Nellie and KidsWhile many people may think that parenthood and running a business collide like oil and water, I can tell you from direct experience they’re mistaken.

My family has always fueled my successes rather than stand in the way of me achieving them. And as Mother’s Day 2016 approaches, I’ve been reflecting on the many ways being a mom to my four children has made me a more effective and intuitive entrepreneur. I want to share them here because I believe other entrepreneurial moms (and moms-to-be) out there should feel confident in embracing how motherhood strengthens them professionally, too.

How Can Being A Mom Make You A Better Entrepreneur?

  • You learn to listen. As a mom, I’ve become more adept at actively listening, so I truly understand what’s happening with my kids and how I can guide them. Listening, of course, is a critical skill for earning the respect and trust of clients, too.
  • You develop patience. Yes, children can and will test your patience from time to time. I can vouch for that. But over time, I’ve learned that getting frustrated or angry never helps. As a parent, you’ve no choice but to work on becoming more patient—and that’s a characteristic that helps immensely when working with customers, as well.
  • You become more punctual and organized. Whether you have one or ten children, parenthood demands that you have your act together. As a mom, I’ve become better at planning, paying attention to schedules, setting priorities, and keeping details in order.
  • Your public speaking skills improve. When talking to children, you need to keep the message clear and you need to make your point before their short attention spans expire. That’s very similar to what you’re dealing with when speaking publicly. I’ve found that when I’m speaking—whether at large events or in small group settings—I’m more direct and clear as a result of being a mom.
  • You learn to establish boundaries. While it’s tempting to try to be your kids’ best friend, that can have devastating effects in the long run. The same can be true if you put being a best friend ahead of being a good leader to your employees.
  • You open your mind and learn not to overreact. While I’m happy my children appear to feel comfortable telling me anything and everything, I admit that I’ve been caught off-guard on occasion. Rather than overreact, I’ve learned to keep an open mind and calm demeanor so as not to alienate them or betray their trust in me. Applying that same objectivity and composure in challenging business situations can help lead to solutions faster than getting caught up in the drama.
  • You realize the importance of setting a good example for others. Seeing how my children look up to me as role model, I’ve become more in tune with and aware of my actions and reactions. This helps in business, too. Actions really do speak louder than words. Lead by the example of how you conduct yourself rather than telling people what you expect of them.

As you can see, there are many correlations between being a mom and being a business owner. Whether you have a family and are just starting a business or have a business and are just starting a family, embrace how the two entwine to make your life—personally and professionally—all the richer.

Happy Mother’s Day!