September 10, 2009

Managers of our Homes – Part 3

How to Become a Mom, CEO (aka. Home Manager)

home manager Now that we’ve laid a foundation for this series, I am going to discuss some things I’ve personally begun doing in my own home. I’ll probably also share ideas of ways I plan to continue building on this. I’m not saying I have the answers to all this; I’m learning as I go. One thing I know for sure, since I started embracing the role of Mom, CEO of my home, it has definitely changed a lot of things for me. So let’s get started…

First, I’ll share a little background about myself, in case you don’t personally know me. I’ve been mostly at home for the last 10+ years. I’ve taken the occasional part-time job to help out with finances a few times as needed, but for the most part, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at home to raise our children. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always used this time wisely. But I am learning more and more that each day is a gift from God, and every second of the 24 hours He gives me each day is a blessing I can’t afford to mess around with. So I am striving to become a better time manager, in addition to other things.

Second, this concept of being a Home Manager is nothing new. There are books out there you can pick up and read, which would probably provide you a lot more in-depth information and research than what I’m giving you. I am simply sharing from my heart about a transformation I’m undergoing, in hopes that some of you might share your own as well, if you’ve experienced the same thing. I am a firm believer that we can all learn something from each other. And women should especially be more open to sharing and learning from one another. I love this portion of scripture from Titus 2:3-5, of the Amplified version:

“Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).”

The Household Notebook

I think the beginning of my understanding started taking shape earlier this year when I decided to make myself a Household Notebook. After Rob left, I sat down with all our bills and immediately became frustrated, scared, and nervous when I saw just how much debt we were under. You don’t really realize the amount of debt you have if you don’t make a list and add it all up. Paying $50 here, $225 there doesn’t really make you see how much debt you have. Tallying a total, though, might be mind-boggling if you’ve never done it.

As I sat there with all our bills, I decided then and there that I could either ignore the problem, or I could do something about it. And I knew that with Rob being gone for about a year could either be a turning point for us, or make no effect at all (because our income would increase just a bit). It was then that I purposed in my heart to buckle down, make a plan, and stick to the plan to see some positive changes and results before Rob came back home from Iraq.

It was right then that I realized I could either play around (with my time and money), or I could get serious about our situation (not that it was bad, but I want better for us) and change the course of our path. I have dreams and goals for our family, and I knew that if things didn’t change for us, all those dreams and goals would sprout wings and fly away.

With Robert gone, and the sole responsibility of running and maintaining our household falling totally on my shoulders, I grasped right then and there the importance of me stepping up and taking charge. It was a mental shift, more than anything, when it became clear to me that I am truly the manager of my home. If the water bill goes unpaid and they shut off the water, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. I can’t make excuses and lay blame because I am solely responsible for what happens in our family right now.

And this is the mindset I think I should have had many years ago, but now that I understood it, it suddenly made me feel a lot more important….to my husband, to my children, to our family, but most of all, to myself. If I am managing our home and things go awry that are within reason of my doing something about them, it’s my fault. This was a huge dose of the reality of responsibility I needed. Thus, the birth of my Household Notebook.

As I started building my HN, I felt a surge of excitement and hope course through me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Yes, it was scary listing all our debt and adding up the total. But by facing the scariness of this and doing it anyway, I totally knocked out all fear and felt courage rise within myself, and confidence that we can do whatever it takes to make our family successful.

Here’s the secret: No matter how much you avoid something, it’s still there. It will remain there, like an ugly monster growing bigger every day. Work up your courage to face it, deal with it, meet it head-on.

The fear of the unknown is always worse than knowing what you are dealing with. So if you’ve been struggling in your finances, and you don’t really know what your total debt is, that might be one clue as to why you are still struggling. This is such a simple concept, but one that I ignored and avoided at all costs for a really long time. I didn’t want to know what our total debt was. It was too scary. We struggled to make ends meet for many years. Looking back now, I see that we were flopping in the wind, with no plan at all. That’s why we never got anywhere.

Here’s another secret tip: No plan, no destination.

If you’re going on a road trip to some place you’ve never been to before, are you going to load up your family, get in the car, and just start driving, hoping you’ll get where you want to go? Of course not! You’re going to plan the entire trip with maps, marking rest stops, the best dining areas, and fun pit stops along the way. You’ll probably even figure out more than one possible route, to find the quickest or shortest distance. You’ll plan even further for your trip by stocking up on snacks and drinks, if it’s a long trip, and deciding where the half-way point is to stop and rest overnight. If you’d take such great measures to plan a road trip, why not create a life plan?

So the household notebook is one step in becoming a good Home Manager. You can click here to read more about how I created mine. If you have a Household Notebook, or something similar, leave a comment and share what your system is like.