Motherhood has been one of the most amazing feelings for me individually (and yes, I am stating upfront here, that I speak only for myself, and I am not passing judgement here as I believe each one has the right to their lives and choices). Before I became a mother, I did not know I could feel the seesaw of emotions I do now. In fact, the lessons I learnt as a mother have held me in great stead as a professional. Empathy, resilience, listening, conflict resolution, negotiations, time management, multitasking, forward planning, always having a Plan B, the discipline of routine, and last but not the least, seeing through people’s bulls**t—each one equally important in the corporate world.
Motherhood has definitely shaped me into the professional I am today. Life with kids is nothing short of being on a roller coaster. Mothers practically put out a fire a minute at home. If you think people in the corporate world are tough negotiators, put some kids in the mix, think innocent wide eyes—it takes every iota of discipline to be able to say ‘no’. Any scenario can go south in seconds, escalating into a war zone which you then need to handle using everything in your armour to arrive at a win-win for all the parties involved. And when it’s teenagers in the ring…the challenges multiply many times over, for they are typically grappling with hormonal changes, body issues, and more, and are at constant loggerheads with parents. You learn to be a parent, guide, mentor, friend—all rolled into one.
Some of the skills I feel motherhood has honed in me are:
Being a mother teaches one to differentiate between mere issues, potential chaos, and crises-in-the-making. You learn to handle each situation differently. Moms visualise ahead and mitigate issues before they blow up into full-blown crises. Or, if it’s already a crisis, they take stock and go about doing what needs to be done.
Conflict resolution and negotiation Mothers are known to be able to get work done by hook or by crook, no matter what roadblocks they may face on the way. They are also adept at resolving conflicts, having constantly dealt with feuding kids at home. They are also the go-to-persons for warring siblings and need to play the trusted impartial party who is fair in passing the final verdict that will restore peace in the home-dom.
Multitasking and time management
This one’s a no-brainer. The best of B-schools cannot compete here. Multi-tasking and time management skills are wired into the motherhood DNA. Besides keeping track of food, school schedules, extra-curricular activities, play dates, health check-ups, sleep time, screen time—a mom has her own deadline and to-do list she keeps, and keeps ticking it off mentally while going about her day.
Heightened empathy, emotional resilience
Navigating their days as mothers inculcates in women an innate strength and the ability to stay grounded and remain calm even under pressure. When facing uncertainties, working moms have an added advantage as they effortlessly realign strategies and chart the next course of action for business growth. Due to their heightened sense of empathy and emotional resilience, they adopt a leadership style that is mindful, and one that focuses on the overall well-being of the workforce.
Mothers quickly learn that if they are not disciplined, their lives would be in a constant state of disarray—something they also try to imbibe in their kids. In the corporate world, discipline is needed to ensure everything works like a well-oiled machine—SOPs, deadlines, planning, budgets and P&L, ethics, moral values, equality, and more.
The best mentors & confidantes
Being inherent nurturers, as line managers, mothers tend to be protective of their flocks while spurring them to grow. They inspire trust and confidence, inculcate a positive attitude, all the while giving them space to blossom on their own. They also course-correct when needed, without being condescending. They inspire trust that makes them privy to cornerroom conversations but know how to contain themselves, never giving in to the urge to gossip about it in a play for power hierarchy.
Last but not the least is that motherhood trains you to think on your feet and work long hours without buckling under pressure—a lifesaver given the pressures of the fast-paced corporate world.
Unfortunately, working moms have had to work harder to grapple with years of perception and prejudice, but today they are making a play for the big game. They are everywhere, breaking glass ceilings and creating their own worth. They are also ensuring a balance between their personal and professional lives as they work towards achieving their dreams without sacrificing the joys of motherhood. These women are effective problem solvers, critical thinkers, strategic advisors, and ninja-level multitaskers.
In my opinion, motherhood is probably the only role in the world which needs you to be working all seven days a week, with no days off—and all women who do this uncomplainingly, with a smile on their face, deserve a huge round of applause this Mother’s Day, don’t you think so?
The writer is an Assistant Vice President at Usha International
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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