10 Professional Skills That Moms Develop Through Parenthood
Many people believe becoming a mom means putting your career on hold, and in some cases, it makes sense. After the birth of your child, you might take maternity leave (especially if you’re part of the 12 percent who get paid maternity leave), followed by a few months to several years of time to focus on raising your child.
But just because you’re out of the workforce doesn’t mean you stop developing the professional skills you need to succeed—and when you’re ready to return to your career (or build a new one), all the skills you developed as a mom are going to come in handy.
Professional Skills to Build
These are just some of the important professional skills you’ll gain and develop as you navigate the path of motherhood:
- Time management. If you’re managing appointments, daily responsibilities like meal preparation, errands, chores, and housework, you’ll need to get good at time management, and fast. The demand for this skill increases if you have multiple children in tow. Pretty soon, you’ll have a system for allocating time for each activity, and when something goes long, you’ll have a plan to make up for it. This is vital in a fast-paced environment where you’re juggling multiple responsibilities at once.
- Crisis management. The first time your toddler gets injured, whether it’s a scraped knee or something more serious, you probably panicked. But now, if something bad happens, you’re prepared to step into crisis mode and deal with it like a professional. As you might imagine, this ability is crucial for many jobs, from project management to client services. Remaining calm, and focusing on resolving the emergency is a skill that can only be taught through experience—and you have it.
- Communication. Trying to explain complex concepts to a toddler forces you to get creative and think more thoroughly about how you communicate things. You might be forced to use simpler vocabulary words or use metaphors to illustrate your points. These skills are important in many professional environments, where you’ll need to communicate your ideas clearly to win over your audience.
- Organization. As a mom, you’ll be forced to keep your life organized in multiple areas. You’ll need to pick up toys and keep the house tidy, despite your toddler’s penchant for chaos. You’ll need to keep track of appointments and meal schedules. And you’ll have to keep all your child’s things together so they’re ready to go on that road trip or visit to grandma’s house. All those organizing skills will be beneficial to you.
- Teaching. Teaching a toddler everything, from how to walk to shapes, colors, and letters, is a challenge that will prepare you for all kinds of teaching and training opportunities in your next career. You’ll need to be patient, adapt to your toddler’s unique learning style, and approach the subject matter from the perspective of a newcomer.
- Supervising. You’re also responsible for keeping an eye on your child at all times, even if you’re focusing on different primary responsibilities. You help them learn from their mistakes, but also give them some degree of autonomy so they can learn and improve on their own. You’ll be using the same skills in virtually any role that requires you to supervise others—even if you’ll be watching over adults, instead of children.
- Problem solving. Being a mom forces you to solve problems you didn’t think you’d ever face, such as what to do when your toddler flushes their favorite toy down the toilet. Learning to think on the fly, come up with short-term solutions to apply immediately, and research better long-term solutions is invaluable in practically any position.
- Multitasking. Multitasking is, generally, a bad idea productivity-wise. However, there are some situations where it’s practically necessary. You might be on the phone with the doctor while trying to quell your screaming child’s demands, or need to focus on driving without getting distracted by your child’s uncharacteristic flailing in the backseat. This is a strong ability to have in a profession that demands your attention in multiple areas at once.
- Negotiation. Your toddler is probably the most irrational negotiator you’ll ever have to deal with. You could demand a bed time of 7 pm, and they’d shoot back with a request to abolish bed time altogether. Finding compromises, and knowing how to win them over to your side, is helpful for negotiating in more adult, professional environments; the people you deal with won’t always be rational or easy to win over.
- Collaboration. For many daily activities, such as eating meals or taking a bath, you and your toddler have to work together—and your toddler isn’t always cooperative. Learning to collaborate with someone who has a radically different skillset, and quite possibly, a bad attitude, is more valuable in the professional world than you might think. Over your career, you’ll probably be forced to collaborate with some suspiciously child-like adults.
Listing on a Resume
It’s certainly possible to list these skills on a resume, but there’s an important dilemma to consider here. All these skills are going to help you excel in nearly any career you choose, yet “being a mom” doesn’t count as a job in most employers’ eyes. Your resume may be left with an extensive gap between jobs, and if pressed for more details in an interview, negotiating with your toddler probably won’t sound as impressive as negotiating a million-dollar deal.
Accordingly, it may be in your best interest to put these skills to use in an independent career path—one that doesn’t require the approval or oversight of a traditional employer. For example, through Kumon Franchise, you could learn to own and operate your own after-school learning center, be your own boss, and make money on your terms using all the skills you’ve acquired as a parent. If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunity, and returning to work through Kumon Franchise, you can get started here!