Today while I was driving home from my parents’ house, I was thinking how retail and parenthood have a lot of cross over tasks. Looking back, I think I should consider my roll of bookstore manager on the job training for being a mom.
Let’s look at the transferable skills.
Fostering growth- Being a manager is all about taking care of people, teaching them and helping them improve themselves and progress. If that doesn’t sound like parenting, I don’t know what does.
Time management- There’s always a task or twelve to get accomplished in a short time frame. Throw in some demanding customers and it’s pretty similar to paying the bills and sending out birthday invites while filling sippy cups and changing the channel to Disney Jr.
Managing whining- Speaking of demanding customers, they want everything they can’t have. Immediately. Even if it is unreasonable or impossible. Sound familiar?
Scheduling- A had a small staff and a small amount of hours to give, but many of my employees were students or had other jobs. It was like a game of Tetris trying to get the right coverage for the store without making someone miss a class or lose their requested day off. I am sure this skill will come in handy in the years of soccer practices, sleepovers and music lessons.
Cleaning- No one puts books back where they found them, so cleaning was a part of every shift, just like it’s a part of every day in my crazy, messy house. Ironically I always found myself telling my staff I was not their mother and demanding that they clean up after themselves in the back room. Too bad I can’t use that tactic on my kids.
The alphabet- I don’t need that silly song to remember where the letters go. I worked in a bookstore.
Inventory- We had to have the right books. We needed enough pens, paper towels, register paper, just like my household needs enough Kraft Singles, bananas, paper towels and diapers, oh the diapers.
Multitasking- I can handle a crying baby, a pot of water boiling over on the stove and a complaining toddler no problem. Have you ever worked in retail during the holidays without enough staff? I am the Superman of multitasking.
A love of books- This one is the most important skill I acquired and the one that I am most grateful for. While I was working at the store, my love of children’s books grew and grew. I have read more picture books than I can count and read middle level and young adult books in my free time. I know the books my kids will like and I love nothing more than reading them together. Thanks to that job, we are raising two amazing little book lovers.