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Trial Period

Isabella Arellano* | Translated by: Veronica Alvarez

If being a mother was a professional job, I probably would have been hired after my probationary period with an outstanding grade and a promotion offer on the table. If it were the contrary, I would have accepted a better offer somewhere else because never before have I placed so much energy, had lessons learned and sacrificed (a word that I hate to use) as I have now.

Last month, my son Alexander turned 3 months old. 90 days intensely lived for which the key has been using whatever piece of knowledge and ability acquired in any experience previously related to or not to raising a baby.

It is said that the first 3 months with a baby are the hardest for fathers, and even more for mothers, especially if they are breastfeeding as is my case. 3 months is also the trial period to be permanently hired for a job, at least that is how it is in Venezuela.

If this were the case, the meeting with my boss to review my performance would have gone somewhat like the following conversation:

Boss: “Hi Isabella, you have finished your trial period in the position of “Mother.” Before giving you your feedback, I want to ask you, how would you rate your performance for the past 3 months?”

I would answer very spontaneously: “I exceeded expectations.”

My boss, who I can imagine to be my son Alexander, with his small hands clasped and his eyebrow raised intimidatingly, would ask me again: “Why? How can you prove it?”

And I, feeling a little tense but at the same time being assertive, would say: “Baby Alex, during this time I have fulfilled the functions of my role as a mother, my actions have been 100% customer-oriented (in this case Alexander would also be the client) and delivered the results with the expected quality standards. My KPIs have been green:

  • I have breastfed the baby to 100% capacity with 24/7 service.

  • An immediate diaper change has been done as soon as there are signs of possible discharge.

  • The baby has progressively gained weight.

  • The baby incorporated tummy time sessions into his routine and is already holding his head up by himself.

  • I have been deciphering and updating the alert commands: hunger, sleep, gas, colic, diaper change and any existential problems the baby constantly emits.

These KPIs have been certified by the internal audit team made up of grandmothers, and the external audit team made up of the pediatrician and the breastfeeding support group.

In addition to fulfilling the expected results, I have demonstrated my strength to work as a team with my partner who excels in the role of “Dad.” Assertive communication between us has been key to agree on work shifts, cover our client's 24/7 demand and balance the individual workload that we both have.

I also want to highlight my ability to solve problems from the first days in my role. During the second week, the biggest incident up until that moment presented itself. The baby began to have symptoms of the much feared "infant colic." Once detected, we immediately treated it in the workspace applying the PDCA (Petrify-Decipher-Confirm-Awe) methodology.

Dad was in charge of making the pertinent investigations and validating the diagnosis, while I went to my network (friends, the doula, lactation groups, spiritual guides, and even other mammals). Demonstrating, by the way, that I have solid networking relationships. We drew up an action plan that solved the colic and it was documented in the lessons learned files.

Since then, the baby has increased the number of stars in the review that he leaves Dad and I after each service.

This is the way I would demonstrate to my boss baby my outstanding performance and hope to successfully pass my trial period. However, this is just a fantasy that I sometimes recreate in my mind to entertain myself and reflect “trivial” life experiences, how important it is to be clear about our abilities and how these can be transposed to any area of our life.

People say that nobody knows how to be a parent. I agree, there is no course that really prepares you to humanize a newborn, but all the previous experiences in life help you survive as new parents and even do it successfully.

For me, all your experiences support your next steps.

* Isabella Arellano is a career mentor and a meditation teacher. She helps women to connect with their purpose and achieve their professional goals.

This article was originally published on the Isaxperience blog, and an authorization was given to Amazona Foundation to share this article and translate it.

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