to happen."
We also touched on the topic of productivity and guilt for lack of it:
(I think, you know, that's also true of people's general sorts of guilt around how productive they've been, right?)
"What I also see a lot of people do, and this is kind of to the productivity point is they compare themselves to other parents, particularly to their own parents or to pass mentors kind of, you know, early-career role models.
And they say, well, they were able to do it. We are in a different productivity era, than our parents were, right? They, your mom or dad, may have worked full time. But he or she wasn't doing that with an iPhone in their pocket, that they had to remain glued to all the time, even while on holiday.
So the pressures are different. And now it's time to pivot and to learn some of the compensatory skills that allow us to kind of manage and live the lives that we want today with the current set of circumstances, the current environment that we have."
And we talked about the best way to interact with your children:
(The importance of blank space and, and sort of being able to create space for play and like play really comes from being spontaneous and having, and, and just having a few bits of art materials or dressing up stuff around you, but it's actually just about almost being bored or just having to muse yourself as a kid as well.)
"Well, one way is to kind of unschedule it and to do instead of to try to talk. So, you know, to just get down on the ground with your kid and start playing Legos, or to take, you know, a ball into the backyard and start kicking it around. And to have that be the connective time with your kid, that you don't have to be doing something that's outcome-oriented or asking your child, how was your day.
Because that's a very adult thing to do. Your child just wants to feel like they're not performing for you. They're just got your attention. They don't have to be stressed or answering questions. I think she was five when my daughter said, I used to come home and say, how was your day? What happened at school? Whatever. And she said, first hugs, then play, then talk. Which were great advice and good coaching for me."
🎙 About Beyond Busy:
Beyond Busy is a podcast by Graham Allcott of Think Productive, author of “How to be a Productivity Ninja”. In this show, he interviews people from all walks of life about productivity, work/life balance, happiness and success.
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Edited by Pavel Novikov: