Spending any amount of quality time with my wife, parents, aunts, sisters, cousins and friends, all of whom understand motherhood far better than I ever will, is a “loving” reminder why motherhood is the most important role in society… period. And being a “working-mom” is unquestionably the most challenging leadership role in the world.
Based on my firsthand experience, working-moms have super-human powers! They nurture their children (sometimes those of others too), address essential needs (i.e. safety, well-being, shelter, food, etc.), manage crazy amounts of activity, mitigate conflicts, fiercely advocate for their kids/all family members and financially contribute to their household.
According to a US Department of Labor blog published in March of 2017, working moms are the norm among all mothers. “Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time. Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today, compared with 11 percent in 1960.”
Curious about the impact of working mothers on their children? A study, published in Harvard Business School (Learning From Mum: Cross-National Evidence Linking Maternal Employment and Adult Children’s Outcomes), correlated working mothers and their adult daughters’ earning potential. This study found that daughters that have a working mom are more likely to earn more and hold supervisory roles at their place of business. Sons of working moms are more likely to spend more time per week caring for family members.
I’ve been blessed to have several working-moms in my life, am incredibly fortunate to have an awesome one as my wife, and had the privilege of being employed by working-moms at all key stages of my career. Each is unique, far from perfect, aware of their limitations, yet all are stronger leaders, role models in every sense of the word than any man alive or dead.
My mother taught us that it does no good to fret about those things that are beyond your control. Growing-up during the Great Depression and WWII, my mother understood what it meant to live frugally, at-times struggling for the basics. She bucked-the-trend and instead of staying home like most other mothers, she went to college, got an advanced degree, became a teacher, raised children and enabled Dad to maintain his intense work-schedule.
My wife, the love of my life, is an extraordinary leader, mother to our children, who attended university while working, saw us through multiple relos and many life-events. Even while I traveled extensively for work, she studied and secured new credentials in a new industry. Today, she runs a successful business, is a respected authority in her field, is president of her industry’s trade association, and is an amazing role model to our children.
Throughout my career, I’ve been employed by several working-moms. They were pioneers, holding roles traditionally occupied by men, demonstrated exemplary leadership, and deftly balanced work and family life. One had to go so far as to have a male colleague “author” their work due to her male-dominated industry’s discriminatory views, which would have dismissed her work due to gender. Eventually, her expertise was recognized and she became the CEO of one of the largest privately held companies in the world.
Over the years, I’ve observed an increasing number of men have taken on the role of “mom”. For some it’s been a conscious choice, while others have found themselves forced into the role. Aside from the obvious biological realities, it’s apparent that certain characteristics of “motherhood” can be learned, mastered and become second nature.
Unquestionably, I owe my success to the amazing Moms in my life. Working-moms proved that leadership is not the exclusive territory of men. Leadership skills can be learned and honed through practice. The many life-lessons I learned from working-moms were the result of both powerful, direct actions as well as the thoughtful ways they asked questions. They encouraged me to persevere, to grow through self-discovery, and helped me learn that problems can often be solved best through collaboration.
If you aren’t buying what I’m saying, consider the work and writings of Working Mother Magazine, where you can annually find their list of “50 Most Powerful Moms”. This list will dazzle you, in terms of the accomplishments of these incredible mothers. 50 Most Powerful Moms
The next link takes you to an edition of Working Mother that highlights a lengthy list of celebrities whose working moms helped shape their success. Celebrities with Working Mothers
Any adult who’s been raised by a working mom will have their own unique “take-aways”. Here’s what I consider to be the most important lessons of my exposure to working moms: (1) with the right attitude, open-mindedness, and sheer grit, anything’s possible, and (2) highly effective leaders can achieve great results while showing “love” for those around them, and (3) anyone can become a better version of themselves by accepting coaching. Perhaps these are one of the reasons why mothers make excellent entrepreneurs.
About the Author:
Phil Harvey, founder of Prosperity Services, is an accomplished franchise professional, entrepreneur and trusted franchise advisor. He consults with first-time, as well as serial entrepreneurs. In addition to helping them find, evaluate and select the right franchise, Phil maximizes their prospects for success. To learn more about Prosperity Services or Phil, visit his LinkedIn profile or www.prosperitysvcs.com.