Mom can you…the problem with Mommy Managers

Wipe up the dog pee! 

Ah thanks goodness all those years of studying, exams and experience in the corporate world can be put to good use. It’s strange really how women get all the “good” jobs and then bizarrely manage to become expert at them.

In no particular order some of my least favorite jobs at the moment include:

  1. Dog Pee and Poopeven the dog knows I will pick up after her!
  2. Chelsea –  Diapers, Poop and all the other fun stuff (joys of disabled life)
  3. Vomit – seriously  gross but doable when it’s one of your own
  4. Snot  – yes there’s definitely a theme here
  5. Cooking Monday to Friday with a nutritional focus on kids
  6. Head Lice – nits and other things itchy on the body. It’s the tropics what can you do….(my sister told me yesterday that the UK doesn’t have “Nit Nurses” any more another classic childhood experience this generation will be deprived of.)
  7. Parent (aka mother) Teacher conferenceswhen I am faced with the reality of my failure to inculcate any discipline into my children. Ability they have – discipline it appears none of us have and therefore we will never make it in the land of the Tiger Mother (Amy Chua book much discussed and debated)
  8. Signing forms – especially school forms which now that we are green and paperless all require me to print them out first before I sign them, negating any green benefit of sending it by email in the first place.

So why do I have this absurd need to be good even at the dog pee tasks of life?

My Theory of Mommy Managers and why we are our own worst enemies and this has nothing to do with Chris Kardashian or women who work…

The Mommy Manager comes in all shapes and sizes and even genders because some men are as prone to it as women. It’s a type of behaviour or management style that is born from a few limiting beliefs around the theme of “If you want something done right, do it yourself” and faster is better” and “the only thing that matters is to get the job done.”

So whether at home or at work a Mommy Manager totally, if reluctantly,  gets that you have to delegate things to others, whether it be a report or tidying up their bedroom. Intellectually they understand, and they may even be aware that we have to give people space to learn, experience, fail even, and grow. Intellectually yes, but, the control freak, impatient, pressed for time mommy manager just wants to get things done. Here’s how it plays out:

  1. Experts in delegation, the task is assigned, explained and performance criteria defined. Deadlines are given. (repercussions for non-performance communicated  – especially with teenagers)
  2. The mommy manager withdraws, reluctantly,  giving delegee time to complete the task
  3. Mommy Manager checks in on the project quite quickly,  sees it hasn’t been done yet / or not done to the defined standard
  4. So MM steps in, takes over and does it herself – picks up all the mess and will tidy up the bedroom,  write the report etc

The result is that the delegee – your child/subordinate very quickly starts to expect you to do everything, learns they will never do things as well as you do or to your standard and therefore stops trying and just waits for you to step in and take over.

Sound familiar?

I was a Mommy Manager at work and I am one at home, and it doesn’t work on any level except to feed your misguided ego that you are somehow indispensable and uniquely talented.

I guarantee you, you’re not – I am sure you are fantastically talented but not uniquely in relation to everyday tasks

So do yourself a favour – Step back, train, coach delegate, be patient  and learn to live with the results of others. It’s the only way they will grow and learn and the only way you will have more time to concentrate on more important stuff.

At work and at home.

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About Sandra F

Sandra Fairclough has more than 20 years international experience as a senior executive & vice president of a major Fortune 100 media company. She is a working mother who balances her life as a management consultant, speaker and coach with her other roles as a wife and mother to 3 amazing and extraordinary children, one of whom Chelsea is a C1/C2 tracheostomy ventilated quadriplegic.
This entry was posted in Children, Disability, Family, Management, Motherhood, Parents, Work and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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