Mothers go through one of the biggest life-changing events in their lives.
With this new role, mums undergo a plethora of lessons too, and find themselves slightly different from before.
Yet, many employers tend to view mums as a liability because of… well, family commitments. Some feel that hiring women is a mistake as mothers end up taking leaves, MCs or ring in to say they will come in later, or request to leave earlier… because of their children.
But hey, let’s not forget that without our families, there would not be “us”. And without “us”, the labour force would be lacking in resources.
And while we are away tending to our kids, it’s basic responsibility of being a parent, yes?
So, if you’re an employer who stereotypes mothers, this might come in handy for you to revisit that thought.
And no, I’m not being biased, and neither is this directed at any of my past and present employers.
If you’re a mum, please don’t belittle the fact that you’re growing and learning everyday as a parent as well as an individual.
You’re greater than you think – why else would the Chinese song be <<世上只有妈妈好>> Mum is the Best in the World？:P
So, here’s why we think “being a mother” should go on our resumes!
Women are known to be great multi-taskers, but becoming a mother takes those skills up a notch. Imagine: toddler throwing a tantrum, baby wants to be carried, the pot is bubbling and the door bell’s ringing. A mum would zip through those 3 “obstacle courses” and yet find time to breathe in between, and give herself a mental pat on the back. Don’t forget, babywearing a cranky baby, bounce up and down, and have lunch all at the same instance while replying WhatsApp messages. #trueexperienceBreastfeeding working mums, hands up if you’ve pumped while eating your lunch, reply texts or emails or engaged in a phone call at the same time. Without using a Freemie or hands-free pump bra – yup!
- Patience and dedication
Women are programmed to be more patient with kids. Dealing with meltdowns, tackling a hungry, howling baby, explaining to the kid for the nth time why he can’t dip his fingers to touch the water in the toilet bowl… those patience can wear thin but it also builds up over time.The same skill can be used when explaining things to bosses who sometimes want their way only, and shut themselves out from listening to others. Ahem. #justsaying
- Organizational skills
Akin to an operations manager, mama helps to ensure an efficient flow of activities and routines, striving to make the day-to-day more pleasant. If there are hiccups, troubleshooting jumps in and mum reins in on the changes to keep things smooth. Child has suddenly taken ill for the day? Mum starts doing mental planning to decide on the activities for the day including who or when to bring child to the doctor, what to cook for child’s meals, how to keep child entertained if he/she is not sleeping, when to take medication, how to make child feel better with home remedies etc.Trust the mum to be bring efficiency to her tasks and get things done on time at work. Coupled that with the need for her to head home for her “second shift”, you can count on her for being swift and on point.
Being meticulous, mum knows what her child has started to reject vegetables and embarks on an Action Plan to win the little one’s heart, remembers that her child’s friend’s party is this weekend and promptly dresses him/her up if there’s a theme, takes on the role of Project Manager for her child’s birthday party and take cares of even the slightest details such as real kid-appropriate snacks i.e. no chocolates or regular sweets but healthier child-friendly options.
Dive in on bundle deals for diapers or formula? BFFs with the fishmonger so he saves you your fave cuts? You’re on alert when Watsons runs the $2 offer for Kodomo Wet Wipes at Buy 10 get 1 free!Shopping online might get you more bang for your buck – and you know exactly which online store to shop at and get to earn shopping credits so you save plus earn moolah for your next purchase! Stretching that dollar is akin to efficient budget management – every boss loves this: maximum results with minumum resources!
- Works well with limited resources
Yup, ditto the above!
- Time management skills
Heading out with kids in tow takes a fair bit of strategizing. Got a lunch appointment? Start planning backwards on the time needed to feed/pump, bathe for baby, take your own shower, decide if you need to cook your toddler’s meal and if so, come up with the fastest possible recipe (thinking on your toes!), get everyone dressed and outsource to others by serving up succinct instructions (e.g. daddy, helper etc) on certain tasks that can run concurrently (e.g. help to pack the diaper bag, remind them to put in X number of diapers for the baby and the toddler, clean up the surprise poop in diaper, calm a screaming child, get them to help dress the kids with clothes that you’ve already pre-picked out etc). And the family gets out of the house promptly – or almost. Well, we try!At work, this relates to organization skills and leaving work on time – refer to above.
Playing with young chidren requires some creativity. Think hands and light = shadows, creating a garden out of toilet rolls and paper plates (resourcefulness!) without having to buy expensive toys, using the cap of an unused bottle for a fun painting session, play pretend with your tot by “baking a cake” with LEGO…. the list goes on…The same goes for an employee who needs to come up with interesting ways for campaigns or brainstorming – work those juices, mama!
- Works well in a team and takes on leadership roles seamlessly
This links back to time management skills, where working with existing resources and coping with mayhem is all in a day’s work. As mum, we learn to take the lead with how we want our children to be cared for, and we set the example by walking the talk.With help, we work as best as we can with them (whether or not they are really of help, or actually creating more headaches) and we try our best with damage control too by making the best of situations (think: burnt food because someone didn’t follow instructions). Need a problem solver? Yup, there she is.
Related to the previous point of switching between an efficient leader and team player. Mums often rely on themselves to get things done right – or the way they want it. Because puking blood is not what we hope to do.
- Interpersonal skills
If you’ve a toddler, you’d know that speaking with the young one requires a different set of skills altogether. Children are the best imitators, so screaming in the home leads our children to think that it’s entirely normal to do so, and they pick that up instantly.While coaxing a child to tell her that she cannot eat chocolate or biscuits because she’s coughing, it takes plenty of patience, cajoling and loads of interpersonal skills. From mama to bubba. The same skills apply when speaking to some bosses or co-workers too – haha!
- Analytical skills + Quick thinker
We’re no mind readers but situations force it out of us. Why the meltdown when we refused to buy a toy? Why does the older child ask to be carried all the time after we have a new baby? How can we make the kids have their hair washed tonight after a sweaty day out?The Psychologist Mama steps in instinctively and mutters some “magic words”and the little ones are good as gold. No sweat, no screaming, no tears. Peace.It takes some skills to keep calm at work too, especially when crisis arise or when dealing with certain colleagues. Well, fingers crossed!
- Attentive and alert
A mother’s intuition is pretty sharp. Well, sometimes we brush it off as paranoia. But when our baby next door cries, you can be sure mama heard it and is already off her feet towards that door. We get to our toes when things are out of whack – because we’ve been programmed like that. Attentiveness and alertness have been trained up!
While this was put together from a mum’s point of view, I’m very sure many dads can relate to it too!
With our new “job” as as mother, we find ourselves learning more about ourselves and discovering different facets of us too. As we grow and nurture different skills, that makes us more employable, right?
Whether we are Full-time Working Mums (FTWMs), Work-at-home Mums (WAHMs), Part-time working Mums (PTWMs) or Stay-at-home Mums (SAHMs) or mumpreneurs, mum’s guilt comes in every possible stream. So let’s do our best whenever we can – with the right support, it’s possible!
Mummies, have you been sidelined at work because of family commitments? Or, have you left a well-heeled job to care for the kids full time? Do share your stories with us!