“When I grow up I am going to be a professional basketball player and when I get married I am going to be a professional mom and cooker” were the words that I just heard my little 5-year-old boldly proclaim.
As usual, one of my children has given me inspiration to write about one of life’s most profound necessities that often gets overlooked in this performance-focused, “gotta have results NOW” life we find ourselves living.
Motherhood and Career
What is a career? Merriam-Webster’s definition says, “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” I would certainly say that motherhood fits the description! In this case, whether you choose to stay at home or work outside the home, your career is your children.
What constitutes a “professional”? Though some may disagree, many studies indicate that with 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, one becomes an expert.
Motherhood Is One Kind of Expertise
The “10,000 Hour Rule” originates from a study performed by a group of psychologists in Berlin, Germany in the 1990’s.
The psychologists studied the practice habits of violin students from childhood to adulthood. The violinists were asked how many hours they had spent practicing the violin from the time they picked up the violin until the present.
Much to the psychologists’ surprise, the best performers practiced over 50% more than the less able performers. The psychologists believed that natural talent would play a much greater role than it actually did in the performance of the violinists.
Outliers, a book written by Malcolm Gladwell, suggests the same findings. He studied the lives of highly successful people and found that most were not “naturally” talented. The common factor for all of the successful subjects lay in the time they had invested in practicing.
Whether this be true or not, there is no denying that as a mother, we are practicing a great number of hours. Within the first year of a child’s life, you have spent 8,760 hours practicing on motherhood — that is, if your babies kept you up at night as much as mine did. Multiply that by a few more kids and a few more years, and YES, I WOULD CALL YOU MOMS PROFESSIONAL! You have certainly put in the hours.
Continuing Education: Moms Never Stop Learning
Most, but certainly not all, professionals enjoy higher education as well. Higher education requires hours upon hours of reading and studying for one’s degree. I don’t know about you, but I have read reams of parenting books and articles, listened to CD’s, watched DVD’s, read scripture, prayed and journaled my experience with parenting.
I was a psychology major in undergraduate school. Then I studied many, many hours in law school, passed the bar, and practiced law. I am no more a professional in those fields (actually much less so) than in being a mother of seven children. Moreover, I continue to study as they get older — hence, continuing education, also a requirement for professionals.
Early on in marriage, I decided that the return on investment of time with the children would far exceed any return on any other kind of profession I could enter. This is not to say that a person could not do both. I know many women who have been successful as professionals in the workplace and as professional moms as well. My mom is one of them.
A Crash Course in Economics
Moms wear many hats and spend tens of thousands of hours in home economics, which gives them another professional degree.
Moms get a crash course in economics the minute they take their children to the doctor and have to pay the pediatrician and the other bills related to the children… well, you see my point. The list could go on and on of the professions created out of motherhood.
Colleges of late are beginning to offer Home Economics majors once again, sometimes called Family and Consumer Science. They are teaching students skills in nutrition, sewing, textiles, interior design, personal management, financial planning…everything you need to know to have a prosperous and fulfilling life.
Well, in a sense, home economics is the basis of our lives. We work outside the home so that we can afford to live inside the home. The more money you can save, the more you will have for the home, your children, giving, and your enjoyment. Becoming an expert in home economics leads to more opportunity and ideas for more professions stemming from motherhood.
I am a huge proponent of creating industry in the home to serve the community outside the home. If you think about it, that’s what companies do. You are the mom/homemaker, and you are the consumer. Mom knows what other moms need. I am convinced that motherhood and home economics generate ideas and create an entrepreneurial mind in mothers and in their children.
Motherhood is, indeed, a career. Moms are worthy professionals who learn through books and hands-on experience. There is no greater professional than those who aid in the development of other great professionals, and that is just what a mom accomplishes. In my opinion, there is no replacement for a mother’s influence, guidance, and industry in the home.