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Our Favourite Transferable Parenting Skills

Being a full-time parent can make you feel like you have nothing to offer the world of work. So we asked an expert to show you how very wrong you are!


How many times have you heard someone say, "I'm just a Mum" or "I don't have any skills that an employer is interested in?" We've heard it a lot and to be honest we just want to hold a mirror up to the individual and say "Why can't you see what we see?"

Upselling yourself

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs out there. You're dealing with irrational people who don't communicate clearly and who are working to their own agenda - every day. Jane Knight, founder of Successful Mums, sees this daily as she helps parents get back into the workforce:

"Many parents underestimate the broad range of transferable parenting skills they have that employers look for when recruiting. Empathy, emotional intelligence and staying calm are just a few to mention."

Successful Mums support mums who are looking to find flexible work or start up a business by offering career advice and training programmes. Jane Knight shares below the top transferable skills she sees in her workshops with parents.

Top 5 transferable parenting skills

You're a leader

As a parent it's your job to lead your child in the right direction. Guiding your child requires determination, strategic thinking, and the power of influence.

These skills can be taken from home and applied in the office to provide focus and clarity when presenting and fulfilling the business case. We often find the person who didn't like to take the lead before they had children, finds a confidence even they didn't know existed.

You're a role model and mentor

Every parent wants the best for their child; you nurture them, provide advice from pre school into adulthood and are constantly solving problems. Actions speak louder than words so we have to embody the people we want our children to be.

As role models, we mentor our children - inspiring them and ensuring they develop emotionally healthy characteristics. Remember how your child picked up the exasperated tone of voice you used on the phone and then handed it back to you?

Whether we're demonstrating that one can lead a team and still make it to their child's dance recital, or discovering a new method of filing that's simpler and more efficient (you know that system you created for seasonal clothing and age of children...). Being a mentor and a role model for our children means we can be a role model for our colleagues and our customers in the workplace.

You're an expert negotiator

Be it in the office or around the dinner table, the art of negotiation is paramount! As a parent you often look at a situation and the needs of your child - and yourself - and find a way to get to an ideal scenario for everyone. Taking everything into account from your child's wellbeing to the penalty or reward, you are polishing your negotiating skills (think about how you arrive at an 8 o'clock bedtime).

There will be times when you are required to negotiate in a work situation so you'll be well versed in looking at a situation from more than one viewpoint and helping determine the ideal outcomes.

You stay calm under pressure

In the words of Charles Swindell, "Life is 10% of what happens and 90% of how you react to it". Staying calm and keeping things in perspective is all part of the parenting journey.

We certainly learn strategies to react positively and calmly to a range of different situations as parents and it's been well proven that employers are looking for calm, not panic. Who would you employ: the person who panics in the face of a deadline change, or the one that takes in in their stride, reorganising their workload as they go?

And you're creative

Whether you're watching (insert your child's favourite TV show here) or designing a company brief, our minds take in the experiences we've learned through personal encounters and find ways of adapting them as outputs in a new project.

As parents we are constantly having to be creative - responding to rainy days or challenging homework requests - and employers love creativity. Thinking outside the box is a key element to successfully engaging with customers and giving products and services an edge.

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