How Business Management Can Help You At Home

In a recent article, I addressed something I've become quite passionate about in the last couple of years; finding a way to utilize my gifts at home.  For women who've primarily chosen to be at home, I think this can be an important topic to address, because it might feel like your God-ordained skills, life experiences and abilities aren't able to be used in that context.  This void sometimes creates confusion and discontentment, especially when women begin to feel that the 9-5 marketplace is the only place they can exercise certain passions - which is simply not the case!  Regardless of how many hours you are home during the week, every woman is called by God to prioritize and manage her home well.  This looks different for everyone, but for me, it's been important to leverage a wide variety of resources as I seek to grow as a home manager.

Here are some things to consider if you find yourself feeling a little bored and unchallenged as a 'homemaker':

Recognize yourself as a manager.
By definition, a manager is someone who is in charge of the administration, activities and development of an organization and the people within it.  Sounds a lot like a mom, huh?  If I were to start a list, I could come up with 20 or more things that I'm in charge of completing, delegating and administrating on a daily basis; including everything from pantry inventory to keeping appointments.  I oversee finances, purchasing, inventory, project completion and most importantly - PEOPLE!  While I'm not the 'head' leader in our home, I do have a significant leadership role in the lives of my children as I seek to carry out the vision my husband and I have for our family.  This is an important task, and it's extremely similar to the role of any other business manager.  Instead of labeling myself 'just a stay-at-home-mom', I try to think in terms of being a 'home manager' as much as possible.  Claim it and recognize that you can take your job as seriously as you want to.

Observe and engage other business managers to learn what they do.
On a regular basis, my husband and I talk about what he does in his own job and how he's managing tasks and people.  I love learning from him and hearing new ideas he has for developing his team and business processes.  When he has a good idea or something that's working well, I try to translate that practice at home (especially if it's something he can get excited about and be involved in).  Even if your husband isn't a manager in his workplace, maybe you have a good friend, parent, mentor or church leader who you can observe in their managerial responsibilities.

Care about productivity and efficiency.
Outline your tasks and responsibilities around the home, and a I guarantee you'll be a little shocked and overwhelmed by all the things you take care of!  A good manager would never go about overseeing all of the aspects of their job without any plan or process.  Instead, they would look at each facet of the job and make sure that those areas are individually functioning as well as they can  to benefit the greater goals of the organization.  This takes thought, planning, regular evaluation and good delegation skills.  Every area of your home management probably needs its own system (even if the 'system' is intentionally flexible).  Cleaning, food purchase and preparation, organizing, budget management, clothing, recreation, and scheduling are all areas that can be carefully evaluated to make sure you are spending your time and resources well to the glory of God!

Learn about leadership development.
Caring for, nurturing and training the hearts of children holds eternal importance.  In some ways, as a mom you have a little 'team' that you are in charge of developing and ministering to.  God has given you a small flock to shepherd, especially if you spend most of your waking hours with your children who look to you as an authority and leader yourself.  Have you ever considered that viewing yourself as a manager who develops other leaders might further validate and challenge you as a parent?  This includes (but isn't limited to):
  • helping your children understand your family's vision
  • recognizing and growing their strengths
  • acknowledging and helping them to overcome weaknesses
  • giving each person in the family clear and important responsibilities 

More and more, as I seek to challenge myself and really grow as a good home manager (of both tasks and people), I find myself seeking out business resources that aren't obviously applicable to the home front.  With a little bit of creative thought mixed with an understanding of my own gifts and passions, I can apply that knowledge to my current full-time job of mother and homemaker.  This is an investment that not only applies at the 'Jensen Residence', but will hopefully be useful in future ministry roles and will certainly have value if I ever re-enter the marketplace.

Some of you might find all of this business talk a little boring, and might even see its application as a stretch.  But I think when women start to see themselves as reflections of God, carrying out his will by living for his glory, they can find purpose in the smallest and most unappealing moments.  Dare I say, this type of identity motivated work can even produce unexpected joy?

Here are some helpful resources I've found if you're looking for a place to start:
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