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The Most Important CEO of All


“I’m participating in the WAHMEO Revolution Blog Carnival 2013, hosted by WAHMderfullife.com and MommyGinger.com. We’ll be sharing our thoughts and experiences on being a WAHMEO. We will also be sharing our reasons why we want to be WAHMEOs. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

I often hear a lot of comments about my decision to work from home instead of seeking employment opportunities outside the home. While most come from a place of concern and are well-meant, they carry with them a hidden subtext: It's such a waste for you to stay at home when you could do something more productive. 

You see, when people hear me say that I'm a work-at-home mom, I think that they choose not to hear the word "work" and instead zero in on the word "home". My response to the questions of "Where do you work?" or "What do you do now?" probably conjures images of me in my pajamas, lounging around and watching TV while my kids play in the other room; in essence, doing nothing all day.

Well, I'd like to clarify matters. In some ways, I don't differ much from the other individuals who get up every day and go to the office. I have tasks, too. I also have deadlines and bosses and annoying clients (and I am not referring to my two kids) to deal with. The only difference is, I deal with them from home. Other WAHMs are entrepreneurs. They run a business and make decent profits, but again, the only difference is that they work from their homes instead of a brick-and-mortar store.

I try not to, but sometimes I get offended when people think that being a work-at-home mom is a piece of cake. It's actually more work than you think, because in addition to our work responsibilities, we also have responsibilities as wives and mothers. That means we are also cooks, entertainers, boo-boo soothers, milk machines (in the case of breastfeeding moms like me), accountants, HR managers, and personal shoppers, among other things. Up until I became a work-at-home mom, I never realized how many things need to be done at home. You see, when you're in the office, you don't notice things like disorganized cabinets, or the helpers' sometimes halfhearted efforts at cleaning, or that your kids' toys are all over the place. But when you're based at home and these tasks are right in front of you, you have no other choice but to deal with it. In addition to that, we have to do all of those things while looking fabulously slim, stylish and beautiful. 

In the past few years, the number of moms who choose to stay at home and/or work from home has increased. More and more moms are running small, but successful home-based businesses, whilst running a household, breastfeeding and practicing attachment parenting. There are more and more women who are successfully managing to juggle the work and home life balance, and I really feel that this is worth celebrating. The sad thing is, only other moms are aware of, and recognize these achievements and there are still a lot of people who think or feel that being a WAHM is a waste of potential. 

The truth is, to be a successful WAHM requires tricks and skills that are no different from being a successful and effective CEO. According to an article published on the Harvard Business Review website, there are three traits every CEO needs to have in order to be effective and successful: realistic optimism, subservience to purpose, and the ability to find order in chaos. 

Let's take the first one, realistic optimism. According to the article, "leaders with this trait pursue audacious goals, while at the same time, remaining aware of the magnitude of the challenges confronting them and the difficulties that lie ahead." The question of being able to balance work and family is a problem that has plagued all working women, an audacious goal to say the least. But the WAHM has successfully managed to achieve this balance. With careful discipline and management, we have the best of both worlds. We learned to use our strengths to be productive members of society, yet we are always present for our husbands and our children. But we know how difficult this undertaking is, which is why we have learned to form communities with other moms like us, to seek encouragement and advice when we most need it.

The second trait is subservience to purpose. While others live to work, WAHMs have learned to work to live. For WAHMs, work can be a means to support our family, but it will never be the center of our lives. Our true purpose is clear, and that is to be wives and mothers. No executive in the world is more driven to succeed than a mother who is determined to give her children the best of everything, because our purpose comes from something deeper than the need for money, fame or success. Our purpose springs from the love we bear for our husbands and most especially for our children. 

And lastly, finding order in chaos. The schedules we keep may seem crazy for some people, what with work responsibilities, household chores and errands and of course, our responsibilities to our families. But a WAHM is able to establish order amidst all this chaos. Diplomatic arguments have nothing on two toddlers wrestling over a toy, and no sales executive is more convincing than a mom trying to coax her son to eat his vegetables, or brush his teeth or go to bed. Put a WAHM in a disorganized, chaotic corporate world and she'll have it running like a tight, efficient machine in just a few weeks. But if you put a CEO in a fancy suit in the middle of a suburban home with two squabbling kids and he'll be needing therapy in a day.  

I'd like to end this post by saying that all moms should be celebrated. Whether we work in an office, work at home, or don't work at all and just focus on caring for our families and raising our children, at the end of the day, we are all just loving mothers who want to give our children the best of everything we can. But for all the WAHMs like me, a special hug and pat on the back goes out to you, because while you may not be the CEO of a Fortune 500 multinational, for your kids, you are the CEO of the most important organization in the world.

An advanced happy mothers' day to all of us moms! 

Here's a link to the other entries in the WAHMEO Blog Carnival 2013:
SHED: Thoughts of An Aspiring WAHMEO
Working MAMA: On Wanting to be a WAHMEO
Davao Mommy: The WAHM Lifestyle: Realities, Duties and Fulfillment
City Girl, Country Home: Precious Gems for You Work-At-Home Mommas

4 comments:

Marie Angeli Laxa said...

Hi, Dianne! This is a great post. I agree with all three traits, but I especially relate to the second one. Before I gave birth, I used to think that my life would revolve around building a career. Now, I find it funny. Why would I let my life be defined by work? I'm worth so much more than that! :D

Davao Mommy

Martine said...

Dianne: Awesome post. Your last point is totally true: As long as we know our intentions as moms and we are TRUE to those, we will work to be the best moms we can be, regardless of our being SAHMs or WAHMs or working moms! :)

Thanks for joining the Blog Carnival. Good luck!

Mich Nicolas said...

Hi Dianne! Mich here from City Girl, Country Home. I was saying to myself, "Correct!" Because some people ask like what I do at home; maybe they think I'm on vacation or something, hahaha. Living in both worlds as a WAHM and also as a working mom, I must agree that more often than not, it's more challenging working from home — especially with a son who calls me like...every 5 minutes! But God gives such grace to women, don't you think, as we are able to manage somehow! Blessings!

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