#Winning! The Mom Way by @KathyBuckworth


The big celebrations are easy: Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving…with each, there are established traditions and customs we follow and enjoy.  But what about those moments that aren’t as big commercially, but are just as important, personally?

A poll* conducted by Leger for President’s Choice Financial services finds that the top non-traditional events Canadians consider worth celebrating include a first driver’s license (41%), a child’s first step, tooth, or day at school (27%) a first pay cheque (26%) a divorce (18%), and even a first date (8%).

These are all life events and moments worth celebrating, no matter how big or small. But when you have kids, sometimes the moments that don’t happen deserve a little celebrating too. Consider the times when:

1)    Your teenager takes your car out, doesn’t get even a tiny scratch on it, doesn’t leave behind any fast food wrappers on the floor and leaves you with gas in the tank;

2)    Big brother/sister doesn’t punch, taunt, tease or otherwise annoy his/her younger siblings when they walk past him/her;

3)    The Tooth Fairy doesn’t forget to pay a visit, and no one has to say the words “Are you sure you checked really carefully?” while another person breaks a record running upstairs to find spare change;

4)    All those teeth that don’t need braces;

5)    Teenagers who don’t ask you for money to buy you a birthday present;

6)    A solo bathroom trip during which not one child, or your spouse has called your name. Not even once; and

7)    The only white shirt your 12 year old son owns doesn’t have a stain on it when you find it five minutes before he has to wear it for a school or concert.

Celebrations aren’t all about the family and their small victories. As a busy working Mom, I feel like throwing a party every time I walk in the front door and don’t trip over a knapsack or 14 pairs of shoes, don’t discover a moldy lunch bag, open at the foot of the stairs and don’t realize the chili I put in the slow cooker for dinner has been eaten by a marauding gang of tween boys taking bites between video games.

So the next time your teenage daughter asks if her hair looks okay and her tween brother doesn’t offer up a less than flattering answer, lift your coffee cup in a silent toast and appreciate life’s little victories.


Can You “Getaway” With Only One Of Your Kids? by @KathyBuckworth

Beach Holiday - Starfish

“It’s not fair!” The cry heard around the parenting world pretty much every day, for those of us who have more than one child. Playing the game of “Even Steven” happens from the smallest slight “He got to push the elevator button the last time!” to perhaps what could be your biggest dilemma, taking only one child on a trip with you, and leaving the other(s) behind.

But if you’re like me and have (four) kids of different ages, with different interests, and perhaps most importantly, different school schedules and demands, sometimes it not only makes sense to travel with one solo, it can make good “cents” as well.

A PD Day Getaway is what I had in mind when my youngest son had a day off school, and his older siblings did not. PD days often land in non-peak times (in this case the third week in September), so the travel savings can be substantial.

But where to go? Both my younger son and I like to read, swim, and chill by the pool. (Really though, who doesn’t?)  Traveling to a hotter climate, and particularly seeking out an all-inclusive, at this less busy time of the year, you can find some great deals*.

Spending time with one child allows you to really connect with what they’re doing at school, the friends they’re hanging out with, and what they think about what’s going on in the world as well. We also became quite adept at picking out the accents and languages of fellow travelers – many British, German, and Eastern European dialects. Not forgetting about the kids at home, I was careful to call home but not dwell on what we were doing, but what they were still doing in their routines at home.

Other tips when traveling with one child:

  1. Tell the child you’re taking on the trip about it, first, but have a plan to tell the other kids immediately afterwards. Tell the traveling child to be gracious and consider that others’ feelings may be hurt;
  2. Explain why it makes sense to take the one child: school schedule, cost, interests in location, timing vs extracurricular activities, etc. On the same hand, be careful not to “blame” school or extra sports as a reason why others can’t go, just state it as facts;
  3. Don’t promise that you will make it all even out eventually with other kids, other trips. This may be impossible to fulfill and you will feel like a failure when/if you let them down;
  4. Bring back a small but meaningful gift that shows you were thinking about them while you were away, even though it’s not meant to be compensation for missing the trip;
  5. Try not to bring back a big reminder of the trip with the traveling child;
  6. Share your pictures on social media sparingly, not at all, or when you return, particularly if your other children follow you online. If they don’t, chances are your friends do, who might show them to their children (your kids’ friends!) so consider this when posting;
  7. If you have “inside” jokes on your return, don’t flaunt them in front of the other kids, or be sensitive and share stories with the whole family at once;
  8. Release the guilt and start planning the next trip with another child.

*I used the PC Travel website, an exclusive benefit for PC Financial MasterCard customers like me, and was able to easily enter my requirements for the trip – one adult, one child, three to four day trip, in the sun – only to have many options pop up. Earning double PC points when I booked with my PC Financial MasterCard made the trip seem even more affordable. Important were the all-inclusive details – among them, what was actually included – room, flight, meals, drinks, and transfers. It’s a really good idea, especially when traveling with children, to check the length of the transfer from the airport to the resort. Our choice (the Iberostar Dominicana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) was an easy 25 minute drive.

On Getting Older: Grey Shades of Fifty by @KathyBuckworth


“To be fair, Mom, there aren’t too many people who are older than you.”  The defense from my 14-year-old daughter upon discovering I was not in fact the same age as a man she had just compared me to.

He was 80. I’m 50. She’s never been good at math.  Or tact.

I’m not good at math either or I wouldn’t have had three others just like her, who inform me of my advanced age and deteriorating physique each and every day. It’s not enough my body does its own job of reminding me constantly that I’ve had four children, you see, these people feel a need to remind my brain, as well.  Without them, I might actually think I was not one of the oldest people we all know.  Their frank and honest assessments help to keep me grounded.

“You’re not wrinkly everywhere, Mom”, said my 11-year-old son with sparkling earnestness.  “Just your face.”  Well, phew. I was concerned about my knees, after all. “Mom! Wave your arms! Now stop them from moving!”, as they fall on the floor laughing.

People no longer exclaim “You can’t have a 22-year-old daughter! Did you start when you were 10?”  In fact, they might even ask “Is she your oldest?” Luckily my broken foot, arthritic toe and herniated disk prevent me from giving them a roundhouse kick in my sensible shoes.  Those shoes, which when I wear them, this same 22-year-old daughter is known to say “So. We’ve given up on fashion, then.”

Or the delivery person who said “I normally need proof of ID when delivering wine, but really, we’re good here.” If he hadn’t been holding the aforementioned bottles of wine, I might have taken a swing for him. Even if the punch didn’t land, the flaps on my arms might have given him a mighty slap.  And just because I am a member of the Wine of the Month Club does not mean that I am old. It means that I need wine in the house at all times, and I might forget to shop for it.

I’m so old, I got over being called “Ma’am” about 20 years ago when I turned 30. Holy crap. I was 30, 20 years ago? Man, math sucks on so many levels.

As my daughter sat struggling with her French homework that night, she looked up and said. “I have to translate this. If Madonna were a pizza topping, what would she be?” I said “Having trouble with the French word for something?” She said “No. Who’s Madonna?”

Et voila. I had discovered yet another person, older than me.  C’est juste.

Kathy Buckworth is the author of six books, including “The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood”.  Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyBuckworth.

The New Era of Parenting: Mind Your (Mobile) Manners by @KathyBuckworth


“The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don’t have to pay taxes – naturally, no one wants to live any other way.”

Judith Martin

This quote, from Judith Martin, better known as “Miss Manners” exemplifies the best parts of living like a teenager. But when I was a teenager, which was after cave drawings but before the invention of the fax machine, I was never told by my parents to “Look up from that screen!”. Simply because the only screens that existed were the ones that protected us from being entirely consumed by mosquitoes, given that I grew up in Winnipeg.

While manners simply never go out of fashion, social situations change with each generation. You should still never talk while you’re eating, or lick your knife, and always say please and thank you, but “Mobile Manners” are something that my generation of parenting is having to enforce while never having had to adhere to it as a child, particularly as a teenager.

Reading texts while Mom is talking is the new blank expression. Furiously typing texts while Dad is disciplining is the new eye rolling. So how do we teach our kids what is socially acceptable in the world of smartphones, when we are treading through these landmines ourselves?

Until the passing of Texting and Driving legislation, many parents could be found talking, texting and being generally distracted, something that our young kids observed. I myself used to refer to traffic lights as BlackBerry Pitstops.

A recent PC mobile poll conducted by Leger Marketing shows that we are still not modeling perfect behavior in front of our children, even though smartphones have been around for quite a while, and common sense and legislation tell us to change. 22% of us have typed or texted while driving, 30% of us text or talk while walking, and 37% of us have used our phones in the bathroom.

While using a phone in the bathroom isn’t technically dangerous, it is of course extremely unhygienic…and more than a little off-putting.  Texting and driving is extremely dangerous, and doing it in front of your teenager doubles the danger, as they see our behavior as normal and potentially mimic it when they start driving. As much as they don’t want to be like us, as we didn’t want to be like our boring old parents, they develop their values and norms by watching us.

Take advantage of having a teen in the car to make them your Designated Texter or Talker if you need to communicate while on the road.  But don’t let them take it into the bathroom at the gas station…

That’s just good manners.

Kathy Buckworth is the author of six books, including “The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood”.  Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyBuckworth.

Let Mom Be The Judge of That: Sexism in the Corporate World by @KathyBuckworth


When Peter MacKay, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and notably, father of one,  made the comments that “women don’t apply to be judges because they fear the job will take them away from their children”, and that “children need their mothers more than their fathers”, (according to the Toronto Star),  with one fell swoop, he handed successful working women some more unnecessary guilt, and made Dads everywhere feel marginal, or even, optional, during the first few years of a child’s life. (I’m thinking maybe MacKay shouldn’t go after the Stay At Home Dad Vote in the next federal election.)

There are fewer women than men in every executive office and position of power; that fact is indisputable and statistically easily proven. But continuing to perpetuate the notion that a woman can’t be as successful, or shouldn’t be as ambitious simply because she has a child, versus her male counterpart, is ridiculous. Has MacKay heard of Sheryl Sandberg? Marissa Mayer? These aren’t the only two successful women in the world, although it seems like it sometimes, but they are the epitome of what women, not entirely defined by their motherhood, can succeed.

MacKay’s comments hit the news just as Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin’s “Darling You Can’t Do Both” book hit the shelves, which deconstructs the many “rules” women have to break to find success in the corporate world.  Vonk and Kestin are legends in the Canadian advertising world, and their experiences with gender discrimination and sexism ring true to many, including me, having worked in corporate marketing departments through the 90’s. I had hoped that the next generation of women (women like Sandberg and Myer) wouldn’t have to suffer through the same misogynistic setting.

In the early 90’s, I was employed as a product manager at a bank, and as I crunched numbers in a monthly budget meeting,  was called out to pick up my child from daycare, as she was running a fever of 102. When I returned to the office the next morning, my male manager pulled me in to his cubicle and asked me when he should be concerned that my family was more important to me than my job.  Isn’t everyone’s family more important to them than their job? Was this a Mother Issue? Does it mean that as a woman we can’t have a family and be a judge, or a vice president, or a product manager?

I started looking for another position, at other organizations.  I was being considered for a job at another bank, and the Senior Vice President asked me if I was married, and if I planned on having more children. I advised him that I didn’t have to answer that question (I had two children at the time).  His response?  “I know I’m not supposed to ask you that, but I assume you want the job.  Do you realize that this a real job, not girls playing house?”  I didn’t pursue that job, although I did make a stop at the Human Resources department on the way out. He’s still at that bank; he’s been promoted several times.

“It’s not fair”, said a manager in her sixties, sitting next to me at lunch one day. “Back in the 1960’s when I was your age I couldn’t have a family and keep a good job at the bank. They made us resign when we had children. I had to choose.  I think you should have to choose too.” I think Peter MacKay would have liked her.

These situations happened over  20 years ago, but it pains me that still, today, men in positions of power, who can get media attention, not only make comments like Peter McKay did, but ultimately, that they themselves believe them. Regardless of the fact that perhaps mothers may  have a more biological and emotional role to play in the formative first years of their child’s life (a fact many would dispute), it in no way indicates that they are not capable of doing whatever they want, and need, to do, to be successful and happy. And we all know when Mom’s happy, everyone’s happy, right?

The blanket statement that “women don’t apply” perpetuates the myth that all women, and by definition, are a homogenous group.  They’re not.  Not all women like to shop, spend hours on Pinterest, bake cupcakes or breastfeed.  Just the same as not all men like sports, hardware, and excel in laundry avoidance. As Vonk and Kestin have so accurately written about, it’s time to start breaking some rules, further, it’s time to start making some rules about what we can, and can’t do.

Remember, it’s only work if you’d rather be somewhere else. For the ambitious and successful women who have a passion and talent for what they do, the jobs aren’t taking them away from their children; they’re taking them on a path of professional and personal fulfillment. Can’t we choose to do that without being judged or perhaps even choose to be a judge?

Kathy Buckworth’s latest book “I Am So The Boss Of You” is available at bookstores everywhere.

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop by @KathyBuckworth


“Kathy, not everything is funny.”

I got this feedback from my boss during one of my last formal job performance reviews. My initial reaction was that I found that pretty funny. And so shortly after, I left corporate life and started writing about how really funny it was to try to juggle a full time job and a house full of kids.

I wrote for 20 minutes a day. This was mostly due to the fact that the impetus to leave my job was to start a maternity leave with my fourth child, coupled with the fact that my nanny had decided to take her own leave, of us  (two events I’m not totally unconvinced were not connected).

And so I wrote. And wrote.

Flash forward 12 years, six books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles later, and as I was on my way to a writers’ workshop this week, I ran into that same boss at the airport.

“So how are things going?” she asked.  “ With the writing, and all that.”

“Pretty good”, I said. (You can tell I’m a writer, I know.)

And as she headed off to her business conference, and I to mine, I realized that I should have taken the time to thank her. Because sometimes it’s these “moments of truth” that other people inadvertently hand us that take us from one place to another.

My old boss (okay she’s technically younger than me, but who isn’t) is still in the same industry, although she’s switched companies, and it suits her. She looked great, she was excited about her work, and it showed. It worked for her. What I’m doing works for me. Sometimes we get caught up in what we’re “supposed” to do and we forget all about what we want to do.

Is everything funny? I still wasn’t sure it was. Fortunately, and funnily enough, I was at the airport to head to Dayton to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. I had the opportunity to listen to the hugely successful writer, Lisa Scottoline, known for her female driven lawyer thrillers.

But she has recently turned to writing humour, collaborating with her daughter initially for a column called “Chick Wit”, which has turned into a series of books.  Because, in her words, she felt something was missing when Erma passed away. That voice of family, and humour.

At the conference she revealed that her 94-year-old mother had been placed in hospice. At one point during her talk she actually stopped to check her voice messages before she could carry on. “Is this funny?” she asked? “Of course not. Will I find humour in it? Absolutely.”  She went on to tell a story of her acquiring holy water to keep in the cupboard, for that final moment, only to have her brother almost drink it, mistaking it for gin.

So maybe my former boss was right. Not everything is funny, but finding the humour in even our toughest times  is what makes us human. When you can’t find the humour, it might be time to move on.

The name of my last book? “I Am So The Boss Of You.”

Maybe she was right. “He who laughs…lasts.” Erma Bombeck.

Post Script: Lisa Scottoline’s mother passed away two days after her talk.

Read Kathy Buckworth’s Be The Boss column every month. Buy “I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family The Business” at bookstores everywhere, or visit www.kathybuckworth.com!

SuperNanny? More Like Substitute Mommy by @KathyBuckworth


Self-proclaimed “SuperNanny” Jo Frost has recently released a book, in which she explains how to keep toddlers from running and ruining the lives of parents, and basic instructional advice about how to avoid complete meltdowns in public. Theirs, not yours, apparently. She comes at the angle of disciplining children seemingly better and smarter than any parent. After all, what do parents know? Besides our own children since the day they were born?

I’ve always found her advice, while theoretically sound, is like getting advice from that crabby older lady in the grocery store who shakes her head at your squirming and yelling toddler. Advising on how to discipline children, when they aren’t your own, or when you don’t have children at all, is sort of like me giving my teen son a few pointers on how to dress cool. To the best of my recollection, I’ve never been a teen boy. Or dressed cool, for that matter.

Think about the substitute teacher that comes into a normally unruly classroom. Simply by not bringing any baggage to the situation, he or she is more easily able to establish new rules which the children are more likely to follow. And they’re just as likely to fall back into their own routines with their regular teacher once the sub has gone.

As parents, we have great huge piles of baggage with our children. Try as we might, we can’t tag it “unclaimed” and send it back. We were there from the beginning, and we inherently know that we will be there in the end…the end being hopefully when we pack them off to live their own lives. And so our discipline and our methods are somewhat tainted by the background knowledge of how many times they have previously struck their brother, the number and breadth of ways their sister has insulted them, and the uneasy feeling about the upcoming vacation where everyone will be expected to just get along.

We’re running, in essence, a family business (or of course, the business of being a family) and if you’ve worked in a corporation who has brought in an outside consultant to “fix” things, you know that while most of the advice and business plans that they present is fantastic in theory, (how can it not be when it involves so many super graphs and charts), the odds of effectively implementing these changes and making a real difference in the running of the business is slim to none.

Likewise, when a SuperNanny steps into an out of control household, her single biggest weapon in fighting against toddler meltdowns is that she is simply not the toddler’s parent. This is something, as parents, that we can never replicate, without being charged with child abandonment at the time of birth. What we can do, of course, is to make sure that our children know who is in charge, as I wrote about in my latest book, I Am So The Boss Of You.

Because there is no doubt that SuperNanny is in charge, and is deploying an effective, if not attainable, model of a perfectly run autocratic household. Her advice is really for other nannies, caregivers of children, or know-it-all-unrelated Grandmas in stores, not parents. Not that I wouldn’t hire her to be a Substitute Mom for me, every once in a while.

Kathy Buckworth is the author of “I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family the Business”. Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyBuckworth and visit www.kathybuckworth.com.

A Skier, A CEO & Cindy Brady Walk Up To a Podium by @KathyBuckworth


On a recent media trip to Panorama, BC, I had the opportunity to interview Kimberly Joines, who competes at the World Cup level on the Canadian Paralympic Ski Team, and who is heading to Sochi, Russia for the Paralympic Winter Games in March, following the Olympic Winter Games in February. Kimberly is a “Sit Skier”, meaning she skis down the hill (at record speed, naturally) in a custom built “bucket” and mono ski.

Kimberly found herself in a wheelchair after breaking her back during a snowboard accident. When I commented on her courage and drive to literally pick herself back up and get right back in the game, at a much higher level, she looked at me and said “What else was I going to do? Sit on the couch for the rest of my life?”  I said, frankly, yes, that I thought a lot of people might do just that. In fact, there are some that do that now, with a perfectly healthy back.

Kimberly’s spirit is incredibly strong. She has also decided to be The Boss of her own future.  Stay with me for this next segue way.

Two days later while sitting in a hotel room in Detroit, I found myself watching an old episode of The Brady Bunch. There only are old episodes, as this show aired in the 1970’s. This particular show had their youngest daughter, Cindy, about eight years old, dealing with a bully, Buddy Hinton, making fun of her lisp. When she complains to mom and dad, they tell her to “fix” her lisp by taking books out of the library with lots of “s’s” in them, and reading them out loud. They wanted HER to fix HER own problem.

Today, those parents would be marching into the school demanding that someone change the other child’s behavior. Arguably, this is not acceptable, civil behaviour and I don’t advocate bullying at all, but I do think that parents are quick to either fix the problem for the child themselves, or to go to the school authorities to have them deal with it. While it might be admirable and reflexive to protect our children, eventually, like Kimberly, they’re going to have to have the strong self-motivation to move forward through any type of small or significant obstacle.

Later that same day, I had the opportunity to meet Mary Barra, the first female CEO of a global automobile company, heading up General Motors. Mary, a professional engineer in a profession and industry dominated by men, worked her way up to the very top of the company. I’m willing to bet she has fought her own battles with her own Buddy Hintons as well, to rise to be The Boss. No couch sitting for Mary, either.

The ability to take control and find the motivation to act and advocate for ourselves is a skill set our children, maybe particularly our daughters, need to learn in order to grow up to be world class athletes or CEOs. So the next time they’re facing a “battle”, or a “Buddy”,  take a step back, so they can make a move forward.

(Kimberly won a silver medal in the World Cup event at Panorama Resort just after I interviewed her.  She is keen to gather Twitter Followers leading up to her Sochi performance, follow along with her at @9livesjoines)

R.I.E. Parenting? I Prefer M.O.M. or D.A.D. by @KathyBuckworth


Another day, another parenting theory. You know when you hear the words “Currently taking Hollywood parents by storm” that it’s going to be a good one. And by good, I mean one that might involve chewing your child’s food first for them or something like that. This one? It’s based on the book “Baby Knows Best”, a new parenting style, where the babies are not treated like babies, but like adults. R.I.E., or Resources for Infant Educarers.

No high chairs, no time outs, no yelling. No praise, no soothers, and no toys. I thought the “diaper free” parents were a bit misguided – that one is more about the parents being trained to know when the baby needs to pee rather than training the baby, also I’m sure was developed by a laundry detergent company – but this one really baffles me. I believe in autocratic parenting, where Mom and/or Dad are the boss. Given that premise, part of this philosophy actually appeals to me. The building independence, no excessive praise except for a job well done, and not infantilizing a five-year-old, those ones you see walking around with a bottle hanging from their mouth, or cutting up chicken for a ten year old.

I’m all for teaching kids independence and responsibility – yes, that 12-year-old can make their own lunch and should have been doing so since age eight – but the idea of trying to relate to babies as adults presumes that the babies will give you the same courtesy back. Not too many of my adult friends ask me to wipe their bottoms, spit food in my face, or ask to be carried. I would suggest that if you do have friends like this, the most adult thing you can do would be to dump them. The challenge is society frowns on dumping babies if they do the same to you.

Treating babies like adults makes them, in a sense, your equal, which is where I think the theory loses the last of its credibility. In order to raise them, guide them, and (gasp) discipline them, there has to be a clear line of who is really in charge. And if they’re not clear on that as infants, good luck when they get older.

Let’s play this out, shall we? Here’s a real life example: The other day my 11-year-old was fighting for something particular for dinner, he had polled the other kids and announced that the vote was 4-2, in favour of the kids. I told him that would make sense if the kids’ votes were actually as important as the adults’ votes, if they in fact counted at all. So really, the score was 2-0.

On the one hand, no other adult in your home would run a vote about what their host was making for dinner, so he was not acting in a truly adult fashion. On the other, as an autocrat, I had no responsibility to bending to his wishes. And I can tell you as someone who also has adult children; their votes don’t count any more than their underage siblings, in my house. Did I mention I’m the boss here?

Of course, give your children independence where it makes sense, and allow them to make decisions (and suffer the consequences) where you can. But not at the cost of parental guidance. I’d support a Treat Adults Like Babies theory if it resulted in guilt-free naps in the afternoon. Let’s try that one first, shall we?

Kathy Buckworth is the author of “I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family the Business”. Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyBuckworth and visit www.kathybuckworth.com.

Be the Boss: Introducing a Brand New Column by Funny Mummy by @KathyBuckworth


Welcome to my new column, Be The Boss.  After writing Funny Mummy for over ten years, my focus, and much of yours, I’m sure, has shifted and I’m going to offering advice, humour, and (of course) commentary on how we , as busy moms, can take control of our family, business, and personal lives by acting as smart CEO’s of each of these areas.  I thought an appropriate place to start would be at the beginning…at the beginning of my book “I Am So The Boss Of You”, which basically outlines my entire philosophy in this area. So, here it is, enjoy, and please join me in thanking the many smart women (and a few men) behind the websites who share my words with you.

“You are not the boss of me!  ”Hey, Mom! Yes, you! The one running to the fridge to pour your eight-year-old son a glass of chocolate milk before he has an epic meltdown (just as you’re about to go out with your friends for the first time in six months). How many times have you heard that expression? Come on, you know you have. What’s that? You’ve lost count? Of course. I don’t care whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at home mom, a work-from-home mom, a single mom, or an empty-nest mom. It doesn’t matter if you live in North America, Europe, India, or on Planet Xenon. And it makes no difference whether your children are toddling, walking, or driving. If you have children – any children at all – you

have heard that annoying pronouncement several thousand times: “You are not the boss of me!” It’s been screamed at you by Michael, in the midst of his full-on tantrum in aisle three. It’s been spat out by Jennifer, followed by a delightful teenage stomp-stomp-stomp-slam. And it’s quite possible (you’re not entirely sure because you were sleep-deprived at the time) that little Maria strung those seven words together to construct her very first sentence, at the ripe old age of nine months. Just before she threw turnips in your face.

Oh, yes. You’ve heard that expression. We all have. In fact, we’ve heard it so many times, and for so many years, that we don’t really even hear it anymore. We tune it out. With so many choices and styles before us (and so many other moms waiting to offer, or publicly blog, judgment on our efforts), it’s not hard to see why we’ve been overlooking the obvious. After twenty or so years of parenting, even I was starting to distrust my own excellent instincts (four kids – all still alive, FYI).

And then, in the middle of a two-hour meeting on how to use time more efficiently, it struck me: Why are we working so hard to find the perfect way to parent when we already have an excellent model right in front of us? One that operates efficiently, effectively, and economically? One that millions of people the world over are already employing (though not quite in the way I mean)? One that goes through an audit process, for goodness sake? One that our dear children have been dropping hints about for years? It’s right there – from the mouths of babes, as they say: “You are not the boss of me!”

Oh yes, my little friend, I am! I am the boss of you, in every imaginable way. Physically, mentally, financially, parents rule – basically, we’re at the top of the food chain. We get to tell our children when to go to bed, and we get to choose their mealtimes and what is served at those meals. We select their extracurricular activities, and, for a (ridiculously) short stretch of time, we even get to pick what they wear. Perhaps this generation of parents needs to take a moment to remind itself that we really are The Boss, El Presidente, Le Grand Fromage.

Excerpted from “I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family “The Business” by Kathy Buckworth, McClelland & Stewart, 2013. Available at Chapters, Indigo, Amazon, Kobo, and soon on Audible. This book has recently been optioned by Warner Bros. Television.  Visit www.kathybuckworth.com and read “Be The Boss” every month.

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