So I was asked recently if I had any supervisory management experience. I laughed. Uproariously. In my head. Obviously. I’m much more professional than that. But seriously? I’m raising three teenagers. I have supervisory experience coming out my ears. Are you kidding me? I could run peace talks in the Middle East. I could negotiate with the craftiest and sneakiest terrorists. I could referee the entire Irish rugby team. Have I supervisory skills? Don’t make me laugh. However, the question did make me think. What other skills have I developed and fine-tuned over the past few years of motherhood that are transferrable to the workplace but are uncertified and unrecognised but invaluable nonetheless?
Well one of the other most valuable skills that are definitely transferrable are Time Management Skills. As a mother you know better than anyone the value of time. We work to a schedule and plan ahead. We have to when the kids are little otherwise we would never get outside the door and the whole day will just collapse into an unholy heap. The kids won’t get fed, the laundry won’t be done and no one will be on time for school or crèche. So we are efficient at time management and as we mentally plan our day and organise time slots in our head we are also practising the art of prioritisation. We are adeptly sorting out the must do tasks from the not so vitally important ones and recognising where flexibility can be applied.
That brings us firmly to planning and organisational skills. With a whole family to feed and clothe, we need to possess an extraordinary level of planning expertise. We need to remember who eats what, who has friends coming over, who needs extra lunch and then double it all as the teenagers are always hungry. And if that weren’t difficult enough we are also trying to keep an eye on special offers and bargains as we need to remember the budget too.
Which brings me nicely onto financial planning. Whether there is one salary coming in or two, a fair amount of jiggery pokery and financial creativity is required to make it stretch much further than seems humanly possible while also remembering to teach our little ones all about the value of money.
At this stage of our lives we have also become proficient in the area of crisis management. We have learnt from bitter experience to be cool, calm and collected in a crisis. Whether it’s a wound to be patched, tears to be dried, broken toys to be mended, misplaced items to be located or specialist glaziers to be sourced, we are resourceful, practical, quick-witted and more than capable.
In order to excel at crisis management however, excellent communication skills are required. As parents, we need to be able to face the difficult conversations both with our children and with teachers, medical practitioners, and possibly other parents where required. We are adept at communicating in the language of our particular audience at any given time, no matter their age, professional standing or abilities. Our conversations have to effective as well as being empathetic, sympathetic and influential.
So you see, all you employers out there, never underestimate a woman who has children. She will be a whizz at multi-tasking, a genius at negotiation, a quick thinker and an adept project manager. She will have event management skills and people management skills, while being a creative problem solver, and a reliable and communicative planner with finely tuned mentoring experience. She is a counsellor and a teacher; an adviser and a supervisor and will work harder than most to get the job done. So underestimate us at your peril..