How parenting prepares you for a job at the UN

Parenting and the UNWhen you become a parent, not only do you retain the set of skills, qualifications and experience you had before your kids came along, you also gain a whole new set.

Most parents could easily qualify for a job at the United Nations, or any large organisation that deals with various governments, large departments or handles crises on a regular basis. Here’s why.

Negotiation skills.
Get a bunch of parents in a room, and I reckon they could negotiate just about any trade agreement or major multinational deal. Factor in that most of us are pretty tired and have dealt with tantrums, whinging or small children being insanely stubborn about random things most days, and we won’t take any crap deals. There’s no way talks would take a week to finalise a decision. We’d be done in a fraction of that time.

Valid arguments would be heard, and accepted or dismissed and a result decided. No piss-farting around. We want to get this deal locked away before Play School ends and the kids are no longer happily distracted. If we have a spare few minutes to pee in peace and make a cup of tea – bonus.


Play School – every parent’s friend. Image credit

Dealing with governments.
Democracy vs dictatorship? When you have kids, most days, most homes will run like a democracy. Everyone has a valid say, and most of the time, everyone is accepting of this. Except when mum and dad have been up all night with a child with gastro, the dog has been barking at possums outside and waking everyone up when they have finally managed to fall asleep, and then one of the other kids decides they no longer love, or even like, ham and cheese sandwiches in their lunch box. When this happens, household government style changes. Democracy is out. Dictatorship is in. Sorry kids, that’s just the way it goes. Deal with it. We’ll discuss changes another day when we’ve had some more sleep.

Dealing with multiple competing priorities.
Toddler is running through the house, wearing only a nappy, that is leaking poo. At the same time, the phone is ringing, the seven year old has somehow blocked the bathroom sink and its now overflowing, and the oven timer is going off indicating the cake is ready – telling you you have about four minutes before the oven decides to turn the cake to charcoal.

Working in potentially hostile conditions.
Small, hard plastic toys left scattered all over the floor of a darkened room. Exploding nappies of epic proportions or projectile vomiting. Often without being provided with protective clothing or a hazmat back up team. Just a regular day as a parent. In the workplace, I’m pretty sure you would get additional loading for working in conditions like that.

Proficiency in other languages.
Understanding toddler babble and his own version of sign language. The sign for “milk” doesn’t actually always mean he wants milk. Not. frustrating. at. all.

Work varied and long hours, often on minimal or broken sleep.
Pretty self-explanatory. Does anyone actually know a parent who clocks off after eight hours, gets a whole hour for lunch, and isn’t required back on call until the following day? Nope, me neither.

Ability to think on your feet and act on instinct.
Got to have ninja-like reflexes to catch that plate of food that has been thrown off the high chair before it hits the just-mopped floor. Running towards projectile vomiting to catch it, without even thinking about it. How many times have you done that?!

As a parent, what are some kickarse skills you could bring to a workplace?

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22 thoughts on “How parenting prepares you for a job at the UN

  1. I think being a parent is probably the most demanding job a person will ever do and as you so rightly point out, it requires such a varied skillset. However, although the salary is not financially rewarding, I’m sure many would agree that the experience is priceless! Hats off to all the parents out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the part about ‘no piss farting around’. ‘Get in, get it done and move on’ is my motto too. Sure, I love discussions but if it takes too long to get to the point I’m outta there. 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been applying for some jobs lately and I think the lack of recognition of mother’s skills is disgraceful. As the mother of teenagers, I am the master of complex coordination, emergency response, crisis negotiation as well as dealing with difficult employees and people with language difficulties (well, the ones that don’t use a real language anyway). It’s pushed me into making my own job so I can keep doing what I love. Looking after my teenagers….


  4. Hysterical. Love it. Especially this: “working in potentially hostile conditions.” As the mom of one tween daughter and one teen daughter, I dwell semi-permanently in the land of decidedly hostile conditions. So glad I found you at Friday Frivolity!


  5. I wouldn’t have it any other way. As they older – ability to chauffeur with 5 mins notice and find unknown destinations with parking and chief financial officer skills.


  6. This was so true – I often feel like a top UN negotiator in our house and like you on occasions it does move into more of a dictatorship than a democracy! Hardest job in the world parenting, but one day we will look back and say we did this and look how great our kids are doing 🙂 #brillblogposts


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