Mothers Make the Best Architects

1. Mothers are fiercely protective. They become relentless and determined when it’s time to advocate for their children.  This is exactly how you want your architect to feel about your project.  She will protect the integrity of her vision, your budget, and stand up for you against unseen threats.

2. Mothers understand that life is messy. This makes us supremely fit for architecture which is essentially the task of creating beauty and order out of chaos.  Not to mention that mothers find food everywhere left behind by her offspring.  We have a deep understanding of where mold, dust, and critters like to live so expect our designs to consciously avoid these spaces.

3. Moms understand that loving children can sometimes be mean to them, especially when their kids feel out of control, insecure or scared. This helps us deal with clients who may often feel the same way.

4. Mothers understand that details matter. I say to my kids almost daily “everything matters!”, “Your penmanship matters, the way you greet somebody matters, the way you treat your elders matters,” and so on.  Architects understand this. We care almost obsessively about the details on a building.  The big picture is supported by a minutia of tiny little moments of clarity.

5. Mothers understand kids can disappoint us and that getting them to do exactly as we say is nearly impossible. Raising a perfect child is nonsense, we know that.  Yet we optimistically continue our pursuit. In the same way, we architects stubbornly pursue such lofty ideas as authenticity, innovation, or sublime transcendence and while, more often than not, we are disappointed, we continue to pursue the ideal against great odds, small budgets, “nay-sayers,” and mediocrity all around.

6. Mothers need to ask for help and often reach out to other family members, other moms or just about anybody who will lend a hand. This is an imperative quality for architects, and moms have it.  It is the ability to direct the big picture while empowering others and enlisting contributions from a wide variety of design professionals, tradespeople, and artists.

7. Moms understand that the answer to “Do you live in a barn?” is always “yes,” so at least here in California, we design doors and walls that are intended to remain open and the threshold between indoors and outdoors is very ambiguous. Sunshine and fresh air—if it’s good for a kid, it must be good for a building.

8. Moms understand that life is busy and only the most important stuff gets done. She understands that the siding on your home or the floor in your office will eventually fall into the “non-important” category so she will either specify materials that are low maintenance or if you insist on such lovely textures as natural wood and stone then she will remind you to open a college savings fund and strategize for a long-term maintenance plan.

9. Moms know that parenting is a process that takes time. We don’t expect good kids overnight. In fact, it happens quickly, and then slowly, but the project is never really done. The kids keep coming home and needing help at age 22, age 30, age 45, and so on… Good architects, like good moms, aren’t afraid of post-occupancy reports. We stay in touch with our clients, we fix problems that arise, and we are available when it’s time to grow or change again. Like kids, the built environment is never finished.

10. We crazy moms are constantly worrying about our kid’s future. Will the sea level rise affect them?  Will the ozone layer last?  What will happen to all the landfill?  Architects get to be key players in this fight against global warming.  Sustainable design isn’t an option for us, it is an obligation to our grandkids. They don’t call her “mother” Earth for nothing.

In conclusion, I wish a happy Mother’s Day to all of you steadfast, optimistic, multi-tasking, nagging, worried, intuitive moms out there.  Whatever your profession, know that your skill set is coveted in the workplace…….honed and powerful just like a tiger.

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