How being a mum can lead to highly successful habits

24 May

Written by Kirri White.  Follow me on twitter or facebook.

You can also contact me by email –

A couple of weeks ago, I had an Oprah-esque ‘Aha’ moment while watching Australia’s Masterchef.  One of the top 24 contestants, Kate – occupation ‘mum,’ was taking part in a team challenge which involved being woken (after two hours sleep) to bake artisan-worthy bread for eight hours straight.

A lot of the contestants emerged bleary-eyed and cranky, but not this Mumma!  She cheerily narrated that parenthood had more than prepared her for this type of challenge:

when you are a mum, you get used to having to work hard,
whether you like it or not, whether you feel like it or not.

Damn straight, I thought. This woman’s going to bake some killer bread!

Becoming a mum is fraught with experiences that can lead you to a whole new level of learning. From the very first moment you gingerly claim your newborn …your life is no longer yours.  You are officially ‘owned’, required to be on call 24 /7 and have orders communicated to you in a cacophonous language not yet fully understood by either parties.

Days and nights blend into the same monochrome and for many new parents, the outside world can seem like an alternate universe.

I know that some mums allegedly give birth to “sleepers” *dislike* but for most of us, becoming a parent is an exhausting exercise comparable to the effects of sleep deprivation-torture-tactics used in war-fare.

And no, you don’t get to call in sick….ever.

I have had to lay, vomit bucket at head-level while my three-year olds whined and pulled my hair in an effort to “stop mummy being boring”.  Fortunately, I also had my life-saving five-year old at hand, who was able to make lunch among puddles of juice and vegemite smears.

While many childless couples look forward to engaging in some serious ‘lounging’ on the weekends, mummies have forgotten that it is in fact the weekend.

No down time for you sistah!  It’s business as usual, 365 days a year.

Such is the nature of the unwritten job description.  You may not realise that ‘this’ is exactly what you signed up for but you step up and you do it.

Not to say that it’s all hard work and tears.  There are many positives to having your world shaken sideways by mummyhood. After a while, you catch your groove, and inadvertently find you have adopted a few habits of the ‘highly successful’.

For example:

You now have the permanent built-in alarm of a serious go-getter that wakes you up early no matter what. You may even morph into a healthier version of yourself, given that you no longer go out partying every weekend till 5am.

Establishing routines, organising schedules and planning events are things that have now become second nature. Household supplies and food are dutifully replenished, budgets micro-managed and a multitude of other tasks accomplished every day.

You get used to working diligently without being pushed, asked, thanked…or sometimes even noticed.

The mood of a small child can easily dictate how your day will play out from moment to moment.  As such you learn to adjust plans accordingly.  You become far more resilient and capable at handling the downright ugly and seemingly impossible. Even in public.

As your child’s first role model, you become more adept at building and maintaining positive relationships, promoting perseverance and cooperation.  With kidlet eyes now taking in your every move, you try to emulate ‘goodness’.  You become a leader without a title, far more responsible, self-contained and polite.  You become better at controlling and managing yourself and your emotions….most of the time anyway.

Flippancy to the side…being a mum can lead to strengthening all of the skills you gained as a singleton, with the addition of a few more.  In my humble opinion.

All learning has an emotional base ~Plato

Being a mum may not always educate the intellect but it does educate the heart.  The emotional intelligence I have gained in seven years of parenting remains unparalleled.  Coincidentally, emotional intelligence has been widely reported as one of the strongest indicators for success in life and directly affects ones psychological well-being (ref).

I read somewhere that the brain gives knowledge but the heart gives direction. As a mum even though your heart now moves independent of your body – the sense of purpose, passion and direction you feel can spur you on to achieve greatness in all areas of life.

Sidenote: Some of you may be thinking that this particular blog is biased and a tad dismissive of non-parents or even daddy’s.

I would concur.

But sometimes a mummy needs to hear that she is valued, competent, resourceful and freakin’ fabulous!

She needs to understand that the skills and experiences acquired through parenthood hold relevance in any environment and that she is a successful contributing member of society right here and now.

Nuff said!

~ Kirri


14 Responses to “How being a mum can lead to highly successful habits”

  1. Antoinette May 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Thanks Kirri, enjoyed this and you are right we DO need to hear every now and then that we are valued, competent, resourceful and freakin’ fabulous! and straight back at you!

  2. Gemma May 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Another insightful post Kirri, must say I’m really enjoying reading them! Sometimes I forget all the new skills mummyhood is giving me especially when my days are made up of cleaning, cooking and most importantly entertaining a toddler. Long may the education of my heart continue!

    • Kirri White May 25, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

      Thanks for subscribing AND reading Gemma….that makes my day a little bit brighter.

  3. Terry May 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    I am not sure if I have been categorised as a “sidenote” before. Whereas there are examples of Mothers who do take time out, do become unavailable physically and emotionally to their children, with a very few notable exceptions, I totally agree with you.

    Recently I was in a part of a local town that was described by a pastor as having “low expectations”. I could see that people were not the best healed but one thing that stood out amongst the demonstrably unemployed hanging around was the Mums. They were active, coping, arguably happier with their lot and taking care of business.

    Unpaid and unappreciated, I agree that Mums need a very special thanks. (As you know I have an interest in this area…my new programme for business Mums).

    Well done and thank you on behalf of Single Dads, a Mum figure by default…:)


    • Kirri White May 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      Well I do hope that in an attempt to be humourous, I have not alienated one of my most faithful readers and supporters.
      You are definitely not a sidenote, nor is any daddy (single or otherwise).

      I can only write from my perspective and sometimes I like to take a few liberties…artistic licence and all that 🙂
      I appreciate your comments, as always

  4. countingducks May 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Reading this made me think of my own mother with affection. She found motherhood hard but stuck at it. I’m so glad she did

  5. Grainne May 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    Hi Kirri

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog and it always amazes me that even though we live on opposite sides of the world the trails and tribulations of motherhood are the same! I have def morphed into a much healthier version of myself!
    Mothers do need to be told that we are valued, competent, resourceful and freakin’ fabulous! It is nice to know that what we do is appreciated every now and then.
    Looking forward to your next post already.

    • Kirri White May 27, 2011 at 6:27 am #

      Thanks Grainne…It’s nice to have people reading my blog on the other side of the world! Just so you know, you have inspired me to train for my first half-marathon…looking for new ways to stretch myself physically and as Im so NOT a runner, seemed like the perfect challenge!

      • Grainne May 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

        Good on you! Hope you enjoy it. When I started running it was purely to shift baby weight as I couldn’t face dieting because I love my food too much. But I now really enjoy it. Have you got a running buddy? I do and in the beginning found she really helped to keep me going and got me out running when if left to my own devices I’d have stayed in front the tv instead! Good luck with the training, keep me updated on your progress. xxx

      • Kirri White May 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

        I did a triathalon years ago and my running really let me down…it’s something that I want to improve on but Im not sure I could ever “enjoy”. A running buddy would be great – so far I have only run 2km without being able to stop for a breather. I will keep you updated for sure!

  6. Lina Nguyen May 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Hi Kirri

    So lovely to find your blog! Intelligent, strong and passionate (you, and your blog!). Love your work.

    Being a woman, I have always had a natural respect for mums. Now that I’m a new mum, I have a new deeper knowing of what it means to have this significant role within our families & communities.

    It’s a good thing that in recent times, the role of mum and working mum is getting a better rap – within workplaces and our society. We still have a long way to go, but we’re getting there with valuing the work of women, especially mums.

    We totally rock. Women like you, are proof of it. I say WAKE UP, to people running our governments and workplaces who still don’t GET IT – That the strength & power of women to do all this, with love but without the need for full recognition – is what pulls this entire planet together.

    Thank you!


    • Kirri White May 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      Thank you Lina.

      Your kind and insightful words go a long way….I really mean that!

      Unfortunately I did not always posess a natural respect for mums, at least not to the extent that I do now….
      Ha, I guess that was my WAKE UP!!

      Thanks for stopping by,


  7. Caz Makepeace May 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Totally agree. It wasn’t until I became a mum that I realized just how much I was capable of doing and being. You learn how to manage and cope with just about anything. We have a mine field of hidden talents that motherhood can uncover. Great post

  8. Lola May 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Thanks Kirri! You have such a way with words. God has certainly blessed you, and I thank Him for you.

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