Actually, every business should be celebrating Mother’s Day more than us. Not in the sense of cashing in on Mother’s Day celebrations or guilt. But rather, how the mommy brain brings advantageous skills to the workplace.
Usually, the mommy brain is viewed as this state of upheaval due primarily to hormonal changes pre and post pregnancy affecting memory and emotions, as well as, sleep deprivation.
The primary issues that have plagued businesses around motherhood have been the effects of maternity leave, the loss of talented women choosing to interrupt their career path, and how to create flexible family-oriented work schedules.
However, what is often unrecognized are the brain skills that are gained from being a mother.
Mommy Brains Are Smarter
According to Katherine Ellison, author of the Mommy Brain, pregnancy, early motherhood and the experiences of raising children make women smarter.
Ellison attributes five significant brain skills to the mommy brain:
- Perception: A mother’s sensory-rich life with her newborn actually remaps part of her brain—improving her ability to interpret new information.
- Efficiency: Pregnancy and early motherhood enrich the brain, improving memory and setting a mother up for a lifetime of multitasking.
- Resilience: Oxytocin, a powerful hormone abundant in mothers, so effectively combats stress, clearing the way for improved learning, that scientists are studying its, potential as an antidepressant and even as a therapy for Alzheimer’s.
- Motivation: The fierce biological urge to defend their children, bolstered by mind-altering hormones, helps mothers become more creative and competitive.
- Emotional Intelligence: Mothers get basic training in this important kind of smarts as they tone their brain’s “empathy muscles” by instinctively imitating their babies’ facial expressions.
But, where’s the greater mommy brain business advantage?
According to Perry Yeatman, CEO of Perry Yeatman Global Partners LLC and author of Get Ahead by Going Abroad, the business advantage is already apparent in current CEO’s who are mothers.
Some prominent CEO mothers are Mary Barra at General Motors, Indra Nooyi at Pepsi, Ellen Kullman at DuPont, Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard and Irene Rosenfeld Mondelez from Kraft Foods.
8 CEO Mommy Brain Skills
Yeatman boils it down to 8 CEO mommy brain skills which all women can apply to their business endeavors.
Everything is a negotiation
- You get your daughter to wear a dress for church on Easter and she gets to wear her favorite boots.
- The advantage is being able to negotiate with anyone about anything.
You don’t have to know all the answers – questions are powerful
- Your child asks endless questions.
- The advantage is “You’d be amazed how often you can uncover powerful insights and potential issues just by asking intelligent questions.”
Different isn’t bad – it’s better
- Each child is a different kind of challenge.
- The advantage is working from a different perspective creates “… new ideas, better solutions and better results.”
Coaching, nurturing and role-modeling get you further than lecturing
- A child often does the opposite of what you tell them. Finding different ways to teach and communicate the skills they need is important.
- The advantage is being able to do the same for those that support your business success.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
- It’s natural to anticipate what can go wrong with all the things a child gets into. With that comes the realization that you can’t control everything.
- The advantage is not to micromanage but focus on the outcome and “… look at what they achieve much more than how they achieve it.”
IQ without EQ isn’t enough
- A mother’s empathic understanding begins before her child can speak.
- The advantage is connecting with the people you work with to “ …build [a] better understanding but also trust and team spirit.
- Having a child is about investing in a long term relationship.
- The advantage is knowing that investing in working relationships are “…not optional but critical.”
It’s not just about you
- Mothers very quickly realize that having a child is a “transformational experience.” Things that were of personal and paramount importance take a backseat to the new bundle in the backseat.
- The advantage is knowing that a business is not about you, it’s about the people you serve.
This is Little Miss Wonderful and her advice for staying productive. She teaches the business importance of a time for sleep, a time for play and a time to eat. These are lessons that cannot be ignored. She will insist on getting on your lap while at the computer as a reminder it’s nap time. She will use her paw to swipe anything off a surface until you walk away from the desk and clear your brain with some play. She will insist it’s time to stop working and eat by staring at you until you share a meal with her.
Whether you are a mom, a big sister, an aunt, teacher, caregiver or pet mom your brain has been affected by those you take care of.
What have they taught you that makes your business better?
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