Business Lessons from the Mother ‘Hood

Monday Author: Susanne Skinner

A re-fresh from 2014

It’s not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it.

Ain't No Hood Like Motherhood, Mother, MotherhoodEverything I know about business I learned from being a Mom.

Motherhood filled a hole in my life I didn’t know existed. It rolled over me, flattened me, lifted me up and strengthened me. It offered benefits no salaried job could match and provided business lessons for every one of my paying jobs—straight out of the ‘Hood.

Being a mom is my proudest achievement. There are certainly others, but this rises far above them. Motherhood is not only the hardest job I’ve had, it’s the longest and most demanding, with 24/7 shift work, impossible deliverables and harsh performance reviews.

It’s easy to have opinions about being a mom but until you walk in those shoes, you never fully understand the depth and breadth of the role. I’m here to tell you it’s a tough-love job. They can’t fire you and it’s impossible to quit. Once you enter the ‘Hood they own you. You can’t outsource Motherhood.

The Mom Degree

Don't Make Me Use My Mom Voice, Motherhood, 'HoodBeing a Mom comes with more than one job title:

  • Mommy, Mom, Mama, Ma, Mother Dearest
  • She Who Must be Obeyed
  • The Warden
  • The Bursar
  • The Terminator
  • Goddess of all that is Right and Good

and my all-time favorite, delivered by an angry five-year old member of my team:

  • The Meanest Mother in the Entire World, Maybe Even the Universe

I am a working mom. I make no apologies for this. In fact, I excel at my paying job because motherhood developed my business skills, providing unique hands-on experiences I could translate into the corporate world. I have magna cum laude degree in Mom.

The only way to learn is on-the-job training, like an internship with no end in sight. Working in the ‘Hood is hard, especially for moms who also work a paying job. Working moms are subject to criticism because we live in a culture that questions the ability to fulfill both roles with equal distinction. It is possible with sacrifices only Moms understand.

I have found a fair (not perfect) balance between family and career. It is never 50-50; in fact, there are days when it’s 90-10. I swing the balance where the demand is greatest and admit to drinking wine and wishing for a panic room

On-the-Job Experience

Motherhood provides the foundation for all my business skills. A Mom job creates experiences that translate seamlessly into the working world. Every skill I use in business I credit to being someone’s Mom.


The first time I kissed a scraped knee and told a sobbing child I made it all better I became a salesperson. When I agreed to extend a deadline, reduce a penalty, waive a punishment, talk to the teacher or negotiate a one-time-only deal I knew I was knee-deep in a lifetime career of selling. Unfortunately, it’s a non-commission job with delayed ROI.


Most moms are CFOs; a responsibility that is not for the faint of heart. I manage the family budget, investment portfolio, disbursement of funds, debt collection and contract negotiation. I grant loans, enforce terms, collect fines, add interest, and determine credit. I balance everything all of the time.


Children are outstanding negotiators. They interpret ‘no’ to mean ‘maybe’ and ‘maybe’ to mean ‘yes.’ They do not give up easily, ask for more than they want and are the architects of High Initial Demand (HID). Aim higher than what sounds reasonable, affordable and possible—then walk away with exactly what you wanted. Maybe more.

 Management Skills

Super Mom, Supermom, motherhood, management skillsIn any given week I manage schedules, budgets, inbound/outbound freight, meetings, food and beverage orders, transportation, public relations, labor disputes, performance reviews, time off and time out.

Crisis management, event management, conflict resolution, the occasional layoff and medical triage are just the tip of the management iceberg. In my Mom role I also provide information on demand, offer 911 and 411 services, and act as hostage negotiator and corporate spokesperson.

Customer Service

Customer Service is part of my Mom DNA. When it comes to managing teacher’s conferences, doctors’ appointments, rehearsals, monsters under the bed, missing laundry, bake sales, carpools, homework, road trips and nobody-likes-me issues, I’m your man—except I’m a woman.

Moms are healers and finders of lost things.  When you lose toys, keys, books, or even lose your way, I will help you find it. If you have a broken toy, broken car, or a broken heart I will be here for you.

Human Resources

mother love, baby feet, love, motherhoodValuing differences, explaining benefits, offering training and providing counseling prepared me for a career in human resources. Handling disappointments, harassment, conflict, goal setting, performance feedback and realignment of objectives taught me everything I need to know about creating a positive place to grow human beings, nurture talent, heal what is broken and get rid of what is not working.  

All Good in the Mother ‘Hood

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms everywhere. I celebrate you because every Mom is a working mom. It’s the hardest job you will ever love. I am proud to be one of you, living and working together in the ‘Hood.  #bestjobever