Yes, you heard me right. The job of “mom” sucks. At least from an outsiders perspective. Here is the truth. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a mom. Yet, every mom around the world takes on this role regardless of the low pay and lack of recognition that comes with it. I just don’t understand it.
At some point, each mom takes this role by starting a new venture with her partner. Somehow they heard from those who have gone before that starting a “family business” is great and what every lucky woman should start one. In fact, if it takes too long for some to get the business launched, those closest to her will begin to question her desire and intentions. This mom thing is high pressure. Finally, like all other moms, she gives in.
By trade, I’m an account manager. As I look at the role of mom, I recognize there are some similarities to our roles as well as some extreme differences. I’ll explain, but for those with little time, the role of account manager is a much better role in my opinion.
As an account manager, the role is all about acquiring customers and keeping them happy through the many phases of the business life cycle so that they want to continue being a customer. As long as you can do this effectively, you can earn a solid income over the majority of your career.
Likewise, the role of mom is similar. First, she has to acquire the customer. Then she has to keep the customer happy through the many phases of the life cycle. Finally, her job is to teach her customers how to be good people that should ultimately desire to start their own “family business” in the future.
The role of account manager is difficult in the early years. The job focus is on creating a base of customers that want to deal with and buy from you. Depending on the industry, this process can take several years before an account manager has fully established his base of customers. It is so difficult early on that many give up before their account base is ever created.
As difficult as it is for an account manager, it pales in comparison to the woman starting her role as mom in the family business. I guess it’s called labor for a reason. It hurts, it’s long, and her support partner is typically weak at best. Thank God for understanding nurses. To make matters worse, some moms are forced to watch other moms build their customer base easily while their journey is a bit longer, even though they are putting in the same diligent effort. In fact, some working in this business have to go through great lengths and cost to finally get a customer. Alas, for both moms and account managers, there are few happier days than the day you add a new customer to your portfolio.
The account manager is happy because he knows a payday is right around the corner.
Although moms know this going in, they are quickly reminded that there is no pay for her role. She can only hope that her customers will appreciate her and tell her how much they do so. With time, she learns that this hope is dead and not realistic. She finds that her customers use her and abuse her. Although she gives 100% to keep them happy, they rarely say thank you or I appreciate you. Well, there is that one day each year, but let’s be real, everybody has to say thank you on that day. It just doesn’t mean as much as a sincere, unexpected thank you.
Once an account manager has a customer, the job shifts to keeping the customer happy so that they continue to buy from you. When my customers are upset, I find a solution. In return, I’m usually given a smile of appreciation and I know another paycheck is coming around the bend.
Unfortunately for most moms, their customers tend to be unreasonable. They can get grumpy for no reason at all. But, this does not derail the mom. She will creatively find and offer solutions to try and make her customers day. Typically, no matter what solution is offered, the mom just can’t pull it off. Her customers are clearly unreasonable. Even if she does make them happy, it’s only momentary and the cycle starts all over again.
As an account manager, you are typically on call to the needs of your customers. The good news however is that most customers respect your time. They know that evenings and weekends should be for other interests and tend to only reach out off hours if their problem is truly an emergency.
Moms are also on call 100% of the time. Unlike my customers, hers will call and visit at all times with no respect of personal time. They will even interrupt sleep in the middle of the night. How rude! To make matters worse, there is no vacation time for moms. In fact, the few times she takes vacation, she actually works harder than the regular work weeks. If she does find time to get away, she will likely spend most of her time worrying that the person she left in charge of her customers will fail and mess up what little good she had going on before she left.
As an account manager, I can quit at any time. I can do this in a couple ways. I can basically fire my difficult customers by handing them off to another account manager trying to build their business. If I don’t like the role at all, I can just quit and do something else. No body will think a thing of it. I’m just making a change.
A mom can’t quit! She has the job for life. She can’t get rid of difficult customers, in fact she often has to lie and tell the difficult ones that she likes them as much as the good ones. (Yeah Right) If a mom did try to quit, she would be ridiculed by everyone around and considered a failure. Rather than quit, she can only dream of what life was like before she took the role of mom. The best she can hope for is that her customers will grow quick enough to start their own family business. At that point, she moves into a management role and only has to deal with the those customers when they are happy. If she is lucky, she can pay her original customers back by making their life a bit difficult while they try to handle their new account base. (You know that’s why everyone loves being a grandmother)
Mom’s, your job sucks. You could not pay me enough to do it, yet you do it for free. I would scream, quit, run away, and go crazy. Somehow, even if you feel like doing the same, you hide it well and rarely let your customers see your frustration. Although they may be grumpy, unreasonable, and incapable of being happy, they know you love them and care about them. Their worst nightmare would be the day in which you would quit. Thank goodness you don’t. You take your role seriously and give 100% at all times. I wouldn’t want your role, but I sure am thankful that you have it because you do it so well. You’re a much better person than I am.
For that, I want to say thank you and you deserve “Employee of the Year“!
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