..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Professional Mommy

So I have mentioned before that I am training to be a Dale Carnegie Instructor. Since this is a business related course, I live in the tension of how to be real and share the things happening in my mommy world, while still trying to be relevant to the business culture. In this quest, I have been discovering lots of parallels between my mommy job and the job I use to have outside the home.

Here are a few things I have learned in the business world as it relates to my job as a stay at home mom….

Preparation reflects Performance—Part of being ready for a busy work day whether working in the home or outside of the home is preparing both mentally and physically the night before. That means getting plenty of rest and going to bed at a decent hour. I struggle with this because I am a night owl by nature. Somehow when I started staying home, I got into the bad habit of thinking that since I didn’t have to be at a real office by a certain time that it didn’t matter what time I went to bed. What I began to really understand is that this is my job, and like any other job, it is important to get to bed at a decent hour so that I am sharp, on top of things and ready to deal with the “inevitables” that may happen.

Dress For Success—Like any other job, it is important to dress for success! When I feel good about the way I look, it affects my attitude. This in turn affects my performance. Just because my job is managing the kids and the home doesn’t mean that I should lie around in my pj’s all afternoon with my hair all frazzled just because I can. My dress subconsciously affects my attitude and performance just as it would for any other job.

Manage My Time—Learning how to set priorities and manage my schedule to accomplish all the tasks at hand is not only crucial in the professional world, but it is necessary when managing my home. When I worked outside the home, time management was especially important as I traveled all over the city to meet with clients. Because of all the time I spent on the road, it was necessary for me to schedule an “in office day” at least once a week, so that I could accomplish other tasks. In order to accomplish this, Monday’s were designated as “my in office day.” This day was reserved to accomplishing those tasks that could only be done when I was sitting down in my office in front of my computer. It was untouchable to others unless it was absolutely necessary.

Likewise, I realized the same is true as we manage our homes. Why not have an “in office day?” So, Monday’s have become my “in office day.” It is a day reserved for tasks that need to be done around the house. I might even wake up early before the kids to get a head start. Having this one day set aside each week to tackle my home duties has been so beneficial in keeping my sanity. In addition, it has helped relieve some tension I have felt in not wanting to get so busy with things around the house that it steals my attention and focus from my kids (the whole reason I stayed home). If I have one day a week to focus on the down and dirties like mopping, cleaning toilets, doing laundry, etc….(that’s not to say I don’t wash dishes every day and run the washing machine more than once a week), I feel more balanced between accomplishing the things around my home and investing quality time in my kids.

Setting Goals/Having Objectives---Every professional has certain business objectives and goals for the things that need to be accomplished that year so that they are constantly moving and growing; improving their business and or product each new year. The question is what can we do better this year and how can we go about accomplishing it? So, what are our year end goals, family goals, etc…? Are there certain tasks we want to accomplish around the house before the end of the year i.e. clean out the garage, clean out closets, organize the home office, etc… or maybe we want to be more diligent in teaching our kids scripture, or for older children, showing them how to have a personal devotional time with Jesus, teaching them their abc’s, shapes and colors or building their vocabulary, etc… What about goals for our family…establishing a family devotional time, game night, cooking together? We can work these goals for any area of our lives whether it is professional, marriage, home, children or etc…

A study conducted at Harvard University found that only 3% of its graduating class had clear written goals with plans to achieve them. Years later when this same class was surveyed again, it was learned that the same 3% had not only accomplished their goals but were worth more in financial terms than the other 97% combined! In addition the researchers found that the 3% had better health, relationships, and social skills! Those hard numbers are a harsh reality that unless goals are written down, they are likely to become nothing more than a dream that soon disappears.

These are just a few things the professional world has taught me in my profession now as a mother! I am discovering that managing our homes does not mean we lose who we are. That is, we don’t leave behind the gifts, talents and creativity that God has blessed us with…rather we take those things and apply them with the same passion and determination in our profession as mothers. We sharpen ourselves, set goals so that we too are always moving forward, thus improving ourselves and those around us as each new year unfolds.

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