Top 10 Things I learned as CEO of My Family


I’m 22 years in and I’ve learned enough to make a top 500 list! I have three children – ages 22, 19, and 12. I have been home with my children for 19 years now. I don’t care for the title “Stay at Home Mom”or worse the acronym SAHM (sounds like ham and that just won’t do).

I am the CEO of the Family. CEO is a position to be proud of. Write it on anything that asks what your occupation is. If people ask, “What do you do?”, lay CEO on them and watch their reaction. CEO implies smart, strong and in charge. All of the things that you are as a Mom – believe that!

Here’s my top 10 (in no particular order):

  1. Get flexible. Embrace Murphy’s Law – If something can go wrong, it will. Poop happens, literally and figuratively and how you react to it is a choice.
  2. Kids don’t need stuff as much as they need consistent parenting, boundaries, structure, sleep, decent nutrition, fresh air and of course love.
  3. A little fear is a good thing. I have never hit my kids, and I use other methods to let them know I’m running the show.  Say what you mean and mean what you say. Kids can smell weakness in an adult. They will run you ragged if they don’t think you mean business. Run a tight ship. Kids crave law and order, their behavior is best when they know what is expected from them.
  4. There are no redos. Today is the day!  Don’t wait for life to be perfect to take that vacation, to get out there and play outside and be sure to take pictures with you in them! No one will care about your double chin in five years or even tomorrow for that matter; and let’s be honest, could we look worse in five years? Chances are, yes.
  5. Don’t judge other Moms. Leave that to their families and in-laws. 
  6. Get some Mommy friends fast!  If you have never had female friends, now is the time to figure out what your major malfunction is and get over it! You need your peers while raising children. When your kid is a teen, these women are your eyes and ears. Choose a tribe with similar core beliefs.
  7. Nothing lasts.  The good, the bad, the beauty and the pain. It all changes. Even the five year old potty hold out will not graduate high school in a pull up, I promise!
  8. Don’t believe everything you think! Your thoughts lie. Be aware and be kind to yourself. We all lose our cool sometimes. Apologize when you’re wrong (even to your partner). Don’t fight because you feel you’re right, because in the end being right doesn’t feel as good as having peace.
  9. Take care of yourself. You deserve kind thoughts and words. See your friends, take the yoga class, get a pedicure, have a margarita, listen to gangsta rap on volume 10. Do what feels like freedom once in a while.
  10. Ask for HELP! Let me say it again, ASK FOR HELP! No one is going to come save you from the life you created if you don’t speak up, not your mom, bestie, partner, sister – no one!  It is not their job to know what you need. Save yourself, be specific about what you need. Strong people ask for help. If you have to pay for help, do it.
  11. I know I said 10 but this is a big one. If your kid doesn’t seem right, listen to your gut. No one knows your child as well as you do. And do not quit, there is a solution to every problem. Be patient, some things can take a while to figure out. Keep your mind open. Children never want to be difficult. Sometimes they can’t help how they are functioning. 

One of the most important things that precedes being able to take care of your kids, is to be sure to take care of yourself.  If you have issues that you need to work on, be sure to do whatever you can to get that under control.  It will make you a better person and a better mother.  The gift of being a parent is truly one of the hardest yet rewarding journeys you will take in your life. Enjoy all of it! You created this amazing family and You are the CEO for life!


Darlene is life coach and strategist.  You can learn more about what she does at

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