5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

How mothering and bossing make you even more brilliant at both.



Post Contributed By Jess Critchlow

Jess is the top dog at Light UP Work where she helps digital entrepreneurs with all of their people and team ‘stuff’ so they can build their team and grow their biz. When she’s not coaching, consulting and cajoling bosses you can find her enjoying life with her crazy kiddo and husband in Windsor Canada. You can find out more at  www.lightupwork.com.

Let’s rewind the clock for a second to over a decade ago.

It was 2007 and I was an eager 20 something in my first REAL corporate job.

My boss, Marilyn, was a brilliant woman who was also a beloved mentor for me. She was wise, patient, caring, intelligent and she got shit done.

She was the real deal.

On this particular day, she had an important meeting scheduled with a senior VP at the organization.

She was prepped, ready to wow them (as she always did)…and then it happened.

The school called… again.  

“Marilyn, you’ll have to come and get your daughter, she’s not feeling well.”

With 15 minutes left until her presentation, my boss drove to the school to pick up her daughter, plopped her daughter (and a coloring book) into a seat near me in our shared office, and raced off to her very important meeting.


20-year-old me looked at that 5-year-old and thought…

“I don’t know how she does it. Having kids must make her career life so much more difficult. I don’t think I can manage to have kids and a career, it seems too hard

Fast forward to 2018.

My kiddo is napping as I type (a miracle in itself), allowing me to squeeze just a few more minutes into my workday.

And you know what I’ve only just now begun to appreciate since having my own little one?


Having children made it more challenging for Marilyn’s career… but it also made her better.  


[clickToTweet tweet=”She was the most amazing boss and mentor not in spite of being a mother, but because of it.” quote=”She was the most amazing boss and mentor not in spite of being a mother, but because of it”]


What is it about being a mom that makes us better bosses?


And Why?

In a word: Practice.  

You’ve probably heard the old adage that to get truly masterful at anything you need to practice for at least 10,000 hours. 

Real practice.

The kind of practice that entails mistakes, feedback, and chances to try again.

No degree, leadership retreat, coach, TED talk or book will ever replace good old fashioned practice.

Being a mom means that you practice these skills all day, every day.

You are getting your 10,000 hours at warp speed – no breaks, no vacations.

[su_note note_color=”#FFeae7″ text_color=”555555″]Want more info on how to be a great boss? Check out the latest tips and tricks on Jess’ Blog at lightupwork.com![/su_note]


little kid in office


The 5 Ways Being A Mom Makes You A Better Boss

How mothering and bossing overlap to make you even more brilliant at both.

1. Efficiency and Asking for Help

Your kiddo needs to be at swim class at 6 pm. You have 872 things to do that day. You find a way to prioritize the top 3 things, schedule in the rest, and get that kid to swim class.

Moms are super efficient during their work day because they have to be.

There’s no ‘oh well, I’ll just stay late a couple hours and get it done eventually’.

Nope, not an option when you have to juggle soccer practice, swim class and sew a costume for the school play.

Thankfully it’s not the Middle Ages, so you don’t always have to do it all on your own… but that means you get plenty of practice with efficiency, delegation, and asking for help.


All trademarks of a great Boss (and a great mom).


2. Resilience

There is nothing like mothering to teach resilience.

Your toddler just lost their mind because you gave them the red cup instead of the blue one (how dare you?!).

Your teenager told you how they hate living with you… for the fifth time that week.

Your ten-year-old once again responded with ‘nothing’ and turned on their phone when you asked how school was.

And what do you do?

Breathe, reboot, shake it off, and go back in for more.


As bosses that is exactly what we can bring to our teams: the ability to shake off any setback.

We can have that tough sales call or board meeting and still go back to our teams and be able to motivate them, coach them, give them feedback and be there for them.


3. What Not How… aka Pick Your Battles

The best Bosses are able to decide what needs to be done and what a good end result will look like while avoiding the temptation of prescribing exactly how it needs to be done (also known as micromanaging).

Who is better at this than moms?

We just happen to call it something slightly different: Pick Your Battles.

The kids ate all their broccoli but mostly fed their meatloaf to the dog?

Put it in the win column and move on!

Moms become exceptionally skilled at focusing on the bigger perspective and end goal… and letting go of the little stuff.

Exactly what a great Boss does.


4. Balancing Relationship AND Task

Moms and great Bosses both inherently understand that the task is JUST as important as the relationship.

That finishing a report on time is important… and equally important is having the conversation to find out why your team member has been so withdrawn all week.

That doing homework and getting dinner on the table is important… and equally important is putting phones and iPads away and just talking about what happened that day at school.

Both the relationship AND the task get equal billing.

Sacrificing relationships for the sake of getting shit done is a mistake many of us regularly make… but we learn pretty quickly to correct back (after we’ve paid the price).


5. Mixing Empathy and Bravery

Last but certainly not least… the magic sauce of amazing bosses… a rich mix of empathy and bravery.  

Empathy is the ability to understand another person, read their emotional cues and be able to think from their perspective.

Bravery is doing the hard thing, the vulnerable thing, the uncomfortable thing.

Moms regularly have to bring BOTH to the table, being able to read their child, pick up on their cues and moods, and really understand their perspective while still:

…saying no to the music fest.

…grounding them from their friend’s birthday party that they’ve been looking forward to.

…admitting to the whole Santa Claus thing (yikes!).

Great bosses are defined by their ability to both think from another’s perspective and make tough decisions.

Not either/or, but both/and.

And who has more practice at that than moms?


Balancing motherhood and a career is freaking hard, which I’ve only now begun to appreciate. Practicing all of these truly difficult skills with no holidays, no breaks, all day everyday… is exactly what makes us moms a force to be reckoned with.

And ironically that’s WHY it makes us better bosses.

It makes us the boss that some new 20-year-old is looking at in wonder, thinking ‘Jeez that must be so hard’.

It is kid, it is… And it’s also totally worth it.

[line][su_note note_color=”#FFeae7″ text_color=”555555″]Jess is the top dog at Light UP Work where she helps online entrepreneurs transform into super confident + competent bosses so they can finally build their dream team (and grow their biz!) After spending over a decade in Corporate Land helping Bosses motivate their teams and increase productivity (while not becoming THAT jerk boss everyone loves to hate), she then moved out of the office and into the online entrepreneur space. Now she takes her juicy experience and geek-love of all things leadership and teamwork, translates it to work for the online world, and consults, coaches and cajoles her clients into becoming awesome bosses themselves – resulting in warm and fuzzies AND business growth! For any boss who’s finally ready to take their biz to the next level by getting their dream team in place, Light UP Work is where they can find help to get it right. You can find out more at http://www.lightupwork.com And when she’s not with her fellow Bosses talking all things people and teams, you can find her chasing after her crazy kiddo Rae or sampling the latest craft beer with her husband Ollie at their home in Windsor Canada.[/su_note]

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How To Combat Stolen Pins on Pinterest

Are you as tired of stolen pins as I am?

I have found a way to make sure that my Pinterest boards don’t contain any stolen pin images, and it’s actually pretty easy.

The best part?

I can easily help out my blogger friends by letting them know if I come across a stolen pin image of theirs during the process!

In this article:

  1. What is a stolen pin?
  2. Why would someone steal a pin?
  3. How can you tell if a pin is stolen?
  4. What to do if a pin image is stolen?
  5. How to identify stolen pins on your own boards using Pin Doctor!

If we all work together to get these stolen pins OFF of Pinterest, then we can go back to creating content for our readers without worrying that they will be sent somewhere other than our site when they click on our carefully crafted pin images!



What Is A Stolen Pin?

You may be wondering what the heck counts as a stolen pin anyway…

If someone uses an image that they did not create and do not have permission to use as a Pin Image pointing to their site, it is usually considered “stolen.”

Sometimes a Pin Thief will have the stolen Pin Image point to their own affiliate link as well.



Why Would Someone Steal A Pin?

Often, the stolen pin is a popular one, and the Pin Thief is hoping to capitalize off of that traffic to use it to their own advantage.

By “stealing” a pin image from a popular blogger or well-known website, the Pin Thief knows that there will be a better distribution of that pin across Pinterest and it will be more likely that Pinterest users will click through to their site.

Since many sites monetize via advertising networks, there is a direct correlation between increased traffic and increased revenue, even if the visitor doesn’t stick around.

If you are struggling with getting traffic to your website, please don’t follow the lead of the Pin Thieves!

Check out this FREE Blog Traffic Bonus Guide from Lena Gott to get some great ideas about increasing your traffic.


You can also see my post on working smarter instead of working harder with some additional tips from her!

When redirecting a stolen pin to an affiliate site, the Pin Thief is hoping to “lock in” their affiliate cookie and get credit for future purchases from that user.

As a result, many bloggers are spending HOURS reporting their stolen pins to Pinterest in an effort to protect their brand and their means of income.


How can you tell if a pin is stolen?

As you are skimming the Pinterest Feed, you may notice that the URL of the Pin Image will not match the destination that the pin directs you to, and the site listed will seem spammy & unrelated.

As you can see from this image, the website listed in white when I hovered over it with my mouse is the same website listed below as part of my username. Also, the title of the post on the pin and the title of the article it links to cover the same content.

A stolen pin, on the other hand, might have the title of the article below listed as “ways to make money fast” or something else completely unrelated.

Like in the example above, Rich Pins can be insanely helpful in this research, and I highly recommend that if you don’t currently have them enabled, that you do so soon.


Check out these articles to get started:
Pinterest For Business | Rich Pins
Simple Pin Media | Complete Guide To Rich Pins


What Do I Do If I Find A Stolen Pin?

If the pin is yours, you can report it directly to Pinterest.

But if it doesn’t belong to you, you can either notify the creator of the image or just move along and not repin it to your own board.

Lena Gott, who runs the popular website What Mommy Does, recently wrote a very good article titled What To Do When Someone Steals Your Pins. Make sure you check it out as it gives a step-by-step process for reporting pins that have been stolen as well as tips for identifying stolen pins and protecting your images.

How To Identify Stolen Pins On Your Own Pinterest Boards Using Pin Doctor

Watch the short video below where I show how to navigate the Pin Doctor report in BoardBooster and check the images versus the associated URLs to identify stolen pins. If you are anything like me, there are so many pins on your boards that checking each one manually would be quite cumbersome, but luckily your first report via Pin Doctor is FREE!

As a side note, if you haven’t tried out BoardBooster yet, you can get a FREE trial including 500 pins, one Pin Doctor report, and one use of the Pin Mover. Go ahead and sign up today, it only takes a few seconds and it’s totally worth it!



Hopefully, this post gave you some insight as to what can be done to combat stolen pins on Pinterest.

This is a huge problem, as pin thieves use bots to “scrape” the images from original pins and replace the URL with their own.

As bloggers, this causes us to lose both income and credibility.

Until Pinterest comes up with a better way to manage this issue, I hope that you will do your part and make sure to rid your own boards of stolen pins and help your fellow bloggers out by letting them know if you find one so that they can report the stolen pin to Pinterest.

Have you been affected by stolen pins? Let me know in the comments below, and add any other tips you might have for us as well!

Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – Intro to Bullet Journal Basics

How to Organize Your Busy Mom Life – An Intro to Bullet Journaling

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably got tons of notepads and journals and planners gathering dust around your house that just didn’t quite fit into your life.

I have started lots of diaries, journal prompt lists, and even a digital journal, and just like with any calendar or planner, I forget to go back to them after the first day or two so I end up never finishing.

It’s really the inconsistency that bothers me – once I miss a few days I am so over it.

It makes me feel like it’s physical evidence that I just can’t hack it. 

I used to think that if I ever really had all of my thoughts and lists in one place I could get my life together…but that notebook would be so thick and heavy I still couldn’t use it!

I will be the first to admit it – I am a planner junkie, and if it claims to finally get my life organized, then out comes my wallet! I am a big fan of Erin Condren’s line of planners and her accessory line is awesome… but I also needed something with a little more flexibility to keep track of all of my ideas. (Side Note: Her teacher lesson planners are the coolest and I have been trying to come up with a reason to need one. Maybe I will add it to my teacher gift ideas list!)



Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

As a busy mom, it’s not uncommon to lose track of your responsibilities since things can get so hectic! Whether you are a new mom that is struggling to balance home responsibilities and motherhood, an overwhelmed mom tired of managing both your job and your household, or a busy mom who gets so wrapped up in the task at hand that you tend to forget everything else, you need an intro to bullet journal basics!


This is a unique form of journaling, unlike any other type you have probably tried out.

It takes a little more time in the beginning, as you learn the basics and get your bullet journal set up, but keeping up with it is so quick and easy. I thought I would never find a system that could help me juggle everything as a busy mom, but bullet journaling has totally changed my life!

And I really think you will find that it is perfect for bringing a little more order and organization to your busy and hectic life.

Before getting into the cool details of bullet journals and how to create them, I want to introduce some basic bullet journal concepts and terminology.


Intro to Bullet Journal Basics

I know I kept hearing people talk about their oh so fabulous bullet journal and saw tons of posts about them online, but I needed a really straightforward guide to help me get started with the basics.

It ‘s important to know the standard terms for the components because if you ever want to look up how others create their bullet journals when you are trying to find inspiration, it really comes in handy. Also, it can be a little confusing at first if you haven’t had an intro to bullet journal phrases and techniques.

What is a bullet journal?

  • A bullet journal, or “bujo” for short, is a type of journal that includes multiple sections in order to keep track of the multiple facets of your life.
  • Instead of having one journal for your finances and career notes, and another journal for household to-do lists and journal entries, everything is in a single journal. (What?!?!?! I was totally sold on the idea when I found this out!) Once one journal is filled up, you then switch to a new one and start again.
  • A bullet journal starts out completely blank, and it is up to you to customize it to fit your life.

What Is Rapid Logging?

  • You are not typically writing full-length journal entries when you use a bullet journal.
  • Instead, you summarize your points with short words and phrases, as well as using symbols (called signifiers) that you get to select.
  • The creator of the bullet journal concept, Ryder Carroll, calls this “Rapid Logging.”

What Are The Components of Rapid Logging?

  • Topics
  • Page Numbers
  • Short Sentences
  • Bullets

According to Ryder Carroll’s Getting Started guide, the four components of Rapid Logging are topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets.

This way you understand your notes and can find them on the different pages, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space or too much of your time. (Bingo!)


What Are Signifiers?

  • Symbols within your journal as part of explaining things, creating schedules and to-do lists, and for various other sources.
  • A signifier might be using a smiley face when you have a good day or putting a symbol of the moon when you are talking about an event taking place in the evening.
  • You will identify your signifiers somewhere in your journal using a guide called a key.


What Is An Index?

  • Your index contains a list of your topics and the page number or numbers.
  • The index is something most traditional journals or diaries don’t tend to have and is unique to the bullet journal setup.
  • When you start putting the bullet journal together, you decide on what sections to create, then you make an index for easy reference to help you easily locate the page you want.

But remember, there is no right way or wrong way to do this; that is the great thing about journaling in general, including with bullet journaling.

Everything is up to you!


Busy Mom's Guide to Bullet Journaling – How Is A Bullet Journal Different?

How Bullet Journaling Is Different From Other Journals

You might already be able to tell how using a bullet journal is different than other forms of journaling, and know why it is so helpful for busy moms, but let’s sum it up just in case you aren’t already familiar!



There are several key differences between a bullet journal and a traditional journal or planner, outlined below:

1. Just one journal is used for everything!

First of all, you don’t have just a gratitude journal or just a diet and fitness journal with bullet journaling.

You get to have everything in a single journal.

How cool is that?!?!

This is why it is good to choose a thicker journal, but one that is easy to write in.

  • The hardbound books are great but can be hard to deal with, and you want to avoid any that use glued in pages as the binding may crack over time and become loose or lost.
  • You can also use a softer journal that is easy to turn pages, fold, and manipulate in order to draw on the pages and use quickly without too much fuss. Many of these are refillable as well.

I ended up selecting this one because of the elastic closure and pocket in the back:

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2. Another difference with a bullet journal is that it has sections for each form of journaling, and also includes an index for easy reference.

The sections are how you sort out your gratitude journal, bucket lists, daily planner, and more. There are some really creative ideas for different sections and topics, but it is best to just start with the basics.


3. Short sentences and bullets are used in place of long sentences.

You will still do some writing using short sentences, and the basic bullets determine which type of entry you are making, either a task, an event, or a note.

  • Tasks are any actionable item, and you go one step further with them to mark them as completed, migrated to a later date, or scheduled.
  • Events are items with a date attached, so either you schedule them or you write about them as a logged entry after they occur.
  • Notes are facts, ideas, thoughts, and observations. Anything that you want to remember, but that isn’t currently actionable.

Matt Ragland

4. Signifiers, or symbols used to represent moods and situations, are another key difference in bullet journaling.

Signifiers are good for quickly understanding what was going on during an entry or when making marks about how a day went in a monthly calendar view on one of the pages. These are yet another way you can customize your bullet journal to fit your life and personality.

Many people also choose to use different colors as signifiers, so their bullet journals really stand out from the crowd!

Personally, I am in love with the Papermate Flair pens for my bullet journal. But since they are a felt-tip style and work best for thicker pages,  I use the InkJoy style when my pages might bleed through.

4. A bullet journal is truly flexible.

Organizing your life as a busy mom is much easier to do with a bullet journal than any other. You can keep track of finances, schedules, growth charts, to-do lists and more!

Other long-form journals can still be good for relieving anxiety, getting out your emotions each day, and helping to find triggers for emotional eating. You should still have these as a part of your routine if they are issues you are facing.

However, with a bullet journal, it is good for organizing all the different areas of your life that you feel need a little more order. If you feel that you want to include additional journal types like those mentioned above, make sure to check out all of the great ideas for habit tracking, self-care, and mental health that others have already designed!

So what do you think?

Is a bullet journal a good option for you?


5 Life-Changing Books Busy Moms Must Read To Combat Overwhelm

As a busy mom, it’s not easy to find time to curl up with a book, but I do try to squeeze in at least a chapter a day, especially for the life-changing takeaways in these books. So I thought I’d share the books that I think busy moms absolutely must read to combat overwhelm.

I have always been an avid reader, and I am trying to cultivate a love of reading in my girls as well.

Easier said than done, I know…



I figure one of the best ways to teach is by example, plus it’s a great excuse to indulge in my favorite hobby!

We don’t stick to just one format – so you’ll see options for e-readers, book subscriptions, and “real” books. Just keep in mind that if something piques your interest, you can probably find it in a number of formats! And just in case you don’t already have a Kindle or other e-reader, check this out:
Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices


The 5 Choices is one of my favorite books on balance and productivity that’s out there. If you feel like you are too busy to be productive – take the time to learn the concepts in this easy read and finally feel like you can gain control of your life once and for all. Being able to clarify my roles and priorities has really been life-changing!

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Declutter Your Mind is the definitive handbook for getting rid of the mental clutter that has been causing you overwhelm. If you want to stop the stress and stop the negative thinking once and for all, grab a copy of this book to learn how to take control of your mind and use your thoughts to your advantage.

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The Worry Trick is a must read if worry and anxiety are interfering with your quality of life. Part humor and anecdotes, this book was written by a PhD and provides real solutions that can be integrated into your everyday life to overcome worry.

Unwind is delivered in classic FranklinCovey style, with easily implemented tips and 7 specific paradigm shifts aimed at eliminating the root cause of daily stresses. This book offered a great perspective about how changing your mindset about how you approach life can greatly decrease stress levels overall.

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Only Love Today is a collection of shorter essays and reminders to dwell in love, many of which appeared originally on her blog. It would make a perfect gift for a busy mom for Mother’s Day, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to decrease their stress and trying to be more present. Rachel is the Hands-Free Mama and her latest collection is full of short essays on a variety of aspects of life.

If you read as much as I do, then you know how convenient it is to have books available across multiple formats.

Try looking for one of these life-changing books for busy moms on an audiobook service or at your local library!


Have you read any of these books, or are there any you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!