I Run My Family Like I Run My Business
“If this family were a business…in a way we are business. We have money to handle just as a business has, yet we never make it last one day to the next. But that’s not all we can’t seem to manage. Isn’t there a better way to manage ourselves? Wouldn’t we all be happier if we worked out a little system for living together in harmony? It’s worth a try.”
The above quote is from an amazing education video made in 1949 entitled “Running Your Family Like A Business.” It is a wonderful melodramatic tale full of twists and turns but the main point is interesting. The mother in this video realizes the family needs to operate more like a business. It should be noted that the mother who in the first scene is yelled at by her children for not having dinner on the table by six or pressing her son’s pants is the one that came up with the business plan. You can watch the video here. But with more women now filling the majority of jobs in the U.S., including 51.4% of managerial and professional positions, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, are there work hats overlapping with their family hats? And is that a good or bad thing?
Monaica Ledell of Mommy Breadwinner.com told The Grindstone:
“I DO run my family life like my business (for instance, family accounting happens every Friday evening, meal-planning is on the calendar for ever Saturday evening, etc.) I delegate many of my personal and professional duties to two assistants, plus my hubby! (He works for me!)”
Sara Goldsmith Schwartz, a Managing Partner at Schwartz Hannum PC, told The Grindstone she definitely sees similarities in how she manages her staff and clients as well as her five children and a houseful of animals:
“The juggling act of two sons, one husband, three step-daughters, four cats, one dog and a busy law firm in which I manage 13 lawyers, 13 staff, 600 clients and an endless stream of email…..so how are these similar or different? The key is to identify the priorities and the goals and then filter every task through these tests. For me, my priority is my boys – they are 15 and 11 years old. I started my firm in 1995 when I was pregnant with my older son (now a first year at Phillips Academy).In order to juggle these competing priorities, a fabulous team is essential. Recently, for example, I stayed home with a sick child. Then I was asked to speak live on the radio (the local NPR station), so my husband came home from work to watch my son and I left for Boston. A supportive spouse is essential. My wonderful assistant, Kathie, has been with me for 12 years – she has total access to my personal and professional calendar and she totally manages the calendar – from scheduling all client meetings to scheduling my manicures and personal training sessions. At home, I have a nanny who does the grocery shopping and laundry and drives the boys to and from school (though I drive often as well). The team of people is essential, at home and at the office. I manage my calendar to be available to my boys – to attend the squash match, chaperone a field trip, etc. I cook a family dinner every night and then work again after 8pm so that I can catch up and be ready for the next day.
In sum, create and maintain a great team and keep your eye on the goal – you can grow a family and create a $5/year business.”
But does the structure of a business work with small children? Is this hurting the work/life balance in a way because you aren’t turning the career switch off in your personal life? Consuelo C. Bova, CEO of ForTheFit.com and mother of two young sons told The Grindstone:
“I absolutely run my house as I do my business: efficiently. We maintain clear schedules and everyone knows their responsibilities in adhering to the schedules. Even my youngest, Dylan, understands when it is time to wake up, what to do first, second, third (bathroom, find clothes, breakfast, soccer ball, or whatever is required that day) and her responsibilities to make it happen, as well as the consequences if she doesn’t complete her tasks (she might miss circle time at school, or part of her soccer class- all things she doesn’t want to miss out on). Is this too structured for a family? For small children? Maybe- but it works. I yell less than other Moms I know, because I don’t have to- my kids and husband know where to be and when and with what gear or activities completed beforehand. No grudges building up, no issues- we all know what is expected of us to make it happen- much like in a successful workplace. A little bit of structure, leaves very little room for petty squabbles and lots more time for fun. “
Besides making your family more organized, running your family like you would a business can help financially as well. Personal finance coach Randell Tiongson says, “The household is an enterprise that operates like a business.” For instance, households have revenues (your income) and non-discretionary costs (bills). It needs efficient use of cash flow and wise allocation of resources over time. A household has assets and liabilities which must be taken into account in planning out one’s personal finances. Just like a business, the household calls for people to make logical decisions and promote efficient operations.
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- 6 Reasons That You Shouldn’t Confuse Your Office With Your Family