One of women’s biggest fears when they become mothers is that they will lose their own identity. Women often feel they have to prove nothing will change, rather than seeing pregnancy and birth as a learning experience or a series of opportunities. In actual fact, they’re still exactly the same person they were before having a child.
For working women, becoming a mother leads to 2 options within their careers. They either rush to return to the workplace, battling privately with how to bring their new mother persona into the equation. Or they feel that they no longer fit in or are ‘out of the loop’ after their absence, so they decide not to return.
However, the assumption should not be that once a woman falls pregnant that her career is over. It would be an absolute waste and bad business sense to lose the talent you have nurtured – it’s bad management and not great for business.
In celebration of working mothers and mothers-to-be, Lisa Barnwell, founder of Bumps and the Boardroom has highlighted 3 clear advantages that mothers have over their male and female counterparts:-
- They have the ability to multi-task like a ninja
A mother’s time becomes her most precious commodity. She is often carrying around a number of people’s schedules in her head, as well as managing the emotions and expectations of both their team and their growing family. As she’s committed to being out the door at 5pm and notices her productively rises when she is personally fulfilled, she also approves of her team having the same opportunities, resulting in better work/life balance for everyone.
- ‘Baby brain’ is a positive attribute!
The pregnancy brain is not a myth but it is not a negative change that occurs. Pregnant women show increased activity in the right side of the brain, the area related to emotional skills as they prepare to bond with their babies. This gift from Mother Nature may have been designed to help women connect more intuitively to their newborn but these skills are transferrable to business. Women are known for having a talent for creating tight-knit, loyal teams. The ability to listen, nurture the ideas of others and leading through collaboration are all 21st century leadership traits. Obstetrician Dr Amali Lokugamage discovered the positive changes that pregnancy brought to her work first hand, writing about the benefits and insights this provided to her medical practice and scientific knowledge.
- They have an inner strength that could floor Ronda Rousey
Giving birth is not for the faint hearted, the first few weeks and months are challenging beyond belief. Even the smoothest birth is testing and most women go through an untold amount of challenges to their self-esteem, beliefs and ego. A newborn doesn’t care that you secured a million dollar deal last month or led a team to success. Mothers learn to dig deep and carry on in the most trying of circumstances.
It’s not to say that new fathers don’t acquire many of these skills or that men and women who are child-free are not effective. A report showed that a father’s emotional response to his baby is as powerful as the mothers. If men stepped back from their careers and stepped into the role of primary caregiver for the same period as women, they too could return with these super-powers.
Businesses have a huge opportunity available to them. Companies with more women leaders are more profitable so the only question to ask is what’s stopping them harness this natural resource to ensure mothers are as welcome at the boardroom table as the changing table?
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