I’ve been thinking about all the little things it takes to run a household / life, and how many things both I and my husband do to keep things ticking over that we each aren’t aware of – its only when things don’t happen that we realise that someone else has been taking care of these things all along. I’ve been thinking about how, when you are at work, you have job descriptions detailing exactly whose responsibility each activity is, and I wondered – imagine if you treated your life, or your family’s life, as if it were a business…..
Imagine having a job description for a mum? It reminded me of this advert. There is something about seeing things in black and white that really works for me. There are actually loads of mum job descriptions out there, but they are all funny ones – imagine if there was a real mum JD template you could customise? Also, imagine if you were remunerated accordingly? Ca-Ching! (haha ok so that’s a joke).
But I also think it would be good to get a feel for what Dads do too – I know I sometimes take that for granted. I just think transparency could be helpful…. as long as it doesn’t lead to point-scoring of course 😉
Warming to the theme, I started to think about family strategic planning – wtf?! But seriously, imagine if you had a family vision and mission statement? I’m not entirely sure what that might look like, so of course I just googled it, and read this lovely post from art of manliness. It gives great advice on how to develop a family mission statement. I would make a mission statement one sentence myself, but whatever works! I definitely think that there is great benefit to be had in developing clarity on your family’s values. In this way, I think you are consciously co-creating your own family culture – “this is how the Jones’ do things”, “This is the Smith family way” etc. I quite like that idea, as long as it is a positive enriching culture of course. To this end, it would be helpful to have your family vision, mission and values up on the wall for everyone to see.
I love the idea of setting family strategic goals and doing annual planning – it would be awesome to feel as if you are all on the same page and working towards something together, and to have a sense of collective achievement. I love planning. Alas, my husband does not – he is more flexible-make-it-up-as-you-go-along. But I think he would be open to it. This is where you might also start to develop your family traditions, another idea I love. I have a feeling that having a few regular, reliable activities would really create a sense of comfort and stability for me (something which I lacked a bit of as a child).
When to do this?
As with everything, where the hell do you find the time to do these things? And don’t most strategic plans sit in a cupboard gathering dust? What’s the point? I think any conscious thought helps plant seeds to take you in the right direction. And you don’t need to do all of these things at once. You can do them slowly over time, and add to them as your family grows and develops. It would actually be great to start these before you have kids, but I think any time you start is quite alright. What I think is important is the process – that everyone is on board. This might be tricky to do with little kids, but should get easier as they get older I imagine. I don’t think the process needs to be onerous either – it should be fun! And done is always better than perfect – remember, it is something that will develop as your family develops, so don’t worry about perfecting it – just get something out there, and see how it goes. Of course, you can always go full-on and formal too, with weekly check-ins and family annual planning workshops – whatever works for your family.
Maybe this sits within values, but I wanted to make a separate note on this. I think it’s really important that we not only focus on ourselves, but understand our connections to others in the world and our role in it. I’d love to see families focusing on what they would like to do to add value to the world and how they would go about it, just like businesses nowadays do. What is your family’s commitment to give to the world?
What would you do first?
Whilst the idea of treating your family as if it were a business is a bit strange (your family is not out to make a profit – far from it lol) I think there can be something gained from purposefully thinking about your families goals in this way. I think it could be particularly helpful for people who want to have a different family life to the one they grew up in. I also think it’s helpful to discuss these ideas with your family, so that you can find common ground, rather than assuming you are all on the same page when you may not be, or living your life ‘by accident’ and then being unhappy with the results.
What do you think?
- Do any of these ideas resonate with you?
- Which one do you think you would start with?
- How do you think you would go about it?
- Is there any of the above that you would definitely NOT do?
- And what help might you like/need?
- Or if you have already done any of these, tell us about your family’s values and mission – we would love to hear it!
I’d love to hear what you think, and how this journey goes for you – please share in the comments below or in the Facebook group.