When Mom Boss Leaks Out
By Cathy Baillargeon
As a business consultant, I assist businesses in their internal structuring, system integration and growth management. To put it quaintly, a large portion of what I do is boss people around. And sometimes, just sometimes, my work persona trickles into my family life and plops right onto my kids. Guilty as charged.
When Mom Boss leaks out, I, and countless other mothers, yearn to take charge, research options, determine possible outcomes, bark orders, and come up with a well-constructed plan to efficiently execute. There are crucial times within a household that this is absolutely necessary to get everything done! Hail the Mom Boss! However, this gets more and more difficult to pull off with older kids and their activities, even with a sarcastic reminder them that I have been doing this since they were helpless, squirming infants.
For example, Exhibit One:
The band teacher made the (unfortunate) decision to tell me my son shows some natural ability with the French horn and that he plays quite well for his age. Please tell me I am not the only mother who immediately had visions of their child playing Carnegie Hall and becoming the part-Mexican, French horn version of Yo-Yo Ma.
Ok, maybe not that extreme, but I see opportunity here! Whether it’s my subconscious desperately seeking to live vicariously through my son or gleefully imagining a full-ride music scholarship to a college of Timmy’s choice five years from now after taking a realistic look at the bank account, I decided to pursue growth on his behalf. Hence, the text.
On a side note, I expect any day now to receive a scolding from whichever teacher I accidentally interrupted mid-class with my plans to run my children’s lives via text.
Before I throw myself under the bus for being a meddling mother with unrealistic expectations for her children, I know full well that no amount of pushing or cajoling will bring the results I dream for them unless they are 100% onboard. There is some difficulty in caring about that part of the plan, however, when I am more interested in the expectations created.
Thankfully, this particular Mom Boss move led to the start of many meaningful conversations with my son on pursuing real passions, growing in discipline, and him being the only person to make the right decision on what he truly wants to do.
It’s hard not to show my Mom Boss face when I wish he had chosen differently! As my kids get older and make their own decisions more and more, I must continuously remind myself that, unlike my profession, my support of them needs to come from the heart first, and not from the head.
How do you put the Mom Boss away? Great question, and one I am still beta testing. It has something to do with figuring out how to encourage their passions instead of nag about all the not-so-fun-stuff they’ll need to put in; discuss their steps to achieve their goals instead of telling them how to do so; listening to their ideas rather than talking about the ones I have for them. And slowly, but surely, this newly matured relationship between mother and child becomes something else altogether, one that is better than what I had ever planned or expected.
Cathy Baillargeon is a mother of two teenagers and an associate consultant with Salsbury & Co, a business management consulting firm in Vancouver, WA. In her downtime, she loves reading, working on her farm and spending time with the kids, her husband of 14 years, and their four spoiled dogs.