Make a Career Change to Chief Home Officer
- Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Making the transition from the workplace to staying home with your children can seem like retirement. But nothing could be further from the truth. It's really a career change to a more important and demanding job. Stay-at-home moms and dads serve as household executives, in charge of managing their organizations (their families) and leading an "employee" development program for their children. In short, they're Chief Home Officers.
Here are some ways you can make a successful career change to become a Chief Home Officer:
Change your perspective on time. Expect that time will move more slowly for you when you're at home, and that you will have to adjust to repeating tasks throughout the day as you go about your chores and help your children.
Network with other home executives. Join a parent's support group or get together informally yet regularly with other stay-at-home parents to encourage each other and share ideas.
Manage your paychecks. Although you're no longer earning money for your work, you're still paid in other ways. Create a budget that reflects wise stewardship of your lower income, cutting unnecessary costs where possible. Allocate a certain amount of pocket money to yourself each week just to spend on little things for yourself. Schedule regular breaks for yourself to do something fun on your own.
Take vacations. Keep the Sabbath day, worshipping and resting as much as you can then. Get help with childcare and housework from your spouse, friends, family members, and others. Take out-of-town trips just with your spouse at least once a year if you can manage it. When planning a family vacation, consider what each member of the family hopes to get out of it - not just the kids.
Update your wardrobe. Rather than letting your appearance slide, make the adjustments you need to make to fit your current lifestyle while still feeling confident about yourself. Get showered and dressed by a regular time each morning. Replace your office clothes with nice casual clothes. Accept the changes to your body after childbirth. Don't be afraid to have hems let out or shop for larger sizes of clothes and jewelry that will fit you comfortably now.
Seek raises, praises, and promotions. Remind yourself that God has given you a position of great importance and influence - He has placed precious human beings under your care and entrusted you with the task of shaping their lives. Ask everyone you know to compliment and encourage you when they notice you doing something they appreciate. Don't measure your days by your "to do" list. Instead, focus just on what matters most. Consider how well you've used each day to love God and others - especially your children - more. Compliment other mothers whenever you can.
Pursue training and development. Decide to give your job as a Chief Home Officer your best effort. Take stock of your needs and resources, notice the gaps between the two, and seek to fill those gaps. Learn new parenting and household management skills, and improve on your existing skills. Carve out time to strengthen your personal spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical fitness.
Relate well to colleagues and coworkers. Surround yourself and your children with friends, then invest significant time and energy into building these relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Take sick days. Even though a stay-at-home parent doesn't normally get this benefit, it's hard to care for others if you're sick yourself. Plan for such times by crafting agreements with friends and family members to care for your children if you're too sick to care for them. Then, when these same friends and family members become sick, return the favor by taking care of their children. Take advantage of the conveniences technology allows - have your children watch a PBS show on television or an educational video, do your grocery shopping online, etc. Try to prevent getting sick in the first place by eating a healthy diet and maintaining good sleep and exercise habits.
Manage your "staff." Create schedules and routines that help your children get through each day as smoothly as possible. Clearly communicate your expectations to them. Help them understand the relationship between cause and effect. Remind yourself regularly of the core values you want to impart to your children so you can keep those in mind when deciding whether or not to pursue certain activities.
Avert strikes, tantrums, and other labor relations disasters. Model positive attitudes for your children and they'll likely be more positive themselves. Make tasks fun by breaking them down into realistic steps. Make long car trips bearable by providing lots of activities to occupy your children and giving them time for refreshment and amusement. Pray for God's grace to help you handle any stressful situation. Turn grocery shopping from a chore to a fun outing by letting your children help choose the food, talking about interesting food facts, eating lunch or a snack at the store, etc. Plan lots of fun and wholesome activities for summer vacations so your children don't get bored.
Prepare to perform unexpected duties. Realize that there will be times you'll need to handle situations you didn't know would be in your job description. Be humble and flexible. Ask God to give you grace for whatever situation you encounter.
Downsize if necessary. Circumstances change and sometimes will require you to start contributing once again to the family income. So if you need to downsize yourself from Chief Home Officer to take on a job outside the home, figure out how much additional income you'll need to earn, pray for God to open doors for you in a job where you can use the unique talents He's given you, and make the transition as slowly as you can manage it. Ask God to help you serve well in your job while still making home your priority.
Adapted from Becoming a Chief Home Officer: Thriving in Your "Career Shift" to Stay-at-Home Mom, copyright © 2003 by Allie Pleiter. Published by Zondervan, www.zondervan.com.
Allie Pleiter has written for parenting magazines and is a contributing author to the devotional Abundant Gifts. Before changing careers to full-time motherhood, Allie spent 11 years in fundraising and was a frequent public speaker on fundraising and time management. She lives in Villa Park, Illinois, where she is wife to Jeff and mom to Amanda and Christopher.
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