Being an effective 'mom-in-chief'

March 4, 2009 6:41:32 AM PST
First lady Michelle Obama has said her number one priority in the White House is to be 'mom-in-chief'; mothers across America have been wondering exactly how she plans to do that. A Bay Area author has come out with a new book that looks at the traits that naturally make mothers great leaders.SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

Michelle Obama's life is a lesson for all moms, and Oakland mom Jamie Woolf thinks she knows the top five lessons. While Obama recently called her number one job mom-in-chief - Woolf previously had titled her new book by the same name as a response to what she saw all around her.

"People who felt so successful and competent at work and were honing their skills and getting coaching and professional development and then they were going home and feeling like blithering idiots, they didn't feel competent at home and they felt more like servants and drivers and maids," said Woolf.

Woolf says being good at your job can make you a better parent - for example delegate at work, delegate at home.

"Sometimes she has me feed the cats, clean the cat box and also sometimes I cook," said Leah Treidler, author's daughter.

According to Woolf, Obama's respect for motherhood takes the notion of leadership beyond the walls of presidential mansions to the homes of average parents.

"When we think of our worst bosses, we think about bosses who stifle us and micromanage and watch our every move - making us apathetic and rebellious, and it's easy for us to do that because the job of mom is so charged emotionally," said Woolf.

Daughter Anna says mom's a good boss.

"She's a good at putting herself in our shoes - seeing what we would like to do and not making things too hard for us," said Anna Treidler, author's daughter.

Woolf says the most effective parents, like the best business leaders, nurture without micromanaging, and always keep an eye on the big picture - as Woolf and the girls do every Sunday - in writing.

And now, there's a chance the first lady, who says she's mom-in-chief, will read 'Mom-in-Chief.'

"A client of mine is working in the Obama administration and somehow got a copy to her - so I would like to know what she has to say about it," said Woolf.

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