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Mom, the Micromanager

Read why moms tend to manage, organize, and take general responsibility for their domain and their family.

Mom, the Micromanager

Building Blocks

Micromanager is an individual who oversees and takes responsibility for the tiniest details in a plan family, business, or organization.

Mom is the member of the family who tries to micromanage her domain and her subjects. Hence she is more…

  • Aware of shaping the destinies of family members.
  • Sensitive to mediating the interaction between other family members.
  • Cognizant of the family dynamics.
  • Hesitant to allow others to take a role in the family more active than her own-that includes making family decisions, caring for the children, or managing the household.
  • Determined, according to research at the University of Washington, to be "first among equals" when it comes to home and hearth, and, to cling to control.

Sometimes a mom likes micromanaging her family because it enables her to feel in control, it makes her feel like a good mother, and it may be the only source of real power to which she has access.

Mom Tends to Play the Role of Gatekeeper

Moms don't need to, nor should they, bear the brunt of parenthood. But frequently they deliberately or unconsciously do just that, says Dr. Kyle D. Pruett of Yale University and author of Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child (Free Press, 2000). The phenomenon is called "gatekeeping." In her role as gatekeeper, a mom tends to…

  • Act as sentry, regulating access to children.
  • Resist surrendering authority to Dad.
  • Limit Dad's access to decision making or participation in parenting.

Mother's Role as Micromanager and Sentry May Change

Research by John Snarey found that with a wife's increased role as breadwinner, fathers assumed greater childrearing responsibilities and had more time with their kids. One might assume that necessity is the motherhood of invention. In light of the very newest statistics, moms may in the future be forced to limit their roles as micromanagers and sentries.

A report by the U.S. Census Bureau made public in October 2000, revealed some important new trends:

  1. The number of moms with infants who return to work is up 31 percent from 1976. In 1998 59 percent of these women went back to work. Thirty-seven percent of these work full time, and the remainder work part time.
  2. For the first time, families with married moms and dads who both work moves into the majority. Only 24 percent of families in which married moms and dads live together represent households where the father is the only breadwinner.
  3. Eighty percent of moms with associate degrees who have older children and a combined family of $50,000 to $75,000 are now returning to work.
  4. Mothers with higher family income and education are returning to work in greater numbers during the first year of their child's life.

Nonetheless, as revolutionary as these statistics may appear, none indicate that Mom is currently the primary breadwinner. We can, therefore, assume that while the future places her role as micromanager and sentry in jeopardy, currently she bears title to these positions.

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