When looking to hire new fresh talents, employers often seek individuals with a minimum amount of work experience. They argue that previous work experiences allow the youth to get a taste of the professional life and develop an important set of skills that would allow them to succeed in the future. Today, motherhood barely qualifies as an experience on the job market, and as far as I know, few if any women dare to mention being a mother on their job applications. Instead of being seen as an enriching experience that allows women to grow and develop, motherhood is perceived as an obstacle to the professional life. When dealing with a mother, employers often see themselves dealing with possible emergencies, sick children and PTA meetings, missing out on a whole other realm. The truth is motherhood is nothing less than a hub for multiple soft skills that are essential for a successful career path.
Below are 19 capital soft skills gained and nurtured throughout motherhood and critical in every work environment.
Maybe this is not the first word you think of when evoking motherhood, but it is definitely a skill women master throughout their pregnancy, labor and the first few months with their new little one. Physical but also psychological endurance are primordial to a new mum. How else can she bare carrying third her weight for months, the back pain, the heart burns, the twisted abdominal muscles, pre-labor, labor, and endless sleepless nights?
Trust me, if she were able to go through all these, then she is definitely able to shine through some demanding work days.
Patience is key to motherhood. It starts developping from the moment your baby is conceived to reach its peak the day he makes his entrance to the world. Screaming, crying, shoving, tantrums, etc. these are all sometimes unbearable conditions a mother goes through and learns to overcome with cold nerves and grace.
What is a provocative colleague in comparison with a tired, angry, crying child? She will smile her way all through that conversation and use her growing persuasive talent along to get to her goal!
Who among us has not felt even for once in their lives this deep overwhelming desire of dumping everything and just running away? As a new mum I can tell you that I’ve had a few number of those during the last couple of months. But motherhood is about devotion, it’s about sticking till the end, even if you can’t remember the last time you showered, ate a meal or dwelled in a cry-less hour. This same devotion a mother shows to her family, you can be sure she will show to her career, because a mother knows the true value of a commitment.
Like any midwife would tell you, even though breastfeeding is natural, it does not come the least bit naturally. In fact, a successful breastfeeding experience is the result of countless tries and failures, errors and pain. It takes lots of perseverance to visualize your goal and reach it when an easy alternative is always there staring you in the face: the bottle.
It is this kind of determination and perseverance that is needed in any work place.
The days of putting on your shoes at any given moment of the day and just stepping out is over from the moment your baby comes to the world. Anticipation is your new best friend if you want to have any hope of seeing the sunlight again. Be ready in advance, anticipate all your baby’s possible needs, yours, your husband’s, and why not, even the neighbors! Put all the odds by your side!
It is this spirit that will allow a woman to anticipate her clients, colleagues and even boss’s needs and come to answer them in advance.
Altruism is always appreciated in a healthy work environment. When a team becomes more like a family, it is always refreshing to see that colleagues are willing to make sacrifices for one another. A mother knows what altruism looks like since from day one somebody else’s needs were able to find their way to the top of her list.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dads, dads are the best, but as we say in most cultures, a ship can only have one captain. Motherhood teaches you that even though consulting with others is ok and important, you often have to step up and take the upper hand in choice making. At the end of the day it comes down to this, all opinions are valuable but only you know what’s best for your child.
8- Nurturing others:
A big part of being a good manager/team leader consists in nurturing others, helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses, develop their skills and fulfill their potentials. This is a skill every mother masters as she makes sure her little bundle of joy grows into the best version of himself.
9- Overcoming your fears:
We all have this little something that makes us squeak, for me it was getting vaccinated. But as you become responsible for another soul, you find yourself under the obligation of overcoming your own fears and avoiding passing them down to your children. This skill can be very helpful in jobs that include unpredictable situations such as journalism for example.
10- Defying yourself:
As if finding patience and strength within you is not challenging enough, being a mother means constantly going beyond your natural, physical and psychological limits and defying yourself to become a better person. It is this same spirit that can help an ambitious employee excel in his work.
11- Ignoring the negative vibes/ developing a positive aura:
There will always be this person who loves you and hates to see you suffer and who out of the best intentions would tell you to give up on one thing or another when you are in the lowest place you’ve ever been in your life… Give up on breastfeeding, naps, teaching your child to sleep in his crib… It’s a waste of time and energy they would say, yet you will hang in there and pull yourself out a winner… With time you will learn to definitely ignore all negative vibes and you will develop a natural filter that would only let in the positive. This attitude is a must in any competitive work area.
On the other hand, when he with the good intentions is actually your mother, father, brother or husband, you might want to make sure you stay polite as you refuse their advice. At the end of the day, parenting is hard and you don’t want to do it alone. Same applies to any job that requires team work. Pissing off your colleagues will never ensure your success. It is only by maintaining the mutual respect that each member of the team can thrive and prosper.
Becoming a mother is definitely going to make you a more curious person. What is more intriguing than figuring out what is happening in your baby’s little head and how his body is growing and developping? Reading and searching for multiple sources to find the most credible information will definitely become your second nature, a skill that is often needed in any kind of career.
When your child would not stop crying, you will not fall short on Creativity to help him soothe himself. Today, Creativity is one of the most seeked skills on the job market. Your ability to think outside the box and bring in fresh ideas is definitely a plus whatever your field of work is.
Depending on personal circumstances, empathy is not always easy… But when it comes to your children ,it becomes your first not even second nature… You become a natural detector of your child’s pain, well being, tiresome, happiness, etc. and no matter how tired, sleepy, worried (or hungry) you are, you will always be able to put your personal needs aside (despite occasional lapses, hey at the end of the day you’re only human) and take care of your little one.
There’s this very funny dilemma I once heard before getting pregnant: you’re waiting for a very important phone call, are very hungry and have ordered take away, the phone rings, the door knocks, it starts raining while you have just washed clean clothes outside and the baby starts to cry… What do you do?
17- Working despite loud distractions:
Like now, as i’m writing this article while my daughter is screaming her head off just because she’s that kind of a baby who needs to cry herself to sleep…
18- Observing, analyzing and setting an action plan:
Only the mother of a sleep deprived child knows the importance of setting an action plan and sticking to it. To do so, you need to observe baby’s body language thoroughly to identify his hunger and sleep cues, note down his day to day log until you are able to come up with a custom made schedule that fits his needs and allows him to thrive. Put in few words like this it might sound like a piece of pie, but coping with the screams and the cries of a tired baby is anything but easy. Observation, analysis and action plans will help any employee progress positively and surely in their work place.
Now that you have worked so hard to put together your amazing action plan, it’s time to put it aside! Or more accurately push it backwards. An efficient action plan works like a photo background, it is essential and puts all the pieces together, but it only serves to put the main and important parts in focus, and that is your baby’s wellbeing… This a very useful skill in any workplace, as work conditions constantly undergo changes and surprises never seize to emerge…
So next time you’re writing that CV of yours or you’re filling in a job application, remember all those skills you have been mastering as a mother and don’t be embarrassed to add it, highlight it and underline it: latest work experience –> mother of a happy well-developing child!