7 Ways Mothering Cultivates your Career Skillset

Consider that the results of a 2015 study showed that more than two-thirds of employers believe raising kids can make people better employees.  With more working moms than ever before, and many women striving to get back into the workforce after time spent raising children, this is an especially encouraging statistic.

The challenges full-time working mothers face are frequently and deservedly discussed, but another large obstacle is for parents who are getting back into the workforce after a “break,” when their full-time job was comprised of childrearing.  It’s important to see the parenting skillset as a relevant acquisition that can propel a working mom’s career, and help the stay-at-home mom jump back into the working world.  Becoming a parent is a life-changing event, and it empowers us to develop and refine skills we didn’t even realize we had.  

So what valuable career attributes come out of the parenthood experience?  Which are important to include on a resume?

1.  Superior time management skills

Having children inherently causes you to be more strategic with limited time because babies are happier on a schedule.  Moms get used to maximizing naptime, and procrastination is something new moms quickly outgrow.  Quick, concerted bursts of productivity support more efficient output, and parents recognize that time is a precious commodity, so they become better at plotting out concentrated chunks of time to get their work done. 

2. Increased ingenuity

Having a baby is identity changing; it’s a real confidence booster to give birth to a whole new human, and motherhood is entrepreneurial by nature.  You have to get crafty as a parent, and it’s almost a reflex to look around and see how you can do something better, solve a problem, or make a daily task more convenient.  Mothers have patented and improved upon many inventions, launching a whole new level of ease in modern life.  

However, research has shown that when making self-assessments of work-related performance, women use a more complicated platform of criteria than their male counterparts.  This could explain why studies tend to indicate that men are more confident in their jobs.  The take-away?  Women need to take more credit and recognize their contributions. 

3. Multitasking master

Moms need to be able to multitask, stay organized, and attend to the demands of many people at once.  These are crucial skills for employees in almost any line of work.  Performing multiple tasks like supervising your children, paying bills, and organizing and maintaining your household are all mom skills that help develop the ability to prioritize and juggle multiple responsibilities.  In a recent study, 59% of employers state that moms excel at this invaluable skill.

4. Managerial skills put to work

When you’re negotiating with your three-year-old over using the potty, it may not feel like you’re earning a graduate degree.  But “early parenting is the perfect boot camp for learning how to manage employees,” says Shari Storm, author of Motherhood Is the New MBA.  Moms learn fast to effectively allocate tasks, and permanently be on their feet with strong decision-making skills. 

5. Strength in Sympathy

We tend to think of sympathy as a negative in our culture, but psychologically speaking, it’s the position of deeply identifying with someone else’s experience while maintaining a role of support.  Having children teaches you the important art of sympathy, a skill that’s priceless in the workplace.  As mothers, we have plenty of practice helping our children navigate their feelings, and while our vocabulary for the workplace is obviously more sophisticated, the same principles apply.  Actively listening and trying to anticipate employee needs helps them feel supported and effective.  Being a good boss doesn’t mean getting lost in others’ emotions, it just means making space for their experience so they can process and move on.  

6. Team motivation 

As a parent, you excel in the role of personal motivator to your child’s aspirations.  Encouraging their progress and using feedback and positive reinforcement are great tools not just at home, but also with your co-workers.  Be careful to never sound condescending to a colleague, but remember that enthusiasm can maximize their abilities.

7. Last but not least – patience

About 67% of 2,138 employers in a recent CareerBuilder poll named “patience” as the number one trait that makes parents attractive as job candidates.  Every mother needs to continually develop patience in teaching and training her children, and once you’ve worked on that skill at home, it’s a whole lot easier in the workplace.  Being a parent can also help you learn not to take it too personally when things go awry, which is an invaluable career quality.  Parenting demands flexibility, and the ability to “roll with it” translates quite well to the office.

The good news is that the obstacles and learning you face in becoming a parent evolve into irreplaceable skills that can be put to use, and more importantly recognized, in your career.  These abilities can not only help you progress, but also better support those around you, in efficiently getting the job done each day.  If you are currently working hard to get back into the workforce, keep notes of the skills you’ve developed and polished as a parent, and be sure to include them on your resume.  Many employers will see parenting as an asset if you do.

Sources:

 1 . http://fortune.com/2015/05/06/parenting-professional-skills/

2.  http://www.hrzone.com/lead/culture/how-the-role-of-women-has-changed-in-the-workplace-over-the-decades-and-are-we-in-a

 3. http://www.ehow.com/way_5955704_turning-mom-skills-job-skills.html

 4. http://www.redbookmag.com/life/mom-kids/advice/g328/mom-skills-at-work/

 5. http://fortune.com/2015/05/06/parenting-professional-skills/