Jewish World Review Feb. 27, 2004 / 5 Adar, 5764
Family there to give Mom the business
Whirlpool, the maker of washers and dryers, conducted a survey and
found that 40 percent of women attempt to run their homes like a business.
That concept might need a second rinse.
The problem with running a home like a business is that a business
exists for the purpose of making profit. Home and family, as most of us
know them, do not make profit; they consume profit.
Whirpool, sudsing with enthusiasm, has even coined a name for
this new business-minded breed of home manager - Chief Home Officer, or
more affectionately known as CHO.
I don't think the term CHO is going to catch on any time soon.
When you say CHO it sounds like a stifled sneeze or coarsely ground pepper
caught in the back of your throat.
"Hello, I'm Janet and I'm a certified public accountant. What do
"I'm Nancy and I'm a CHO!"
Personally, I admire women who bring organization to a home. I
admire women who bring corporate efficiency to domestic operations. I
admire women who can stay awake after 10 o'clock at night.
I'm simply suggesting that the concept of running a home like a
business may have considerable limitations, especially when it comes to a
shared understanding of business terms and concepts between the parent and
Ask a middle-level manager what a performance evaluation is, and
the answer will be about "exceeds expectations, meets expectations, does
not meet expectations." Ask an adolescent girl what a performance
evaluation is and she will tell you it is the conversation that takes place
at Steak 'N Shake following the viewing of the movie, "Win a Date With Tad
Throw out the term communication problem and a business exec will
say it is when colleagues talk more than they listen. A kid over age 12
will say a communication problem is living with a dial-up internet
connection when everybody else has high-speed cable.
To a business-minded adult, a dollar shift is when the company
moves money from one division to another. To a kid, a dollar shift is that
unpleasant moment when Dad asks to borrow a twenty because he hasn't had
time to get to the bank.
Most parents know that a mutual fund is an open-ended fund
operated by an investment company. Children, by contrast, are likely to
consider a mutual fund what happens on a Friday night when a small group of
friends pool their money to order pizza.
401(k)? You may think it is a contribution plan offered by your
employer for retirement purposes, but there's an excellent chance your kid
believes 401(k) is a garage band north of Philly.
You work hours at a business. You open, you close. There are no
closed hours in a family, no time when you bolt the door and flip over a
sign that reads, "Please, Come Again." No, a family is like a Quick Stop,
open 24/7, serving strong coffee day and night, but minus the fresh staff
that clocks in for a new shift every eight hours.
In the business world, you are compensated with a paycheck,
benefits and a couple weeks vacation. In the world of home and family, you
are compensated with weekends spent sitting on hard gymnasium bleachers,
pleasant Sunday afternoons and an occasional good night's sleep. Sometimes
there are even perks like bad ties, heartfelt cards and spontaneous hugs.
Those aren't exactly things you can take to the bank, but any CHO
will tell you they are rich rewards in their own right.
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© 2001, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids and "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.). To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
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