With Mother’s Day on Sunday, and the news of another royal birth, I have been reflecting on the essential skills of motherhood and how they have helped shape me, and the many mothers I know and coach, to be the woman they are today.
When I became a mother 26 years ago, nothing could have prepared me for motherhood, but I always knew that the career choice I had made in nursing was going to be helpful. What I didn’t realise, however, was how many other skills I would gain along the way. This made me think, wouldn’t it be helpful if some of these skills gave mothers Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for tertiary qualifications or, at a minimum, an honorary degree in Motherhood.
With the recent news of Prince Harry and Meghan’s new baby boy, Prince Archie, I am also very aware the title of ‘Mother’ is awarded at conception, but the journey takes years to be qualified in. Therefore, to do my bit for the Royal family, Mother’s to-be and new Mothers, here is a look into what’s ahead of your honorary degree in Motherhood.
To start with, let’s take a look at nursing. With my education, I easily slipped in to managing children with the D’s and V’s, high fevers, broken arms etc, with a level of calmness, knowledge and expertise. But I know many mothers who have handled those and many other health situations and even emergencies with their children, who have not studied the health sciences. They have handled these situations based on maybe having attended first-aid training along with a knowledge of their child and a deep understanding of what is going on for them…mother’s intuition. And I really admire those mothers who have ‘nursed’ their children through an enduring health concern or a life-limiting illness. There is a lot of ‘on the job learning and/or training’ that goes into understanding what these conditions require for their child including diet and medication. This knowledge is probably something most mothers didn’t have prior to becoming a mother, so I do think that it is amazing how women just do this and take on a ‘nurse’ role.
Let’s look at some of the subjects covered in an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Strategic management; Human resource management and Finance reporting and analysis just to name a few.Well motherhood expands a women’s knowledge and skill set in these areas too. Motherhood is all about strategic management and human resource management. Strategic management is defined as the continuous planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all that is necessary for an organisation to meet its goals and objectives. Human Resource Management (HRM) is the term used to describe formal systems devised for the management of people within an organisation. The family unit is an organisation which requires ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment so it functions well. A mother’s week involves planning menus, shopping, cleaning, washing along with getting children to childcare/kindy/school/music lessons/sport training and a myriad of other commitments. These tasks involve a huge amount of planning and time management to pull off. On top of that when you add in the ‘people’ factor then things step up a level.
Children require a lot of emotional/psychological support all through their years as you help them to grow into young adults to go out into the world. I found with my children that ‘one on one’ time allowed for communication opportunities and sharing of their ‘stuff’ that perhaps would not happen when their other siblings were around. Each child’s opportunity to be seen by mum was hugely valuable to both them and me, as it gave me the time to get to know each precious child for who they were, what they loved, and who they wanted to be. These relationships, along with the relationship between the mother and her partner, are integral to keeping families functioning well. Communication is such an important element here.
For mothers, knowing how to listen – truly listen – is imperative as well as knowing how to ask good questions/open questions, that would prompt further talking and sharing. The subject area of conflict resolution emerges many times during a mother’s career too and the addition of learning these skills when learning communication skills is also useful. It could be persuasively presented that these skills would align with a Communication 101 subject from a Bachelor of Communication, Bachelor of Counselling and/or Psychology or similar qualification.
Understanding a child’s psychological as well as physical development stages also helps a mother understand where their child is at during particular times in their life. Having this knowledge can help her to understand what is truly important and plan how to parent during each stage. Mothers read books, articles, and search the internet to learn this information and these skills, and they utilise them continuously through the years of their children growing up. It might be considered some of this learning would correlate with a Human Movements subject as well as perhaps a Psychology subject.
In many households, a mother’s role also includes financial management. This involves setting and maintaining a budget, bill paying, day to day funds management and banking. Some of these tasks may not all land on the mother, but there is a level of financial ‘savviness’ required in her role. Again, subject areas that form part of a Finance or Business degree.
Now, I know that this might be a stretch, but I think it would have been helpful for me to have ‘studied’ some Fine Arts subjects. Art and craft were not my forte. I have over the years, though, managed to helped my children to create Easter bonnets, make homemade play-dough, cut out segments of a half of a potato to do ‘potato stamp’ painting (I know some of you are scratching your head about what I am even talking about here, but I know my kids will remember this). School projects, particularly science projects, often involved a stretch in my artistic skills, but I must admit fancy dress days weren’t so hard and I could often help my kids pull off something that worked. My favourite was the ‘Hairy McClary’ costume for my youngest for Book Week. It’s amazing what you can do with black wool and stockings!! Anyway, I think the years of expanding my artistic capability deserves a few subject credits from a fine arts degree.
A few other 101 subject areas that need identifying and possibly some RPL too include:
- Hairdressing – braiding; styling; hair straightening – ballet mums are legends!
- Basic mechanics – tyre changing; radiator water top up, basic servicing.
- Level 1 Sport coaching – volunteers are the backbone of junior sporting teams.
- Chef – breakfast; lunch; dinner; school lunches; morning teas; birthday cakes.
I think I may be getting my point across.
I would like to acknowledge that some of these roles are often managed or shared by the children’s other parent, but today I am highlighting mothers.
So, congratulations to all mothers today. You are amazing!
To those that are only new to motherhood and those, like me, who have been a mother for many years, I present you all with a Bachelor of Motherhood in acknowledgement of the diverse subject areas that you have learnt and mastered to facilitate your role as a Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day!!
Co-Founder, Coach, Mother of 3