Sunday, February 24, 2013

Re-entering the Workforce: Do mothers measure up?

A friend has announced she will be moving back to her native country this summer. She plans to dedicate one year helping her kids adjust to their new environment. Once the kids settle in, she will resume her pre-nurturing days and return to work as a hotel manager. Like many mothers who make the decision to re-enter the workforce after a long absence, she is concerned.

As mothers, we assume that parenting robs us of those critical skills the new ever-changing workforce requires. You know, innovative-driven, strategic, adaptable. Scary. Those words were non-existent before we exchanged our stilettos and business suits for sweats and comfy flats. Regardless, we put on a brave front but instinctively feel vulnerable, maybe even - well - lacking? We are dealing with a much younger workforce. Our supervisors probably still qualify for a spanking, especially when you observe how super-saavy they are with that intimidating technology. Can we really measure up?

According to one Working Mother blogger, we sure can. Mothering is not limited to simply changing diapers or wiping leaky noses. Instead, it requires strategically planning how to manage a diverse babyforce, to help them build skills that will transition them through toddler-hood, teen-hood, and eventually adult-hood. This requires perception, introspection, setting goals and working diligently to reach those milestones this babyforce is desperately relying on you, the mother in sweats and hole-ridden sneakers, to help them achieve. You see, in the midst of motherhood's distractions we seem to forget that it is us, us, who are building that new generation of innovative leaders corporate America is waiting upon. Believe it or not, that's management.

Through parenting, we understand what it takes to build a foundation for future success and resilience - precisely what is needed to succeed in today's workforce. That intimidating technology that has you fretting? Within a month's worth of practice, you'll have it all down pack. But leadership requires that dedication and diligence we acquire when we wipe those running noses and change those stinky diapers. So, yes, we certainly do measure up.

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