As a media executive, business expert, career coach and acclaimed speaker, Heather Monahan wears a lot of hats—including being a single mother to her nine-year-old son, Dylan. When they aren’t watching a Miami Heat game (his favorite!) or rushing to get ready on a chaotic weekday morning, you can find Heather revealing business tips on her newly launched namesake website under the alter ego Boss in Heels. Here, she shares her advice on how to be a boss at home.
The Skill Set: How to Be a Boss at Home
DEMONSTRATE WORK ETHIC
My favorite thing about work is giving my son the chance to see that you can do and achieve whatever you set your mind to. Over the past nine years, he’s seen me take risks, overcome adversity and come out on the other side.
Recently, my son was hurt at a soccer game and I was on a work trip in another state. I have a strong relationship and bond with my son so I know one instance isn’t going to make or break it—largely due to the fact that we communicate clearly and often. When he tells me, “I’m sad you weren’t there and somebody else’s mom had to take care of me,” we talk it through. I explain to him that I’m proud of him for getting through it. We try to turn it into a positive.
Having a game plan each month is key for keeping my schedule straight and helping Dylan understand his routine. At the start of the week, I’m constantly sending emails to my friends and my ex-husband to make sure we’re all on the same page and have a catch-all safety net in case something happens. I sit with my son often and go through the schedule with him, writing it out on a board for him, so he’s part of the process and understands where he’s going to be ahead of time.
GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
Any time I feel guilty about working too much and not being the mom that’s hosting the play date or making cupcakes for school, I call my friends who are in the same boat as I am. The conversation typically goes something like, “Are you serious? Do you realize the example you are setting for your son? You’re chasing your dreams and juggling so much. You’re creating so much opportunity for the both of you. You are a bad-ass role model for your son and you’re creating a life and future for him that is limitless.”
SPEND QUALITY TIME WHEN YOU CAN
We live in Florida so we get to be at the pool or beach most weekends. My son loves basketball, so we’ll go to college or pro games and practice together. We do homework together, eat dinner together and then we talk about his day. I usually try to ask him, “What’s the most special thing that happened in your day?” to start a meaningful conversation.
FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF
Working out is super important to me, as is spending time with my friends. We get a big group and we go to one of the new restaurants around Miami Beach. Sometimes, I’ll have friends over my house and the kids will play while we hang out. I also make time for charity work as much as possible.
ASK FOR HELP
I have an arsenal of people that I tap for help everyday. It takes a village. I don’t have family in Florida so I’ve built a strong network of friends who help me out when I’m in a pinch (like taking my son overnight if I need to travel for work). I’ve even recruited my son’s teachers. I’ve spoken to them about my challenges, my schedule, our situation and they help out when needed, as well.
BE THE CFO OF YOUR FAMILY
Make sure that you are committed to a 401k. If you have the opportunity for college pre-pay, do it. Put a consistent percentage of your income toward savings. You’re in control of your family’s financial future.