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Parent as a CEO

There are plenty of CEOs out there who also happen to be parents. I wonder which job they think is harder: being a parent or being an executive. I’d be willing to bet it’s most would say being a parent — hands down.

As parents, we are in total control. There’s no executive board to let us know we’re making mistakes. There’s no oversight committee or legal counsel to warn us of future litigation (in a parent’s case litigation = therapy). There’s no golden parachute clause that lets us coast out, well compensated and happy when we’ve had enough. Nope, we’re more like CEOs of start-ups. We’re doing it all by the seat of our pants hoping our “baby” does well enough to go public. (You know, spin off into its own company…errr…family.) If we fail, we lose everything including our hearts.

It’s because of this that I’ve always agonized over every decision. Long time readers know this already. Am I making the right choice for my kids? How will this affect them in the long run? How can I be sure that I am doing the right thing? We never know, of course, which school, which playmate, which sunscreen will be the most beneficial, so we wing it and hope for the best. If you’re like me you toss and turn and go over every potential outcome.

I used to be a lot worse. Now, I think, I’ve learned that even bad decisions can be mitigated by a lot of confidence. Meaning: Sometimes even if you make the wrong choice — as long as the kids don’t know — you’re still golden. The ultimate, “I meant to do that.” That goes hand-in-hand with never let them see you sweat. As far as your kids are concerned you are in control all the time. For me, that means not giving my kids as many choices. Reciting the “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” mantra more often. It’s actually reduced the number of freak outs in my house these days.

I used to give Big Girl choices all the time except it actually led to a lot of anxiety for her. Was she making the right choice? She’d agonize over decisions just like I did, which manifested itself as panic and raised voices. Now, I tell her what she’s doing and she’s happier for it. Yes, she still gets to make some decisions such as what she’s wearing or what she wants for breakfast, but my husband and I handle all the rest.

Of course, there are some decisions I still stress over. Those are the things that make me leap up into the air, start crying, and jump on my bicycle. Only the warm summer air and the impending darkness can quiet my brain. How about you?

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