Moms wear many hats and have many responsibilities, and yet… they shouldn’t be the home servant. Everyone benefits with a CEO mom.
Every single thing.
All cleaning, cooking, organizing, tidying, shopping and planning.
That is what I thought I had to do to “have it all together.” Surely, I imagined, a mother has to be a master of time management and prioritizing and find a way to do it all to be considered on top of things.
If she can do everything that has to be done and have time to socialize, well, then she’s the Mythical Supermom.
This humongous lie kept rattling around in my brain until one day – while reading business advice – I realized my gross error.
The error that made me feel guilty.
An error that made me feel frazzled.
The error that was holding everybody back.
And the error was this… my mindset.
I was maintaining the mindset that I was the one who had to do everything. It was my job to get it all done and organize it all and run with everything.
But really, I was misinterpreting what my own role had to be. I constantly felt pulled in every direction unable to get it all done.
That’s because I can’t. And that’s okay.
Read: How to Raise Cleaning Machines: An Epic Household Chore List
How you can be a CEO and not a Servant
There’s nothing wrong with serving and loving your family. Big Fat Obviously.
Yet, there is a much different feel to a home with a mother who sees herself as the CEO over household matters, and not just the one on the floor with a toothbrush.
(Note: This is not about being CEO over your husband so don’t send me hate mail. I’m talking about being the leader of whatever duties and roles you already take charge of in your home.)
Read: The Quick Guide To Getting Started With Chores
You don’t have to do it yourself
Imagine if the CEO of Delta Airlines also distributed the mail, swept the floors, hired every single pilot, and ordered the office supplies.
This is because while it’s the CEO’s job to make sure everything gets done in a timely and efficient way, they don’t do everything themselves.
As a mother, you are in charge of much of the child rearing and homemaking. This , however, does not mean you have to do everything alone.
Here are some ways you can get help for yourself and your home without you using your own hands and feet every time.
Examples of automatic ways to lessen your load
- Food Subscription Services | There are quite a few food delivery services that send you fresh ingredients straight to your home. The food is fresh, easy to cook, and I totally see using this in busy seasons or post-pregnancy, for example.
- Amazon Prime | Free 2-day shipping. There are many times it’s quicker to buy with one click on Amazon Prime than to plan for a big trip to the store.
- Amazon Pantry | You can create an account with Amazon and have pantry items (as well as diapers, etc.) sent to your home at regular intervals. This means you aren’t frantically going to the store at the last minute for diapers. I’ve put this off, but need to do it.
- Cleaners | There’s no shame in having someone come help you clean. You’ll still be doing daily tidying, organizing, and cleaning maintenance, but there’s no written code that says you must clean every part of your home or else you can’t take pride in it.
- Mother’s Helpers, Nannies, and Babysitters | Depending on whether you work or not, you’ve already gotten past this. But even a stay at home mom may need help for a season. To allow her to work from home, spend time with individual children, get certain projects done that have been on the back burner. Or just to have a break.
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You learn to delegate
As people progress up the promotion ladder at work they learn one thing, the responsibilities may increase, but the duties change.
CEO moms would do well to take on the same mentality.
You’ll no longer do some of the day to day things, though the buck still stops with you. Moms must learn to delegate chores, tasks, and projects to their kids.
Kids can do things. Yes, yes, they can.
“Kids can do things.”
It hurts both yourself and your children if you don’t require them to carry their own weight around the house.
These things can be as simple as tidying their room, cleaning up toys, putting away dishes, and helping with the cooking.
Essentially, you’re teaching your kids how to do the many tasks you do and, when they’re ready, handing those tasks over to them.
This may seem cruel, but really it’s kind.
Read: An Epic Household Chore List
Get 101+ chore cards to help your little one build life skills, confidence, and their hard work muscles.Learn More
CEO moms have oversight and use it
If we give our children chores or tasks and don’t check up on them… there’s a very high chance they won’t get done.
This is follow through on our part.
The Large Family Logistics book (which I highly recommend with a few caveats, here’s my video review) says that we must “inspect what we expect.”
It’s not enough to tell our kids to do something if we won’t actually require them to carry it out. This takes consistency, effort, and clear boundaries on our part.
It means that we’re there to help them improve their skills, finish the job, and clean up after themselves.
And, when we don’t, that there’s a clear and appropriate consequence.
“Inspect what you expect.” Kim Brenneman
If you’re consistently late, lazy, and lackadaisical in the workplace you’ll get the boot.
One of our roles as parents is to make sure we’re raising kids who work hard and work well.
Read: Chores Toddlers, Preschoolers & Early Elementary Kids Can Do Well
You develop a long term strategy
The CEO is not so busy with the day to day busy work they don’t have time to strategize over the future direction of the company.
In fact, it is their job to strategize about the direction of the company.
Mothers are so busy changing diapers, chasing toddlers, cuddling kids, making snacks, potty training, and directing our kids that we often lose sight of our long-term goals.
We are not above these tasks – no way, in fact it’s a pleasure to serve our families!
However, without good working systems in our homes we frantically run putting out one fire then another without taking the time to think big.
Read: Family Culture: A Guide To Building Strong Families
Check off critical household, social, and hygiene skills for your child so they’re prepared (not petrified) of growing up!
You take days off, vacation, and clock out early when you want to
I’ll never forget working in a law office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida directly after college.
Every Friday afternoon my boss would roll out of the office at 3:00 pm to take his wife, his kids, and his boat, to the Bahamas.
You know… a typical weekend.
He’d worked hard all week, lined his ducks up, delegated tasks, and trained us to do our own jobs. It allowed him freedom in his own work.
A mother doesn’t have to be a slave to run her home. She can set up good systems, delegate projects and tasks, do the things that need to get done, and then relax when she’s able.
In fact, if you don’t know how to relax you’ll never be a good Home CEO because you’ll be in perpetual Survival Mode.
The Culture (Home Atmosphere) trickles down from you
As in any organization, it’s management that sets the tone. It can be easy for moms to spend all day long reacting. Truthfully, I am so guilty of this when pregnant, stressed, or worn out.
I react to a tantrum or react to some naughty action or unkind word.
I react to a spill or a mess and those become anger triggers for me.
Instead, it’s the job of the big boss to create the desired atmosphere and model it. Kindness, peaceful, fun, excitement, and playfulness.
These (among a slew of others) are great things for a mother to emulate in her days with small children. Our kids look to us to set the tone, let’s not disappointment.
We need to learn to think like CEOs….
It’s about rising above the daily chaos and thinking long term.
Not because we’re too good for any particular job, but because we should be too wise to run ourselves into the ground.
- Involving kids in household tasks has a positive impact later in life
- Chores are associated with self-competence, self-efficacy, and prosocial behavior
- Longitudinal Harvard study shows chores are bigger predictor of good mental health as an adult (moreso than social class, family problems, and other factors)
Alicia | FreshBabyGear says
I’m lucky that my husband helps me a lot around the house, but sometimes it can be hard to have a clean and tidy home when you have a toddler running around. It’s getting super messy when we have relatives or friends over and if they have kids, we need days to clean and put things back. But, I like your article and its point.
Rachel Norman says
Oh there are seasons of life, girl. You are too right!
The Thrifty Issue (Kylie) says
Great article. Completely agree and it is something I have dropped the ball on recently, particularly delegating chores to my kids. They do a great job, they just need reminding.
Thanks for the reminder for myself!
Rachel Norman says
I needed to remind myself! :)
I have to push back on all of this, for a very simple reason: Mother’s have been successfully managing households for generations, and it appears our generation is the only one seriously struggling with it. Why? Is it because “no one talked about it”, psshh no, check out old Oprah and Phil Donahue shows on stay at home moms, it was talked about all the time! Is it hard? Yes. Does it require a lot of work – heck yes! And THAT is the problem for most mom’s today. We were all raised in an instant gratification society and have a hard time putting in a solid days work. My grandmother had five children and my mother-in-law had six and they were stay at home mom’s who had a three course dinner on the table every day, managed gardens/farms/livestock, and raised very well adjusted children. If they could do it, with less luxuries, then so can we. I for one am sick of all the whining and excuses. Stop lowering the bar. At least we have dishwashers and laundry machines to cut our work by half! And Google to to search a million already made meal plans with shopping lists and recipes included. We are so lucky! Mom’s a few generation’s back did not and were still expected to keep everything going. Seriously mommy bloggers — I’m challenging you to quit pandering to this notion that it’s impossible to keep up a house and raise kids. It’s not. I have two children under two and a full 40 hour a week job. I still manage to keep the house clean, make home cooked meals, and have fun activities on the weekends without using take-out services and maids. Does it mean I get to “take a vacation”? No, because guess what? I signed up to be a mom. There is no vacation from being a mom. Put your big girl pants on and step it up!
Rachel Norman says
Victoria, I actually agree with all that you’ve said! My point was that we can get our kids to help so they learn. Our job is to manage it all, does it matter how we manage it?
Victoria I think my generation (the one you are describing) has different goals, views, mindsets and life ambitions. Is it so wrong to view life and things from a new lense? This generation and many to follow are making TONS of changes for the better for our society. If I bogged myself down with menial homemaking tasks I would be stuck in
old ways of thinking and doing things. Do I need big girl pants on? Absolutely! But don’t be so quick to judge us. Be thankful we have a progressive mind and NEW way of thinking and doing things. Build up don’t tear down with negative judgement please but rather learn to appreciate innovation and change something previous generations lacked…..positive view of change.
I’m sorry, but the role and responsibilities of those who are working fulltime in the home and those who have fulltime outside jobs is not the same. I have done both as a mom. I wish women would stop trying to say they are the same. When no one is home all day, there is no mess being made, no dishes piling up, no needs to be met, no fires to put out. Someone else is meeting the needs of the children, dealing with their tantrums, making their snacks and meals, cleaning up their messes, and giving them nurturing and discipline. Someone else is becoming weiry and mentally exhausted. But they keep going because they are waiting for their paycheck and then at 5, their job is done. So No, I’m sorry, it is NOT the same as the mother who is also working at home fulltime as a CEO and simultaneously dealing with all those issues. So lets not pretend they are the same. Their is a tremendous amount of emotional energy that goes into being with your children all day, day in and day out. Outside working moms dont deal with this aspect. Yes, you still probably handle the grocery shopping, laundry, dinner making and bedtime, but please dont compare apples to oranges.
Pris– you said EXACTLY what I was going to say. I have 2 under 2 as well and am currently on mat leave. There are challenges all day and by the time dinner time comes around, I am tapped out for ideas, or energy for that matter.
We can’t simply compare generations and say we are lazy and whiny. This current generation is having kids later in life. My mom had her kids in her early 20s. I had mine in my late 30s. Big difference there in terms of energy! I remember my mom having challenges keeping the house clean too. This generation talks about it more because of the Internet and blogs, etc. Like another poster said, tv shows of the 80s talked about it too.
I think another problem is that the partners are busier too. My husband is always on his phone for work. He helps a lot but he is not home during the day when there are more needs to meet (diapers, naps, dishes, bottles to wash and sterilize). My most stressful time of the day is 6am to about noon. Victoria is probably at work during this time.
Dismissing a woman’s feelings and challenges by comparing one generation to another and telling her to put her big girl pants on is not helpful or supportive. Women have visited this blog and sought out help for a reason. Try some compassion for others.
I think my spirit really needed to read this post today. Thank you and bless you for the work you do that so helps us other mothers!!
Rachel Norman says
Rachel, my spirit needed to read it too. Ha ! :)
This article is really helpful, relatable, and refreshing! Thank you for sharing your insight, learnings, and advice.
Rachel Norman says
Thanks so much :)