Feel like you're afflicted with incurable mom brain? No worries -- a new book says that having little ones actually makes us smarter than our childless friends.
Shari Storm: When the words "mom" and "boss" come up together in the same sentence, many of us automatically think of the women we've worked for who try to be the office mother. Those women clucked around and did silly things like try to set the admin assistant up with their nephew, gave unwanted advice on everything under the sun that's personal, or hugged us when we really didn't care to be touched.
At first glance, it's hard to sell the idea that mom-centric skills are actually an asset to a working woman, and not an annoyance.
In her phenomenal book, The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter, Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Ellison debunks the common misconception that motherhood makes women dumber.
Her book describes scientific studies which have shown:
• Mother rats far outperform their bachelorette counterparts in memory and learning tests.
• Mothers showed a significantly higher understanding of self and others and held more responsibility than their childless counterparts in a 40-year study of 121 graduates from the same elite college.
• Mothers had stronger activity in the amygdala when faced with stress during a brain scan than their non-mother counterparts, indicating that mothers' brains tend to react quicker and with more intensity in the face of trouble.
As mothers, our own common sense tells us:
• Mothers become comfortable having very direct and potentially embarrassing conversations with people. Once you've told your 4-year-old, "Don't pick your nose and eat your boogers because you'll have no friends at school," it becomes easier to tell an employee her blouse is cut too low.
• Mothers get used to using the phrase, "Because I said so." Women tend to be consensus builders, but moms realize sometimes people just have to get on the bus, and quick. Add the fact that moms have less time to devote to office politics, and you often get a boss who is refreshingly comfortable with calling the shots and putting complainers in their place.
• Moms know they are always on stage. Good parents realize that everything they say and do is being absorbed and eventually imitated by their little ones. The same is true in the office. A good boss understands how her actions set the tone, values, and attitude of her employees. A good mom and a good boss will demonstrate the behavior she wants her family and her team to emulate.
I interviewed 60 women for my book, "Motherhood Is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to Be a Better Boss," and all of them had the same belief -- even though motherhood deprives you of sleep, causes you to work fewer late evenings, and sometimes leaves you feeling scattered, it still provides the most profound learning experience. The skills a woman learns when raising children are exactly the skills she needs to successfully manage people.
|Shari Storm is the author of "Motherhood is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to be a Better Boss" (Thomas Dunne / St. Martins Press). Storm earned her Masters of Business Administration from Seattle University. In addition to being an executive at a $400 million financial institution, Storm is a mentor for Seattle University's graduate program and writes for Working Mother Magazine blog. Storm has three young daughters.|