NB. I use “motherhood” as statistically, more mothers stay at home than fathers
Is motherhood a job? Of course it is! It is also a profession. One that has neither official training nor a qualification at the end yet is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions. So why do we not parade this on our CVs?
As you enter your new life as or expectant or new parents, one of you, and statistics show this is most likely the mother, may take a “career break”, to look after the little one. So why not put this on your CV as something to be proud of.
Here in Switzerland, the office for statistics declares that the employment rate is significantly influenced by gender and family situation and that women without children are more often employed than mothers, especially those with younger children. For men, this makes no difference. The family career break should not influence an employer or hinder their chances of a good job if a new mother decides to take a career break to care for her newborn.
There has been a long push to recognise motherhood as a legitimate job that trains workers for a multitude of skills that often cannot be learned from training courses or university. These are skills that are valuable to employers and should not be overlooked.
Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis demonstrates that mothers are more efficient, better mentors and when in leadership roles, are more profitable.
So let’s look at the skills motherhood provides that you can be proud to put on your CV:
Meal planning, rotas for playgroups for your toddler, appointments for your new baby, shopping for dinner, feeding your baby on demand, plus ensuring your toddler has lunch (and you do too) plus, plus, plus…… this takes some organising. The playdates, clubs and social life of your child/children increases as they get older and therefore so do your organising skills. Whether this is your first baby or your fifth….., you will certainly need to be more organised than before the new arrival bounced into your life.
2. Project management
Your timeline is your baby - This is a huge project and one that lasts many years, with challenges and great fun along the way, but you are so well equipped, as a mother, you can manage this project hands down.
You can plan your day or your week but then hey-ho, your baby has a different idea and you need to change direction. Maybe your little one is poorly, she looks for a feed as you are going out of the door or a friend needs to change a playdate, or you need to visit the dentist….. Whatever it is, you need to manage the project to enable you to produce a wonderful final product.
3. Negotiation skills
You are in a shop and your 2 year old decides she wants to stay, but you need to go as the car park time is nearly up, or the bus is due…… She lies on the floor and screams, kicking out at you and you are totally embarrassed. What do you do? You negotiate……. You acknowledge her screams and you talk to her calmly, if this does not work, you can try a trick I used with my daughter……. I disappeared behind some clothes and watched her, as soon as she realised she could not see me the screaming instantly stopped and she looked around. I then jumped out and pretended I was playing hide and seek - the situation was forgotten, and after a cuddle, we walked out of the store. I know……It sounds easy but it is certainly not!! However, these innovative negotiation skills are valuable and I bet there are not many people who can negotiate with a toddler.
4. Versatile with spontaneity
Your new life as a parent is not going to be predictable, you need to be prepared and be versatile, ready to adapt to situations as they arise. This may require spontaneous thinking to ensure the situation remains calm, or adapting ready-made plans to accommodate your little ones feeding or sleeping requirements. Whatever the reason, you need to be adaptable, open, and relaxed as your parenting skills grow.
5. Tact and diplomacy
As you learn to be new parents, you will receive all sorts of advice from all sorts of people. There may be some ‘telling you what to do, some who ‘know it all, some who inadvertently ‘criticise’ and some who are just passing on their own experiences in the hope that it might help you. Diplomacy is needed to navigate this ‘advice’ and not offend the well-meaning family and friends. Try anything out…. If it works, great, if not throw it away and move on.
As your little one gets older, especially entering the teenage years, tact and diplomacy are essential skills for building a good relationship.
This is a key skill for all mothers and good managers. The ability to ask someone to do something for you. It is a skill that will make a huge difference in the first few weeks and months and one that can easily be transferred to the job market as it is a key management skill. However, it does not come easily to many of us (especially women). New parenthood is an ideal time to embrace this skill and to ask friends, family, and even your partner to take over some tasks, freeing you up to focus on the more important task of your new baby. This is delegation.
7. Multi-tasking - Efficiency
Preparing dinner, hanging the washing out, singing to your baby, letting the dog out, and anything else you can manage all at the same time. That is a real balancing act and another great skill that mothers develop and can be good for future employment opportunities. Women especially are good at this and with a new baby, you learn to hone in on this skill and perfect it. It means you become more efficient and this is an asset to the job market.
Motherhood is like a course in business leadership that forces you to learn key management skills, without a handbook.
So, when you come to write your CV embrace these fabulous skills in the section “Family Management” or “Household Management – Prince Household” (your name here), or “Motherhood” whatever you decide, embrace the skills you have developed and be proud of what you have achieved. It’s about time “stay at home mothers” got the recognition for the years spent as managers of the wonderful new life that they brought into this world.
Good luck to you all – you’ve got this.
Further reading if you so desire…….
Does Motherhood belong on a CV_BBC
Parenthood and Productivity - Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis
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