practical

Professional meetings as a mother

Part two: Professional meetings with a mother and her child/ren.

Lauras Office

It is easy to forget how the simplest of thing – such as a professional meeting – might have a number of unintended barriers in place for the mother maker. And while it can be tempting to try and avoid meeting with a mother maker when she has her children, this only reinforces the very outdated view that women when mothers have nothing of value to say as professionals.

It is Mother Makers aim to find ways to break down the barriers for mothers in retaining and building a professional practice in motherhood. The first steps towards this is through finding ways to enable the maker mother to continue to work even when she has full time care of children.

So how can you, when working with an arts professional who,  for whatever reason, will have her children with her, make meetings more accessible?

Forget everything you know about having meetings. All the normal rules go out the window. But that is not a bad thing. It is simply different and a lot less boring.

 

Here are the Mother Maker Guidelines for having a successful face-to-face meeting with a mother and child:

  1. While face-to-face meetings are important, be open to different formats. Remember, the mother may have much shorter blocks of time which are often hard to predetermine she fits them between nap times, feeding, tantrums etc. Help her. Develop ideas in pre meetings via voice or video messaging, instant text messenger services, by phone or email.
  2. To use time most efficiently, have an agenda and stick to it.
  3. Accept meetings will be shorter, and less densely packed than usual. They may end before all issues are covered. Be ready to set a post meeting to finish anything not covered. This is normal.
  4. Let the mother pick both venue and time. If a mother sets a time do not be late. She has good reason for this, times will be finely worked out to fit best with her child/rens schedule. She will put in an enormous amount of effort to insure the meeting will be as successful and productive as possible; if you are late it will throw all of this planning and affect the productiveness of the meeting.
  5. Acknowledge the child’s presence and give her/him attention. An ignored child may seek extra attention. A mother of an ignored child will feel personally snubbed.
  6. Make space for feeding and naps. Respect the mother and child’s needs. If the mother breastfeeds you may see some breast. This is natural. She isn’t embarrassed- you shouldn’t be either.
  7. If you are meeting close to a mealtime and you do not see the mother eat, remind them. Buy them a sandwich, make sure they have water. They are most likely so focused on their child’s needs they will have forgotten their own.
  8. Be calm and quietly spoken, children will pick up on the tension or excitement it will cause overexcitement. Find ways to insure that you allow for quiet/calm moments throughout. Children will react positively to this and this in turn will enable the meeting to go more smoothly.
  9. Do not act as if the child is not there. Do not try to carry on talking if the child begins to cry/have a tantrum/is demanding something from their mother. Stop and give the mother the space she needs to deal with her child.
  10. Listen to the mother. If she says she needs some space, some extra time to settle her child, or if she needs to stop the meeting, respect this. If you do not cover everything you had planned during the meeting, arrange a post meeting phone call, email etc. There are many ways to share and develop ideas.
  11. Realise that you have an extremely motivated person in front of you, if she is still finding ways to work in her situation she has stamina, grit and energy. She is not a problem but a valuable asset.

Have we missed any? do get in contact and we will add them to the list!

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practical

Professional meetings as a mother

 

Part one:

How to have a professional meeting as a mother maker.

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Without support structures in place, many mothers are held back from the professional sphere. We believe it is vital to have the ability to access work despite, and while providing qualitative care to your children. Traditionally meetings have been male dominated and are not set up to be child-friendly. Mothers may never contemplate trying to have one when caring for children.

Mother Makers aims to normalise procreation and the caring for children within art. We feel strongly that our roles as mothers should not exclude us from the work of being an artist. Therefore it is fundamental we develop strategies to enable bringing these roles together successfully. We can have some of our needs as mothers and makers met by altering the structures and norms of a patriarchal system of work and with that provide a more fun and loose environment for those not familiar with the realities of childcare.

Here are the Mother Maker guidelines to planning a successful face-to-face meeting with your child/ren. Which of these guidelines are most relevant to you will depend on the age of your child/ren, as their needs change as they grow. We have collected these suggestions from other mother makers and from our own experiences.

  1. Forget everything you know about having meetings.
  2. While face-to-face meetings are important, be open to different formats. Send video or voice messages or use instant text messenger services over longer periods to discuss and grow ideas. Use these to develop ideas pre and post face-to-face meetings.
  3. Choose your location wisely; a child friendly café, park, or places that allow for your child/ren to have some independence and give you the space you need.
  4. Have an agenda to keep face-to-face meetings short and to the point. You never know when you will have to cut it short to look after your child/rens needs.
  5. Be pragmatic when making plans and be flexible throughout: unexpected things will happen, things will change, that’s okay.
  6. Accept your limitations but don’t be apologetic, stand behind your choice to be a professional and a mother. Others will adjust to you if you are confident about what you are doing.
  7. Have special toys/games/cartoons on hand to distract your child/ren. Bring special snacks and their favourite food. Bribes work.
  8. Be confident about giving your child what he/she needs during the meeting.
  9. Take breaks before your child’s breaking point.
  10. Respect nap time, feeding time and don’t forget to feed yourself.
  11. Give your child/ren real attention throughout as needed: do not ignore them, make sure they are introduced to the other people in the room.
  12. Be calm and quietly spoken, children pick up on tension and excitement easily and they will react to this. Find ways to insure that you allow for quiet/calm moments throughout and avoid overstimulation. Your child will react positively to this.
  13. Be open to realising only a part of your goals. If you do not cover everything you had planned during the meeting, arrange a post meeting phone call, email etc. There are many ways to share and develop ideas.

Are we missing any? Send us your suggestions to be included!