10 lessons your mother taught you about hard work, so you can thank her this Mother's Day

By Robert Half on 4 May 2015

When we think about the mentors who have had the biggest impact on our working career, we often think about those inspirational colleagues in our workplace or industry who lead by bullish example. Rarely, do we acknowledge the fundamental skills we have acquired by the people closest to us, such as our mothers. Mums are the people in your life who often showcase all the skills you will need in the workplace.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we are acknowledging all the career skills mums have taught us over the years and how they have helped us develop and apply those skills in our professional lives. Here are 10 lessons your mother taught you about hard work:

1) Multitasking

Mums are supremely good at multitasking. Feeding one child while helping with homework, cooking dinner while organising doctor’s appointments – it’s this ability to manage multiple tasks at once that makes mothers the perfect role model for how to achieve results under pressure.

2) Diplomacy

How many times have you seen mothers tactfully negotiate an outcome that would otherwise fall to pieces if diplomacy weren’t applied? Putting this skill to good use in the workplace helps us drive the results we need – and watching mums in action is the best way to learn.

3) Efficiency

Managers often observe that hiring mothers is a great way to see productivity rise. Why? Mums know how to get things done, and quickly. Not a minute is wasted on a mother’s watch and being efficient is one of the most useful skills they can pass on to their children.

4) Work-life balance

Working hard and playing hard, mums know that maintaining a good work-life balance is a must in order to be part of their children’s, and their partner’s life.

5) Diversity of skills

Mums need to have a swag of skills across many different level of expertise to raise a family. Adapting from a pre-child career through to managing work with young kids often sees mums acquire a comprehensive suite of skills. The lesson? There’s no need to stand still in one job – move on and learn new proficiencies as you go.

6) Conflict management

Is there a better adjudicator of conflict than your mum? Just think of the scores of sibling fights she’s resolved over the years. Mums have certainly taught us how to manage conflict and be diplomatic when it comes to settling disputes among fellow workers.

7) Persistence

Mothers don’t give up. They keep on striving to achieve their goals, support their family and deliver the unconditional love they yearn to give. And persistence is key to being successful in the workplace, so if you want an example of how to do it, look no further than your mother.

8) Kindness

Business can be a hard-edged environment where political games dominate. But one of the first lessons our mums taught us as children was to be kind to others. In order to be productive and get people on side, being kind is one of the first places to start.

9) Attention to detail

Dotting your “i”s and crossing your “t”s is a skill that does not go unnoticed at work. And it’s often our mums who have taught us it’s the little things that count. From gluing the final pieces of bark onto our volcano school project to checking essays for spelling mistakes, mums teach us the importance of attention to detail.

10) Don’t expect rewards

Finally, the role of a mother is hard work and often a thankless profession, so if anyone’s going to teach us how to be circumspect about the (lack of) praise we receive in the workplace, it has to be mums. That said, all mums deserve recognition for their hard work and sacrifice. A simple 'thank you mum' is usually all they need. Why not surprise your mum this Mother’s Day and let her know that you recognise all the great skills she has taught you over the years. After all, gratitude is surely one of the best lessons she taught you, and one that you can show in return.

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