I’ve written before about the multiple roles of a parent. If you think you were organised before having kids, it can all go to pot after they’ve been born. In my day job I’m a project manager and there are so many similarities between being a school mum and my job.
I’m sure mine isn’t the only job where being a mum will help develop day job skills. If you want a career change after becoming a mum, you need to be able to shout about your skills, and you’ll certainly learn move from parenthood.
Definition of a project manager: manage tasks from start to finish, using the best resources, on time and within budget.
Definition of being a school mum: getting the kids out of the house to school on time, fed, watered, with the right equipment to get through the correct lessons and clubs at school, and have enough money to pay for it all.
Not so far off!
Why being a school mum is like being a project manager
When it comes to making sure the children have what they need for school, be it uniform, stationery, equipment, lunches, usually the mum is the budget owner and person doing the spending. In my house, the OH has no concept of anything to do with school, I pay for everything whether it’s school trips, morning or after school clubs or uniform etc.
To make things in the family happen (and on time) mums need to be able to have the right team in place. Making sure all the children are accounted for, pulling in relevant help when needed. And making sure everyone is motivated and focused towards the same goal of doing the best at school.
Leading on from the team manager, the school mum needs to get everyone and everything from and to home and school without any injuries, losses, and on time.
Delegator and resource manager
To get children through the school years, most mums need to call on help from others at some point. Whether it’s for logistics – organising other picks up for trips, after school club, or ad hoc changes to location which can’t be managed. Requesting help for PTA support or attendance from friends or colleagues. Or asking for advice from consultants other parents who know better.
If the school mum is on the PTA, it’s encouraging other parents to help out and find solutions to fund raising efforts.
No one else is going to shout out about your child’s successes unless the school mum does it. She’s usually there on the side lines, promoting achievements and encouraging on sports day and at school plays.
Scheduler and organiser
All school mums have a calendar and organisation system which works for them. Spreadsheets, online calendars, morning routines, homework time tables etc. To coordinate school needs along with out of school activities, organisation is essential. If one thing doesn’t happen, it can have knock on impacts on other tasks, but the school mum has to know everything that’s going on to be able to rework and get the children through the next school day or activity.
When the children are feeling a bit down, the school mum is there to give them a boost, remind them of the goal, and break down their problems to get past them.
The school mum is brought in when there’s an issue. To speak to the teacher, to the head teacher, to work out what the real problem is (if there is one) and facilitate a solution from whoever can sort it out.
Not everything runs smoothly with children and school, so the mum has to understand what might go wrong, what can be left, pushed back, or who to ask to find out answers. The network of other school mums is so key, whether it’s on Facebook or Whatsapp groups. Many a time have we all been on there checking non uniform dates, or working out lift shares.
It’s usually the school mum’s responsibility to update others on the child’s progress. In our house, to the OH although he is now showing more interest in asking N what’s been going on. But also to relatives, letting the school know via homework diaries or directly to the teachers, and that classic, the Christmas card family newsletter!
So it turns out my role is quite well suited to have and manage school children and school life, and vice versa.
Do you see many similarities between your day job if you have one, and being a school parent? What skills has being a mum given you for getting a new job?
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