Help Wanted: Family CEO
Applicant is responsible for the management and safety of her subordinates at all times. She will be responsible for the overall health and development of those under her supervision, including, but not limited to, ensuring proper regular hygiene, ethics instruction, and recreational activities. She will foster appropriate communication and team building skills within her unit, which shall require expertise status in the areas of conflict resolution and communications. Being particularly fluent in primitive languages is a plus.
She will serve as the company’s accountant, overseeing a strict budget and handling all accounts receivable and payable. She will be in charge of securing the supplies necessary to provide proper nutrition and will use said supplies to prepare and serve three nutritious meals a day. Applicant will assume all janitorial and laundering duties for the premises of the entire office.
Applicant will also be responsible for managing the daily and nightly agenda for all those under her supervision, while providing transportation to and from social activities and meetings with peers, physicians, and various mascots, muppets or clowns. Traditionally, the holder of this job also assumes the role of the one-person party planning committee.
An ideal candidate will be exceedingly patient, kind, and caring, skilled at doing more with less, while possessing quick decision making skills and a willingness to answer several hundred questions a day. Other duties as assigned.
Salary & Benefits: Starting salary range is between zero and zilch. We are unable to provide health insurance or a retirement program, but the rest of the benefits are great and working from home is encouraged. Vacation days are generously provided, as long as the candidate is willing to take her subordinates with her and maintain all job responsibilities while on vacation or is willing to pay someone else a hefty sum to assume them in her absence. Interested applicants should apply within.
If you haven’t figured it out already, this is a job description for a stay-at-home mom, written in corporate speak.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom. I know a number of mothers who are, although their number is dwindling. That’s because to be a stay-at-home mom, a woman must give up her career, her income, her ambition, her identity, her sense of self. Or so it is assumed.
Being a stay-at-home mom is not considered a very cool job to have. In fact, it’s barely considered a job at all.
I just think it’s a job with a lousy title.
It would appear that the number one requirement of a stay-at-home mom is to…stay home, while everyone else trudges off to work their “real” jobs. I mean, how hard is that? Staying at home is so easy, that apparently now even men can do it. We call them stay-at-home dads.
What’s apparently not so obvious is that the job requires a lot more than simply being a parent and staying at home, as the sample job description above indicates. Clearly, “Stay-At-Home Parent” doesn’t seem to cut it as an accurate job title. I propose Family CEO.
The position of Family CEO is more demanding and requires a more diverse skill set than just about any job you can name. And the duties assigned to a Family CEO are not optional. They need to be taken care of one way or another, whether you stay at home or not.
Some people outsource many of the tasks to family members, friends, or strangers, while others try to squeeze them in and around their other full-time jobs. In fact, that’s what most people do. In the sum of my travels around this country, I have noticed that the families who are most overwhelmed by stress often have two parents who work outside the home. Family life is chaos. There is no structure, no balance, no peace. It is my assertion that the reason for this is because there is no dedicated Family CEO. One or both parents are trying to squeeze the responsibilities around their other jobs. Unfortunately, it’s too big of a job to do part-time during your non-peak energy areas.
Most people will say that they need two incomes in order to live. I would argue that they need both incomes in order to maintain their standard of living. Upon honestly counting the costs of day care, transportation, convenience food, and most importantly, the STRESS that comes with both parents working outside the home, I wonder how many people would come to the conclusion that they’d be better off hiring a Family CEO from within.
Make no mistake: It’s a hard job. And you’re borderline crazy to even consider it. But its importance is unparalleled and the benefits are out of this world.
Lets not forget that some families standard of living simply includes putting food on the table and clothes on their backs. In this day and age we should not be so quick to judge anyone’s situation or to label them as a not so perfect parent because of how they choose to live or the stuff they may have to do to make ends meet. My household contains two working parents yet I would consider it a calm, balanced and structured enviroment where my child is flourishing. I realize you weren’t saying all two working parent families are failing but it didn’t leave a very good impression of us. No matter what the family situation we should be trying to encourage and give positive pats on the back to all parents whether they work or not. Its a hard job either way and in my opinion no way is the wrong way if it works for you and everyone is happy. With that said happy mothers day to all mothers and keep up the good work. :)
I agree Becky. It isn’t fair to judge with broad assumptions. Everyone’s situation is unique. There are plenty of screwed up people who came from homes with “family CEOs” and plenty of successful, well adjusted people who came from homes with one parent who worked or two parents who both worked. It is all too easy to be judgemental when you are blessed with opportunities that others may not have had. It is important to work hard and make good choices but it is also important to remember that every life includes a certain amount of… I’ll call it luck… that is beyond our control and presents each individual with varying degrees of opportunity and choice. The best thing a mother can give to a child is love. If you’re a mother who has accomplished that, then you deserve to feel good about yourself on Mother’s Day.
I also agree. What about the moms who struggled with depression so bad when they were home full-time, without the money to explore their own interests?
I was one of those. I struggled with depression big-time when I was a stay-at-home mom, but getting out into the workplace has made me happier and when my child sees me happier, he can think he’s not the cause of sadness and he can learn to be happy too. Not only that, but now we have money to explore places, go on trips, and have a great time together. And my job isn’t so bad either, 4 weeks of paid vacation plus another 2 weeks of sick time.
We gave up our “lifestyle” so that I could stay home, but in the end it turned out to make us all miserable, and that’s not the best way to raise a child either.
My husband and I made the decision for me to become a stay-at-home mom when my son was diagnosed with autism and he needed a lot of in-home treatments. I never realized how lonely it could be at home, especially when your child can’t communicate with you or doesn’t notice you’re even there. I read this article by Jason as more of a “shout-out” to mom’s who happen to be at home — either by choice or not. It’s nice getting a pat on the back and that doesn’t mean a pat is being taken away from all the other hard-working moms out there. Oh, and the good news is my son is as close to being like neurologically typical kids as possible! He joins a regular first-grade classroom next year :)
Thanks, Jen. I’m glad you appreciate the pat on the back, that’s what was meant :)
Great to hear the news about your boy!
LOVE this! So true!
Hi Jason and Kim:
Love this…both the illustration and copy in the post! Thank you, mom, indeed!
Lots of thoughtful comments on this post!
The main purpose in writing it was to celebrate and validate and champion stay-at-home moms (and dads) who are often seen as second class citizens in our society. I also wanted to give some food for thought to those who aren’t but may haven’t seriously considered it as a viable option.
For those who have been mindful and intentional about their decision — whatever it may be — I salute you! There are too many people out there sleepwalking through life. (More here: https://escapeadulthood.com/blog/2012-10-10/its-time-to-opt-out.html
As is always the case, it’s not my aim to tell people what choices they SHOULD make. I just want them to be making them on purpose.
Thanks for reading!