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Mom-in-Chief: How Wisdom from the Workplace Can Save Your Family from Chaos Hardcover – February 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Woolf, a columnist for Working Mother magazine, addresses the universal work/home harmony issue: how can a successful executive use her leadership skills to make her household happy, more efficient and stress-free? Bringing leadership skills to parenting might seem like a real survival strategy to an overwhelmed exec/mom, and the author draws similarities between managing a business and managing a family—including the old saws of setting goals, cultivating self-awareness, fostering a healthy culture, managing crises, navigating difficult relationships and balancing priorities. In applying the concept to a variety of family scenarios ranging from recalcitrant husbands through defiant toddlers and oppositional teens to never-ending household chores, she covers everything she believes a smart career-oriented woman needs to know to unleash her parenting potential. Using the keystones of transformational leadership (influenced by The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes), it might be possible for overworked executives to feel less like overburdened servants and more like competent, effective family leaders. All that is well and good, and reading this might help some women feel better about themselves, but in reality, a family is not a business, spouses are not executives, and children are not employees. While this may be a mom development book, its premise is slim and its contents stretched and repetitive. The more realistic question might be: how can parenting skills make better executives? (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Mom-in-Chief is the best book I’ve read for the working woman who has it all together at the office but completely loses her cool when she comes home to find the baby in the kitty litter, and the husband watching Celebrity Golf. Her tips and strategies are brilliant, her stories inspiring, and her book very smart, funny and useful." —Michele Borba, author of No More Misbehavin’ and Building Moral Intelligence
"Jamie Woolf, 20 year veteran in leadership training, has taken her corporate coaching skills into the kitchen and finally taught us that it’s not about child development, it’s about mom development. Not a bunch of theories, just clear cut leadership skills that you take out of your tool box when needed - bedside reading for every conscientious mother – or father."—Alexia Nye Jackson, Founder and CEO of MOTHER: THE JOB
"I was VERY impressed by the whole premise of Mom-in-Chief. That's a good sign, since I am the least corporate person on the planet and all leadership jargon gives me the hives. But Jamie Woolf makes it sound reasonable, rational and very helpful. I feel like I'll be a better mom already." —Regan McMahon, author, Revolution in the Bleachers: How Parents Can Take Back Family Life in a World Gone Crazy Over Youth Sports
"Jamie Woolf understands how workplace skills like leadership and team building can help families flourish. But she also has a deep understanding of the differences between how women and men operate both in the office and at home. That’s why her book is original and exceptionally valuable to all mothers who work. Her specific tips and techniques are useful, insightful, and useful to all of us." —Michael Gurian, author, The Wonder of Boys, The Wonder of Girls, The Minds of Boys, and Leadership and the Sexes: Using Gender Science to Create Success in Business
"Jamie Woolf utterly dispels the notion that motherhood is a leadership detour. Instead, she makes a strong and compelling case that good parenting not only requires real leadership skills, but strengthens them. The more women come to believe that the skills they learn before their children are born will make them better parents -- and the leadership skills they hone as parents will make them better at everything else -- the more forcefully they will demand more flexible workplaces and take their place there as leaders and decision-makers."—Dee Dee Myers, author, Why Women Should Rule the World; former White House press secretary
"Mom-in Chief is lively, readable, and right on with great advice for working mothers. Finally, an author makes a real connection between the workplace and the home that resonates and illuminates. Jamie Woolf writes with authority, compassion, and common sense. As a mom trying to juggle a family, a job, and a life, I saw myself on every page of this book. Sometimes, I was the "do", sometimes I was the "don't!" But now I have Woolf's real life examples and principles to use a guide in my everyday parenting. I am going to put "Mom-in-Chief" on my business card. —Lian Dolan, author, Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses; co-founder of Satellite Sisters
"I love that parents can translate their leadership skills to parenting WITHOUT making their homes look more like their workplaces. Mom-in-Chief clearly shows parents that they already have the skills they need to parent in a way that is more fun, more effective, and more rewarding. Say good-bye to exhausting end-of-the-day meltdowns and frustrating battles with food and homework: being a mom doesn't have to be so hard."—Christine Carter, Ph.D. , Executive Director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley; author of the blog Half Full: Science for Raising Happy Kids and Raising Happiness
"Being a mom means being a leader, and that is exactly what Jamie Woolf explores in her delightfully engaging, masterfully researched, and highly practical new book, Mom-In-Chief. It's chock full of real life, down-to-earth, at-home leadership stories that every mom can relate to. Woolf provides quizzes to assess leadership approaches and activities to help strengthen leadership abilities. If our society is going to develop more exemplary leaders who will guide us into the future, our moms are going to be playing a vital role in that critical endeavor. Moms, there is no better way I can think of to begin preparing yourself for that job than by reading Mom-in-Chief. And Dads, don't let the title put you off. This book is also for you." —Jim Kouzes, Award-winning and bestselling coauthor of The Leadership Challenge; The Dean’s Executive Professor of Leadership Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University
Top customer reviews
"If you've ever thrown your hands up in frustration over a pesky toddler... then Mom-In-Chief is a must read!"
My toddler's middle name might as well be trouble. I have recently learned that her pesky side comes from boredom. Having this knowledge is certainly helping our relationship but prior to this knowledge things have been difficult for me and her. Though, I still feel like I need certain tools to help her and me.
Working Mother magazine is one of my favorite ones I subscribe to. I love reading about other professional mothers who thrive on business and family life. During a recent issue of Working Mother they showcased Jamie Woolf's Mom-in-Chief. I knew I had to give this self help book to try to incorporate my business skills with my home skills.
Mom-in-Chief states that it will help with things like:
How to maximize the learning opportunities that come from mistakes
How to stay connected with a pesky toddler or testy teenager
How to create rituals that strengthen the family's esprit de corps
How to feel less like a maid or short-order cook and more like a skilled leader capable of unleashing the potential of others
When to step in and when to step back
Why working with your spouse or partner is crucial to executive function and team happiness.
I found this self help book to have some great tips. I felt, though, when Woolf began breaking down the type of parent you may be, called Mom Modes that it made me zone out. After taking the online test since the book version was too long and confusing it was determined that I am a: Foster Individuality - Liberators type parent. Which means that it is important to me to foster my daughters individuality and uniqueness. It seems I care more about that than I do about emotional attachment and achievement.
The best part of the book was hearing the stories of other parents' experiences with their children. The stories explain what they did right and wrong. Also, they explain what could be done different next time. These made the biggest impact on me.
For business oriented moms who need help with running their households and raising their children the way they want them to be raised, Jamie Woolf's Mom-In-Chief might be the must read.
Jamie Woolf's book helps busy parents bring the leadership skills they learned in the workplace back home, to adapt and apply those skills to family life. I appreciate several aspects of her writing: Mom-in-Chief is a book about parents as much as it is about kids; Jamie is very supportive, non-judgmental, and goes out of her way not to pile on Mommy Guilt; and her ideas are fresh and useful. Also, Mom-in-Chief really honors the skills that parents acquire at their careers, as well as the work they do at home. In my opinion, working Moms still often get criticized when they should be supported. Jamie builds them up without tearing anyone else down.
Mom-in-Chief is aimed at Moms, but I think that many a business-minded Dad would appreciate it, too. It's a solid, well-researched leadership book, and Jamie writes in a way that could reach some men who would only reluctantly pick up a parenting book. I plan to share it with my husband. He and I have different styles and Mom-in-Chief has helpful information about how to meld our different approaches into a strong, cohesive parenting partnership.
[One final point, there are several "Mom CEO" books with similar titles. This is NOT the type of book that has a religious angle and talks about professionalizing mothers as "Chief Household Officers." I am not saying those books are bad, but they are quite dissimilar, and if you are expecting one and get the other by mistake, you will probably be dissatisfied. I mention this because some of the search results on Amazon make these books come up together.]
I especially appreciated the author's willingness to own up to her own mistakes in the book. I think that's unusual in a guide-type book, where the author is always telling you what to do, and not really sharing their own shortcomings. It made me feel more motivated to take some chances myself.
As a single parent, working mom, retired educator and currently psychotherapist, I only wish this book had been written 30 years sooner.