The lessons I have learned about negotiation since becoming a mother are endless. Yes, some of it is negotiating family visits, birthday parties, babysitting, school politics, etc. But most of it comes from the Negotiator in Chief, my son, who could give Len Riskin a run for his money. No one knows how to expand the pie like Louis. Literally.
“Would you like a brownie?” I ask naively. “You mean a brownie sundae, right?” He answers.
“You may bring two toys to the doctor’s office.” I order. “Two toys and a book.” He wins.
“I am tired today,” I complain. “Then you should really rest on the couch... And watch Black Panther.” (Again.)
Being a mom puts a whole new perspective on negotiation. I’ve always encouraged it because I know the value of the skill.
Being a mom also requires the cultivation of your own sophisticated negotiation skills in order to survive the days with little diplomats. From empathy and collaboration to creativity and patience. The little ones know when to go in for the ask, usually at your weak moments, so best to have an idea ahead of time how to deal with them…
Sometimes women don’t recognize that these skills absolutely transfer outside the home, and can and should be applied in work life. That is one of the reasons I started Take Charge Negotiations… so much of the dialogue around women and negotiation is unnecessarily negative. It’s not about what women are doing wrong in negotiations. It’s celebrating the skills you already have and leveraging them to your advantage in your professional life, just as you are already doing on so many other fronts.
So Happy Mother’s Day, whether you are the mom or you are celebrating/remembering the women who have made a difference in your life.