From power lunches to Power Rangers;
How executive moms juggle the daily grind
By Wendy Burt
How is it that you've managed to climb your way to the top of the
corporate ladder and yet still can't maneuver your living room without
tripping over toys? Sure, you're the only woman in town who can boast an
equal knowledge of trading stocks and Pokemon cards, but with an 18-hour work
day, sleep is currently your hottest commodity.
Unlike the June Cleavers of yesteryear, today's executive moms often carry
the double burden of maintaining a house and working full-time outside the
home. (Not to mention that with the divorce rate higher than ever, many of
these double-duty moms jump to virtual Superwoman status without the help of
The fact that you and other executive moms exist is proof that it
can be done, however draining and stressful. Whether single or married, you
and your female counterparts demonstrate that you can have your cake and eat
it too. The question now is, "How do you find time to bake the cake?"
COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING
"Raising two kids and working full-time is as close to impossible as it
gets, but it can be done." says Penny Boyd, Regional Procedures and Reporting
Coordinator for Arch Communications. Boyd's strategies for success? "It
helps that I have a husband who works from home, but there are times when he
can't take the kids to the dentist or pick them up after school. Since I know
in advance, I'll plan my meetings through the lunch hour and take my lunch at
3:00 p.m. so I can pick up the kids."
"I'm also very careful to communicate with my supervisor and employees.
They know that my family comes first, and I let them know in advance, whenever
possible, if I have commitments with my children - a softball game, a
doctor's appointment, choir practice- this helps everyone know when I'll be
out of the office."
PASS THE BUCK
Let's say you're the executive of a huge company. You've got piles of work
on your desk and meetings scheduled all day. The phone is ringing off the
hook and the postman just delivered a stack of mail the size of a small
European country. The rugs are filthy, the garbage is overflowing and the
break room smells like rotten eggs. What would you do?
You'd get some help, of course! You'd march into your boss's office,
explain your situation and demand the money to hire a receptionist and/or
cleaning person. (Hey, you didn't get to the top by keeping your mouth shut!)
By presenting your case with the facts - "Here's what I need," "Here's why I
need it" and "Here's what it will help me accomplish" - your boss would be
hard-pressed to say no.
That said, what's keeping you from doing the same thing at home? If there
are more clothes on the floor than groceries in the fridge and you can swear
you saw your dirty dishes move all by themselves, it's time to call in the
cavalry. "Sit down with your family and tell them what you need," says Jancy
Beuckers, C.E.O. of Earhart Productions, a Texas-based antique automobile
company. "Whether it's asking your husband to wash the laundry or having
your five-year-old pick up her toys in the living room, you need to be
"Both my 12-year-old and my 14-year-old have their own responsibilities
around the house," says Boyd. "I'm pretty lucky in the fact that if they come
home and see the dishes need to be done, they do them."
If you're single, your husband works as much as you do or your kids are
too young to help out, take the plunge to hire some help. "Bringing in a
cleaning person just one day a week may be all it takes to make you feel in
control of your home life again," says Bueckers, who often works from 4:00am
until 8:00am while her daughter is asleep at home. "Or, if you've already
got a nanny, offer to pay her a little extra to cook, shop or clean. Chances
are it'll be worth the extra money for both of you - and if it's not, you can
always change your mind later."
Part two: Learn to Prioritize