Family Life

What’s worse? Managing 13 employees or managing a 3 year?

Our staff has doubled in what feels like overnight. I knew we’d be adding headcount when we went from a 1600 sq ft office to 7000 sq ft. It’s been a blessing though to add these extra hands, they all have come to us with experience and without placing ads. And the all our staff are truly awesome individuals.

Managing 13 employees mostly from home is not without difficulty though. I kind of abide by a ‘let them self-manage’ philosophy. We basically have 3 departments within our practice and there is a subtle hierarchy in each department, but no one is each others ‘boss’. Ultimately Dr. Hubs is the boss (and I’m his trusty sidekick). So everyone is expected to respect and help one another. If they ask me a question that really should be answered by someone else I direct them to that person. And if there is a decision that needs a few more points of view we bring them in to voice an opinion.

Bottomline, we manage from a big picture perspective most of the time. And if someone is repeatedly making mistakes or causing issues then we start managing on a more detailed level to try and correct and improve. I’m sure there is a specific name for this style of management, but really for us its about being adults and everyone doing their jobs to the most excellent degree.

Now at home I manage a 6 year old and 3 year old. The terms are completely different. Our 6 year old Hannah has been through a lot of change in her 6 years, but I’ve instilled in her an independence followed by a certain level of healthy fear and respect. When she misbehaves I generally give her one warning and ask her to say ‘yes ma’am or yes mommy’ so I know she understands me. I also ask her to help me with special things a lot. She loves to help me with work projects, organizing and cooking tasks. And in turn I give her the respect back and give her space to play her games, make messes and just be a kid.

Julia our 3 year old. She’s a different story. I’ve come to terms that 3 year olds are simply not human. Their little bodies and minds are taken over by alien beings for about a year and then returned to earth around the age of 4. She’s an amazing kid don’t get be wrong, but wow, managing her is harder then 13 employees. I have to give her more warnings about bad behavior then her sister simply because I find she doesn’t hear me. She’s often singing or talking to herself and tunes everyone and everything out. If we transition from one activity to another without her knowing she freaks out. So we give her ‘heads up’ a lot. For example: ‘Heads up Julia, we are going into the house to have lunch in 5 minutes’. But again I have to tell her 3-5 times and still ask her to repeat what I said or respond with ‘yes ma’am or yes mommy’ so I know she heard me. She’s truly in her own world.

Most recently Julia has taken to sleeping in my bed with me again. Not the most ideal thing when I’m 8 months pregnant and plan on co-sleeping with a newborn soon. We’ve tried bribing her with a new doll if she can sleep all night in her own bed. So far it hasn’t worked, but I know this kid tends to do things in her own time so I’ll give her a grace period.

If I’m being honest with myself (and you) I find most days, not all though I find managing the kids and our household to be the harder then our 13 employees. Maybe it’s because kids can go from normal to hangry in 5 minutes. At least with your staff they know when to eat and indulge in the food stocked in the break room when needed. Kids don’t do that. I have to wait for the signs of hangry then calm them down and ask if anyone wants a snack to which their reply is always ‘yes, we’re SO hungry!’. I’m not in the business of starving them, they could have mentioned said hunger earlier but didn’t.

The other thing I find most challenge is keeping our household cleaned/stocked/running smoothly. The office seems to always have at least one person always willing and capable of taking out garbage, tidying the break room, running out for some groceries to stock the break room or just keeping things going. We have some very tidy people on staff who get anxious when too many empty boxes pile up so they are always running things to the dumpsters. At home its on me (or the nanny) to take out garbage (let alone remember garbage day!), keep the grocery list going on the fridge, get the laundry done before we run out of clothes and  somehow tidy the house around the toys. It’s hard to maintain and inner peace at times amidst the daily chaos.

At the end of a day I measure my success with two scales:

  1. did the business have a good day? No crazy emails or calls, and we made money.
  2. did my kids go to bed healthy, happy and tired?

If I can say yes to both then I lay my tired head on my pillow and drift off to sleep with the help of unisom to start another day of managing all the chaos that is business + motherhood.


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