With the ability to work and obtain an income also came the question many women struggle with throughout their careers: family or work? While many women choose both, the fact is, there are times when you have to choose between a crying baby and a client call, a sick toddler and a board meeting, joining them for nap time or being productive while it’s quiet time.
Mom entrepreneurs (the community has mixed feelings about the term mompreneur) are choosing to pack both diaper bags and laptop bags every morning. And why shouldn’t they? If you can make the time commitments work, being a mom gives you valuable skills for the workplace. Here are 8 ways motherhood prepares you for entrepreneurship:
Provides Creative Business Ideas
You might already have a business when you become pregnant, or you might find the drive to start one with a little one already running around. Many mompreneurs say the inspiration for their business came to them because of unmet needs that arose after having a child. Motherhood exposes you to a new market that has previously been overlooked by male led startups. Women have gone on to start companies for baby products, organic baby foods, care and nanny websites, and many more. You never know when the next playtime will give you a million dollar business idea!
Time Management, Productivity & Organization
When time is scarce, you learn how to make the most of every minute. The more efficiently you work, the sooner you can get back to your family. Having kids may be distracting, but it’s an excellent productivity motivator when you only have two hours until naptime is over. Some freelance working mothers or loosely structured business owners also enjoy the flexibility of having their own schedule to adjust their working hours to their kids planned and unplanned needs. There’s something about having two planners, one for clients and meetings and another for weekly dinners and playdates!
Multi-Task & Prioritize
Just like you can have dinner in the oven with laundry in the wash, a face mask on while you help your kids with homework AND help your husband find his misplaced tie, you can look over job applications, respond to client emails while reaching out to old ones, pay the monthly bills AND do it all before the school day is over. Motherhood is not so different from growing a business after all, there are endless overlapping ways motherhood prepares you for entrepreneurship.
Advanced Interpersonal Skills
The big workplace word is emotional intelligence, a skill that is deepened and developed through raising tiny humans. Having high emotional intelligence can help you as a leader guide people to make the right decisions, enhance team building, and understand what employees and coworkers really mean when they say otherwise. Mothering teaches a balance between being tough and comforting and increases empathy for others in the workplace.
Patience Growing A Business Baby
Growing a business is very much like raising a child. Both are extremely dependent, needy and time consuming at first, eventually growing into a self-functioning creation. It takes patience waiting for growth, even when you want to go on vacation you might have to wait until your baby or business is old enough. It takes patience in dealing with setbacks and the additional financial strain, but no matter the hard work it requires, the satisfaction it brings is so fulfilling it is always worth it.
Always Learning, Even When In Charge
Parenthood can be a humbling experience, as it shows you how much you don’t know. As both a mom and a boss, it’s important to read educational books or listen to podcasts. Getting in touch with your strengths and weaknesses can help you be a better person and surround yourself with team members who have complementary skills to yours. Just like your baby, you are always learning and growing as an adult.
The Importance of Self-Care
Multitasking and prioritizing is super important, but working moms, entrepreneur moms and stay at home moms all commonly forget one thing: themselves. Being a mother can show you your limits and remind you to take care of yourself. As an entrepreneur, you might be able to make your own schedule and take a fitness class on your lunch break or find flexible deadlines with freelance clients. Meal prep is an invaluable planning skill for balancing a busy life, as is building a community at work and with personal networks. Always do your best, but remember to give yourself a break.
Confidence Answering Questions
Kids ask a million questions a day. After answering every question that flits through their inquisitive minds, you learn how to find the best answer and phrase it for their understanding, from easy ones like can I have ice cream for dinner to tough ones like where do babies come from. As a mother, you call the shots with confidence and that’s no different when leading a team at work. Kids can also boost your negotiation skills. All of this never-ending decision making gives mothers the confidence and strength to do this startup, freelance and entrepreneur boss-lady thing, and be home for dinner too.
There are many more ways motherhood prepares you for entrepreneurship, these are only a few. No matter how long the days are, determined women are capable of having a family and their own business.
Read more about how digital employment changed what it means to be a stay at home mother here.
Learn about how women leading start ups often receive less funding here.
Read more about International Women’s Day in the office here.