Talk to just about any parent you know, and there’s a good chance they’ll say the same thing: Raising kids is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs out there. At its very core, parenting is a life-long commitment to service — during which you’ll experience some of the highest highs and lowest lows. You’ll learn more about yourself than you likely ever thought possible and discover new things about the world around you.

As a parent myself, I can attest to this firsthand. My kids have taught me countless enriching lessons about life — many of which have direct applications in the business world. Our trip to LEGOLAND, for example, incredible lessons you can adopt for your own CX program. When I meet other parents who both work and raise children, they often speak highly of the life lessons children impart that can be used at work as well. Here are just three of those career and leadership lessons experts have learned from parenthood:

1. Build and preserve boundaries.

Your kids ultimately rely on you to feel safe, and setting boundaries in your household is one of the best ways you can provide the stability kids truly need to thrive. Boundary setting starts in infanthood when parents establish and maintain consistent mealtimes and bedtimes, but it continues all the way through childhood and adolescence. Think setting screen time limits for young kids and establishing curfews for teenagers.

Setting these necessary boundaries helps your kids develop the skills they need to launch into society successfully. According to Cassandra Poon, an associate producer for Ubisoft Singapore and a mother, learning to set boundaries with your kids can also help you set better boundaries with your colleagues.

“[Since becoming a mother], I am more firm and have a lower tolerance for immature behavior that I immediately advise against and correct,” she says. “I had mild post-natal depression and the three months of maternity confinement enhanced the mental fortitude where, if I can literally handle human waste all over and on me, when things hit the fan in projects, I can handle them just as well.”

2. Model the responses you seek.

As parents, we know that our kids will internalize and echo the attitudes and behaviors they see us exhibiting. When we panic, they panic. Similarly, in business, when the company’s CEO is freaking out over missed sales quotas, their team will likely follow suit. “The ability to lead through rapid change is arguably the most important factor in separating a leader from a manager,” writes Lilac Mohr, senior director of engineering at Pluralsight Flow. “It takes experience to do this effectively.”

As a mother of five, Mohr has had plenty of practice in staying calm when things go sideways, but it wasn’t always that easy. “As first-time parents often struggle with helicopter parenting, many new leaders need to resist the urge to swoop in and save the day when things go wrong,” explains Mohr. “Experienced leaders will model calm, rational behavior in the face of the unexpected. They will reframe discomfort as an opportunity for learning and growth. These things are hard, but they go a long way in trying times.”

3. Find freedom in failure.

Because there’s no instruction manual for how to raise good-natured, empowered, and responsible little humans, it’s often a game of trial and error. “Being a parent constantly confronts you with your priorities and pushes you to make tough decisions,” says Amanda Dixon, founder and CEO of Barney. “Even the conclusions you don’t get ‘right’ are lessons that guide you to become better.”

Try to let go of the impossible standards that you set for yourself in parenthood and your career. “Getting hung up on perfection is a vicious cycle,” says Dixon. “It’s better to fail and learn as you go — and set an example for your team and your family along the way. Parenthood is a constant reminder that we need to talk openly about our successes and challenges in life and work.” Ultimately, pressing on even when the going gets tough is how we grow into the best versions of ourselves.

Running a business and running a household are two separate tasks with unique challenges and rewards — but they also have a lot in common. They both force you to rise to the occasion simply because people depend on you. So, take these three leadership lessons from working mothers and see how they can apply to your own career. You might be surprised by how much you grow.


  • Brittany Hodak

    Keynote Speaker and Author

    Brittany Hodak is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and customer experience speaker who has delivered keynotes across the globe to organizations including American Express and the United Nations. She has written hundreds of articles for Forbes, Adweek, Success, and other top publications; she has appeared on programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN; and she has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and entertainers, including Walmart, Disney, Katy Perry, and Dolly Parton. She originated the role of Chief Experience Officer at, and she founded and scaled an entertainment startup to eight figures before exiting. Entrepreneur magazine calls her “the expert at creating loyal fans for your brand.” Brittany’s debut book, Creating Superfans, will be in stores on January 10, 2023.