My friend Lisa is the head of a small corporation in a position valued in the 6 figures. She is also a stay at home mom. Salary.com has a new way to figure out the value of a mom’s work. Their annual survey details the wages an employer would have to pay to perform all of a mother’s duties. The total for a stay at home mom: $122,732.
According to the survey, the job titles that best match a mother’s responsibilities are Laundry Machine Operator, Janitor, Van Driver, Housekeeper, Computer Operator, Cook, Day Care Center Teacher, Facilities Manager, Psychologist—and Chief Executive Officer.
As a CEO, a mom maximizes resources, oversees day to day operations, plans for the future, sets goals, and creates a family culture and identity. The best moms are great leaders, and the lessons we learn from them are useful in any leadership setting.
Great moms (leaders) use words and actions to clearly communicate the vision and values of their family (company). As a leader helps his employees understand the mission of the corporation, a mother provides a framework to help children understand the world around them. As moms, we help our children understand what is important to us both explicitly – “In our family, we use kind words” and implicitly, by modeling appropriate behavior.
Great moms (leaders) are always innovating. Moms need creative ideas everyday. Because children are always changing and growing, what worked with our children yesterday won’t necessarily work today. As a result, we are always on our toes, considering new solutions to problems and using trial and error to test them. Until tomorrow, when we’ll need yet another solution.
Great moms (leaders) take a long term view. Looking to the future is as important in the home as it is in the workplace. Great moms realize that day to day choices with our children are creating habits and attitudes that will continue into adulthood. With that in mind, we choose to enforce boundaries even when it’s difficult, knowing that both good and bad choices can have a cumulative effect.
Great moms (leaders) know what’s important. A great mom, like a great leader, chooses her battles carefully. It is okay to let some things go. Who cares if my toddler wants to wear her pajamas to Target? At least she’s dressed. Sprinkles on her yogurt? Colorful, fun, and she’s getting her calcium.
Great moms (leaders) aren’t afraid to ask for help. Most moms I know rely on each other for direction and encouragement. We draw on the collective wisdom of the group to help us navigate tricky waters with our kids. Whether the problem is the everyday kind (potty training, temper tantrums, picky eating) or a more serious concern (health issues, trouble at school), having a mom network gives us valuable resources beyond ourselves. Successful leaders recognize their need for help and support as well.
Great moms (leaders) keep the closest ones close. Business executives and directors typically have an inner circle, people they are developing as future leaders. We share our plans, our inspiration, and our time with these partners. They know us better than anyone else. The close ties we form contribute to our overall ability to guide and direct our company.
Moms know how to do this better than anyone else. Of all the things she did, my own mother excelled at this: she kept a close connection with me by making time to spend with me daily. Even into my teens, she stopped into my bedroom each night to talk for a few minutes and kiss me goodnight. When I draw my little girls close, spending special moments with them, I am doing my most important work as a mother.
What do you see as a mother’s most important work? Come back tomorrow for more leadership lessons from moms.
This post was originally published at Mountain State University Leadertalk and is republished here with permission.