Sunday, May 8, 2022

“Mothers’ Day” with the apostrophe in the plural

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Heather Cox Richardson reposted her blog from two years ago regarding the history of "Mothers' Day" - with the apostrophe in the plural. A link to it is here and I sincerely hope that you read it and share it. 

When you hear the word "mother" do you first think of the noun, the verb or the adjective? 

A female parent. A woman in authority. Or, an old or elderly woman, like Mother Hubbard.

Necessity is the mother of invention. The mother of all construction projects. The mother of all ocean liners. To give rise to, to give birth to, to care for or protect like a mother. Birth mother, den mother, expectant mother. Mother country, mother figure, mother hen. Mother ship, mother tongue, queen mother. Single mother, surrogate mother, mother-in-law.

There is great power in the word mother. I think that power comes from the fact that if you are reading this blog, you have (or had) a mother. It is a word that unifies us all. A good friend of mine, Lee Cockerell, who ran Disneyworld with 40,000+ under his care, would say "Manage like a Mother." 

How many times have we heard that mothers are the true superheroes in our world? Multitasking masters, proper prioritizers, consummate communicators. And of course, the keeper of the snacks. Great managers, like moms, are natural leaders. They build a culture of trust, candor, and accomplishment. They have teams of people that love their jobs and feel lucky to go to work everyday. 

Moms (and managers) when seen in action, they seem a little magical. But it is not magic. A large part of their success as leaders is that they work hard on developing appropriate soft skills. And, in fact, many of the same soft skills that lend themselves to being a great mother are also what makes a great manager

The Mother of Soft Skills

Soft skills, defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and professionally with other people, are related to our attitudes and intuitions, which mothers are well known for. These skills are valuable because they enable people to function and thrive in teams and organizations as a whole. A productive and healthy work environment depends heavily on managers with great soft skills. Any workplace is an interpersonal space where relationships must be built and fostered, perspectives must be exchanged and occasionally, conflicts must be resolved.

Another good friend Loralyn Mears, PhD has recently launched Today, especially in our post-pandemic world, the mastery of soft skills is critical. Her company STEERus is the world's first soft skills academy. So, I guess one could say that Loralyn gave birth to right? 

Letters from an American is the newsletter from Heather Cox Richardson where she ties the day's news to events of the past. Her day job is a professor of 19th century American History at Boston College. But her newsletter (and now podcast) reaches millions of people. Her newsletter is her baby. 

Historians are fond of saying that the past doesn't repeat itself; it rhymes. To understand the present, we have to understand how we got here. 

Ah yes. How we got here. 

Well, we know one thing for sure: it all started with a mother.

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