I am often asked what exactly is a CDO, Chief Domestic Officer. It is more than a fun title for stay at home parents, it encompasses all that we do on a daily basis. A CEO oversees all departments within a company, but a CDO does what all departments do in a company (in this case, “company” meaning household.) Here is everything a CDO does…
Finance – Paying the bills, balancing the checkbook, keeping the budget, cutting coupons, filing for rebates, negotiating/researching best price. Payroll (AKA allowance) must also be processed. Take flack from all departments for not giving them enough budget to work with.
Marketing/Sales/Business Development – Pitching your child (children) as someone who is fun to play with, well behaved and easy to babysit. Finding play dates and keeping them! If all goes well, you can negotiate carpooling and sitter swapping. Volunteering for school/sport events. This also includes your personal social media and blogs to keep in communication with the adult world.
Human Resources/Administration: Ahhh, the peace keeper. Making sure everyone is following the rules and playing nice with one another. Keeping all schedules and being on-time. Organizing birthday parties and other important events. Housekeeping falls under this category to include cleaning, laundry, home maintenance (researching, scheduling and interviewing contractors) and all other general administrative household tasks. You cannot forget training – such as potty training, manners, homework, chores, playing well with others, accountability, etc…
Purchasing – Grocery shopping, clothes shopping, any type of shopping and errands to make the household run smoothly, whether online or in-store. You suck up to Finance so you get more budgetary leeway.
Shipping/Receiving – How else are all of those Amazon.com boxes going to get unpacked, inspected and returned if necessary. Invoices go to the Finance Department. This also includes sending out mail correspondence such as bills, birthday/anniversary/get well cards, etc. and distributing incoming mail to the appropriate department (including the circular file).
Research & Product Development/Engineering – Someone needs to be able to decipher the Lego(R) instructions or any other toy that requires assembly. This also includes R&D of crafts and games to make sure they get 4+ stars in Amazon.com reviews – this must be conveyed to the Purchasing Department so they don’t order the wrong thing or Shipping/Receiving gets all upset for making them do double work. Sometimes, Quality Control (AKA your child) rejects a product and you need to start all over.
Transportation – Driving to and from school, or missed bus duty, sports events, school functions, birthday parties, play dates, back to school for forgotten homework, out to Target at 8:00pm to complete a school project due the next day, Dr. appointments, Urgent Care/ER and the like. You get the idea – that gas budget the Finance Department set really needs to be larger!
Cafeteria – This is where all of the food prep takes place. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Assembly of to-go meals and sit-down dinners. Not just for your family, but for your children’s friends who also find your cafe to be their feeding trough as well. Again, Finance really needs to loosen those purse strings or do a better job providing coupons and discounts!
First Responder – Cuts, scrapes, banged heads, cold/flu, cough, runny nose, rashes, allergies and the occasional eraser up the nose. Remember, you are only the first responder, so this will also include doctors appointments or Urgent Care/ER if it is beyond your expertise! (also see Transportation Department). The First Responder’s self-medication is also allowed [insert your favorite adult drink here] – in this case, the transportation department must be shut down, but the cafeteria will be swingin’!
Finally, yes, there are checks and balances. you must answer to the Board of Directors – AKA your children and the person going to work all day and bringing home the bacon. That is all they ask is a simple executive summary of your day, then you get to listen to them download theirs and everyone is on the same page. Simple as that.
So the next time someone asks you what a stay at home parent does all day, simply direct them to this blog! And please, if I forgot any department or major task above, leave a comment and I will get it included. It can only get bigger!