This past week while my wife was on a short three-day trip to New York City, I was forced to juggle and balance the duties of running our growing, vibrant firm while also getting my growing, vibrant kids up out of bed and ready for school, making lunches and dropping them off on time with two matching socks and shoes on. Thank God my wife put the instructions down explicitly and that our babysitter took care of the afternoon and early evening hours.
Walking in their shoes for only this brief period made me value and appreciate the balancing act that the Moms of this firm and at our clients’ and so many other businesses valiantly and successfully navigate every day.
With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, it inspired me to give them a special Shout Out and reflect on how lucky I am to have such dedicated and talented Moms working here at WCG. I do not take it for granted.
Years ago as I was starting WCG, a competitor characterized the firm at the time as “Jim & the Marin Mommies” in an attempt to negatively position us as loose band of consultants that could not truly handle the often complex assignments for which we were all competing. The prevailing attitude and wisdom was that stay-at-home or part-time working Moms could not focus and deliver the goods.
How wrong that characterization turned out to be is the takeaway point and message of today’s post.
When I started this firm 10 years ago sitting next to my wife who was also consulting then, it reaffirmed what my Mom had taught me years before and echoed in the lyrics of a song played by the Grateful Dead: “That’s right, the women are smarter . . .”
I watched in awe and some envy as my wife calmly and confidently managed her work, gained the clients’ respect and still had time left over to devote to other things. It was doable with focus, discipline and commitment.
The business assumption was and remains simple: Because women (and some men who are on double duty) have to juggle work and family life, they tend by necessity to work smarter, more efficiently and in a more focused manner. True, while many of them can’t stay and burn the midnight oil in the office (they are likely doing that at home after the kids are put to bed), party after work and occasionally or always miss who got kicked off Dancing with the Stars or American Idol on a given week, in my experience they are often the ones who step up and get the work done and done right more often than not. This serves to prove the old adage that when you want to get something done, go ask the busiest person you know to do it.
While I recognize that everyone at WCG is working hard and balancing life as they know it whether they are Moms or not, I am compelled to say thanks and simply acknowledge Mother’s Day and those celebrating it.
I do it mostly because as I was directed to cut my daughter’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into heart-shaped slices and take the crust off the bread this week, I got a small taste of what it must be like for so many of our colleagues and clients — giving me a renewed appreciation of how hard and important it is to strike that balance and the need for me to support and respect it every day at WCG.