My career has been that of a mum – a professional mum! I am as passionate about success, and committed to learning more about my job as any woman. When you read that title, A Professional Mum, what comes to mind? Do you see a woman in a suit trying to balance a highly paid job as well as littlies tugging at her ankles? Do you see a mum with a phone to her ear as she seals a deal and serves dinner to her family? This is the image that I think is put forward when we use the word ‘professional’ with ‘mum’ but I’d like to paint a different picture.
To me the idea of a professional mum isn’t about juggling a career with being a mum, but rather taking the skills and mindset of a professional into my role as mum, it is about making being a mum my career.
A professional is about being known for a particular field of expertise. A professional will only act with any degree of passion, integrity and vision when they are content in the field that they have chosen. I have chosen motherhood. I have seen the impact of contentment on my performance – or the lack thereof. I don’t want other things to distract me, though of course there will be other things in my life, I need to keep things in balance, and grow and change with the different seasons of life (much like a professional will change with the ebbs and flows of demands in their field).
A professional pursues knowledge, skills and expertise. Many years ago when Peter and I were working on our family budget we were discussing the need for money to be set aside for Professional Development for Peter (he is a Vet). I thought about this and asked Peter , if we consider my role as mother as my career could there be money set aside for my Professional Development as well? In those days I spent that money on books, but these days there is a broader variety of books, DVDs, online courses.
I also saw coffee dates as networking! I’m not justifying mums always in the café – we must be good stewards of our time and be diligent with our responsibilities, but there is more to coffee dates than just time out. When I was in the city for medical reasons with our #3 child, Naomi, I was stunned to see how many young professionals were ‘lounging’ in café’s on Friday afternoons – it seemed to me that no work was being done in the city at all! Apparently they were ‘networking’. I don’t know, this may well be a ‘90’s phrase, but it describes well our need to connect with others. As a professional mum, every time I share my frustration, or my problem, with another mum, I’m networking – I’m drawing on the experience and expertise of others in my field. And of course, when I share my successes and solutions I’m being a part of that community. I think one of the hardest things for mums these days is that we have lost the neighbourhood – but we can go out and find a network of like-hearted mums who we can share our journey with.
A professional has a strategy plan. They know where they want to go and they know how they are going to get there. After being parents for a few years, Peter and I sat down and had a planning weekend where we talked about our goals – things that we had spoken of before, but now we were putting them all down on paper and in one place. We talked about what we wanted our lives to look like: our family, our home, our business, our connections with the community. This gave us a framework for any other opportunity that came our way. Of course we didn’t know, and still don’t, all that will come our way – but with much discussion, we could define our hearts desire in four words: we wanted our lives, and the lives of our children to be characterised by creativity, wisdom, orderliness, and peace and in recent years our children have added (on our behalf) integrity.
This plan is broken down to yearly, monthly, weekly, daily activities. When I wake up I need to know what my plan for the day is. A professional would never just waffle through their day – they have purpose and direction for their day – each day is clearly another step towards their goal. Each day is an opportunity for me to teach, train, guide my children and for us to walk towards our goals.
A professional is proactive, not reactive. They study their ‘market’ and know the consequences of certain influences. They protect their interests by wise choices. They are ‘onto’ their game. Parents need to know their children and know the consequences of certain influences and guard against those things. This doesn’t mean we limit or box our children up and never let them see or do anything, but rather we are onto it before it becomes an issue. We teach, train, guide, so that they are prepared for the pitfalls ahead. We can look ahead and see a potential weakness in one of our children, and we address it. We can see a strength and we build on it. This requires that we spend time in study and planning. When my kids were younger (and life was very full) I would set aside a weekend a month for planning. I would consider their attitudes and their actions, in light of where we wanted them to be, and would plan how I would address those things proactively during the coming weeks. Reactive actions are far less influential so we cannot afford to wing it.
A professional never gives up. We see this in the sport arena – we have praise for those sportsmen who never give up, who push through limitations, barriers, disappointments and keep giving their game their best effort. This needs to be my attitude to life too – never give up, regardless of what struggles, difficulties or disappointments face me or my family. I am thankful that I have God’s spirit with me: teaching me, guiding me, correcting me, and strengthening me.
So there you have it, I’m a professional mum, and I hope that I have inspired you to be one too! Maybe I am just playing with words here but regardless of that, we definitely need these skills in our life as a mum.
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Over to you:
How have you approached your role of Mother? Any tips?
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