There was a time, not so long ago, when I used to scoff at the “parent as CEO of a family” analogy.

“What a dumb comparison. There’s no way being a parent is as hard as running a company,” I would say to childless myself as I lay down on the couch, in my quiet house, preparing to watch my 900th episode of “Bar Rescue.”

There are three things I’ve realized since then.

1. At that point, I’d never been a parent — and I’ve still never been an actual CEO, so what did I even know?

2. I was so, so wrong.

3. I miss lazy Saturday afternoons watching “Bar Rescue.”

I now understand that the comparison is actually pretty apt. Being a parent is totally like running a company, except there are no perks. No end-of-year bonuses. No corner offices. On top of that, the average employee is ungrateful and completely unaware of the blatant nepotism that led to their cushy position.

As Emilia gets older, I’m becoming more acutely aware of the business side of parenting. There are more deadlines to remember. More events to attend. More forms to return. More complex schedules and frequent obligations. There is a lot to do. There is a lot to remember.

And I suck at it.

Every time Emilia brings home her parent folder from school, I see important papers that might get lost, deadlines that could be missed, news and updates that I have the potential to overlook. Every activity she takes on presents another opportunity for me to mess up.

As the co-CEO of the Kraemer Company, I’m one misstep away from being publically humiliated, dramatically ousted and replaced by a robot.

We all have our parenting strengths. I know plenty of moms and dads who thrive on ensuring the tiny moving parts of parenthood stay well oiled. They’re organized, prompt and seemingly on top of it all. I admire them big time, but I’m not one of them. As a big-picture person and now a big-picture parent, details have never been my thing. Thankfully I have a partner who’s better with that stuff.

But for Emilia’s sake, I’m trying. I’m embracing lists, actually using our wall calendar, testing out new organizational systems and attempting to view each new commitment not as a future mom failure, but instead as an exciting challenge.

The challenge of the moment is Girl Scout cookie sales. So far, so good...ish. And I’m ready for whatever comes next.

With any luck, this floundering CEO will head into Q2 with solid numbers, high employee morale, a Forbes cover and a corner office. Or a cup of lukewarm coffee and a nap. I’ll take what I can get.


Catherine Kraemer writes twice a month for She and her husband, Matt, are the parents of three young girls – Emilia, 6, Grace, 3 and Phoebe, 1. Originally from St. Louis, Catherine lives in Omaha and works at a local advertising agency.

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