Traditionally the role of being a Mother has not been thought of as a professional stepping stone to a promotion or bigger job. In fact, usually women who opt out of work to be a full-time Mother more often suffer from a lack of confidence when it comes to translating their Mother experience into professional credentials. As a new Mother - I gave birth almost seven months ago - I think this traditional thinking is flawed. I am an entrepreneur, so I'm working while mothering, and it's very easy for me to see how being a Mom is something that strengthens core skills that are essential in the business world. What I think has been missing is the mindset and belief that being a Mother is great training for being a leader of the future.
Here are six clear skills that being a Mother heightens and are critical for being a business leader or CEO:
- Thinking ahead and being strategic: This is innate with moms. When thinking of taking your baby anywhere you have to think and prepare for every possible scenario, as well be prepared for things to not go according to plan all while managing these things in the moment as strategically as possible. This is critical in business when thinking about risk mitigation, product evolution and potential litigation pot holes. All of these require the ability to think ahead while strategically optimizing in the moment.
- Organized: This goes without saying. I think any Mother or Father will attest to the need to be organized when having children. You're not only managing your own life - you are in charge of absolutely everything for your child, and as they get older it gets more and more complex. There is no doubt that being organized is ideal for managing a business or managing others. In today's business world there is more to do than time is allowed - so organization is key.
- Focused on comfort and well-being of others: I don't think anyone can argue about the innate ability women have to comfort their children and others. This is especially important in our more diverse workplaces and in a world where putting employees first is often talked about - but hardly executed easily. Mothers are well suited for applying their innate emotional intelligence to the challenging world of people management.
- Prioritization: Children are in constant need of everything. This forces every Mother to prioritize what needs to be done by urgency. Prioritization is non-negotiable, and there is no Mother that doesn't do it. In the business world, prioritization is the difference between being pro-active, versus re-active. Usually most people are juggling so much they're constantly in re-active mode. A Mother is used to this and can take on more than the average person while being able to quickly prioritize the urgent from the nice to have.
- Managing many work streams: All Moms have to manage multiple streams of activity when managing their children - feeding, buying food, making food, doctor's visits, play dates, laundry, and managing all the other endless supplies for babies and kids that change with age. If Mother's aren't managing this themselves then they need to manage the people they've hired to help with it. They are in effect managing many different work streams and their prioritization and organization supports this important part of parenting. Any leader or CEO is essentially doing what Mothers do...managing many different departments that all have unique needs.
- Constant Learning: Kids are constantly growing and changing. What is required to optimize their growth is different at every age and requires a different set of tools. Therefore, Mothers are constantly adapting, reading, studying and learning to tap into their instinct and when to get help. This is the skill that is probably the most important when translating it into the business world. The business world is essentially just like a kid, constantly changing and growing, and the rules are shifting by the minute. A Mother has no choice but to thrive in a chaotic environment and figure out what is needed to do fast. They're fully equipped to take on the ever changing business landscape.
It's clear to me that being a Mother is not something that should be left off of a resume. In fact it should be in bold. Every Mother has a unique way of mothering that is specific to her - which is why it's important as a Mother to be conscious of your value and easily translate it into business acumen - because the skills above are badly needed right now.