“I guessed you were a mother”. The statement took me by surprise. I didn’t realise that people guessed others parental status or not. I had been teaching and facilitating a course all week long and he was a student. I wasn’t sure how to respond. Firstly, what was I doing that made me appear mother-ish? Was it some words I used, the way I taught (which apparently was very good), my demeanour, my pouchy tummy, my mumsy clothes? I didn’t ask. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the truth!
It got me thinking about how I have changed as an employee since becoming a mother. Has it affected the way I work and how I work with people? Over the years I have taken the Belbin team roles test to see how I best work within a team. It’s a 360 degree feedback test, so I invited several people to respond to questions about me. In the final report you receive analysis of your preferred way of working compared to how others perceive you. It also provides a list of words that others describe me as. I had taken the test PRE becoming a mother and POST becoming a mother. Within a 1.5 year time period people had described me differently. The word “Caring” become top of the list since becoming a mother, whereas before it was waaaaay down bottom of the list. That surprised me. The word “Impatient” had also appeared on my list whereas nobody had described me as that before becoming a mother. People perceived me as analytical both before and after – thank goodness that hadn’t changed seeing as being an analyst is actually my job!
So what does this all mean? That I have probably changed in the way I work – whether it was associated with becoming a mother or not, I don’t know, but I reckon it’s likely true.