Consider the following scenario: a working mother returns from maternity leave determined to ‘prove’ she can continue to work at the exact same pace she used to before motherhood. 12 hour days on broken sleep while expressing in the bathroom in between meetings? She can do it all.
Until she can’t.
Too many working mothers burn out and bow out of the workplace all together.
There is a better way. Before throwing in the towel, women need to realise ‘motherhood’ is no longer a dirty word in the workplace. There is an array of flexibility options worth discussing with employers which could ease the transition into motherhood. What’s more, women should bear in mind motherhood hones existing skills such as empathy and the ability to multi-task and work under pressure. These skills are known as ‘soft skills’ and are extremely beneficial in the workplace.
What exactly are soft skills?
Soft skills are a grouping of interpersonal skills which relates to how an employee works. These skills can help contribute towards a harmonious and productive workplace environment. Soft skills include but are not limited to communication skills, conflict resolution, the ability to multi-task, compassion and the ability to work under pressure. As we enter a largely digital era, employers and employees alike are placing more value on meaningful connection which means soft skills are fast becoming some of the most sought after skills in the business world.
Motherhood softened me – and I like it
Women may find their soft skills enhanced after becoming a mother. Traditionally when competing in male –dominated environments, they may feel the need to suppress these inherent personality traits. However, it’s time to realise qualities like empathy, inclusion and compassion are no longer considered weaknesses. These soft skills, and so many others, add value in the workplace and should be embraced as strengths. An employee’s perspective as a woman and a mother on a pitch or in a meeting will bring something new to the table and shouldn’t be suppressed.
Do soft skills belong on my CV?
More and more women are highlighting their soft skills on their CV’s and with the demand for soft skills on the rise, it’s an advisable thing to do. They should be showcased through examples instead of as a list which is difficult to quantify. For example, instead of ‘multi-tasking’ as a line item, better for the candidate to explain how they were a part of multiple projects and what their role was in each.
From compassion to communication, women already possess most of the soft skills necessary to be good leaders. And motherhood only enhances these skills. It’s time for mothers to embrace their new stage of life and the skills that come with it, to be unashamedly a mother in the workplace and enjoy the edge that comes with it.
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