Saturday, February 12, 2011

Only Wanting To Mommy The Actual Baby

Wow, it looks like I just used "mommy" as a verb. Does that mean that I need some sort of intervention?

I am scheduled to go to a work-related leadership training event at the end of March. I had some reluctance to go at first, since it means two nights away from home and I tend to miss Emmett whenever he's not physically attached to me. At the same time, I've been waiting something like ten years for a chance to do some actual training of this sort, so I'm going. I feel like I've just muddled through management up until now, just trying to avoid really noticeable mistakes. That actually sounds a lot like parenting, but there's probably more available in the way of advice out there about being a parent (not that it's all good advice). I know, bookstores have whole sections devoted to leadership crap, but a leadership in education is its own complicated area.

Lately I feel conflicted about some of the roles available as a woman in leadership at work. As I see it, there are a couple of easy paths to take. One path is to just be a total bitch, and the appealing part is that it's probably pretty efficient to operate this way. I've attempted the "nice bitch" approach, hoping to be as lovely and likable as Glenda the Good Witch, and sometimes it's worked out OK, but I'd rather have the bitchiness be a tool that I pull out on occasion than my main style.

The other role that I see women with power at work falling into is Mommy. I didn't really mind being mommy at work before I had Emmett. In limited doses, being mommy at work can be satisfying, and a certain type of employee thrives in situations where there's someone playing that role for them. I can practically hear myself going, "It's OK, I'll take care of everything!" and really meaning the "everything" part. Shortly after Emmett was born, I realized that while I had more patience with him than I'd expected, I had very little patience with adults who couldn't/wouldn't just do things for themselves. In fact, I think that I can be a better mommy to Emmett if I don't have to spend the workday doing the equivalent of wiping people's butts for them.

So, I've been trying to figure out what my leadership style really is/should be, and it bugs me that it's not something that I can put into words. A few years back, I joked that I wanted my title to be "Queen of ESL." While parts of that appeal to me (heaps of power, looking awesome, and being sucked up to regularly), on the whole that doesn't fit, either. Perhaps during this training, some lightbulb will go off in my head and I'll get closer to figuring some part of this out.

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