What’s a busy CEO supposed to do when she needs a little help running her home? If you’re one very exacting mom in Menlo Park, California, you post an exceedingly detailed job listing for a “house manager/nanny/cook” with head-scratching requirements, such as “can read articles about eating beef and increases in breast cancer and can understand this information at a summary level, i.e. beef is bad.”
The mom listed the job on a board run by the Calendar Group, a household and corporate staffing company, but it went viral after writer Kimberly Harrington stumbled across it, took screenshots and posted them on Twitter. “Look I know what day it is and where I’m posting this, but I still challenge you to find ANYTHING more bananas bat shit than THIS. I DARE YOU,” Harrington said.
She’s not necessarily wrong.
The listing, at over 1,000 words, starts off fairly reasonably. The mom of twins is looking for a long-term “member of the household to act with leadership, strategy, attention to detail, high energy and kindness.” The candidate would be responsible for “running the household in collaboration with the mother and with the assistance of a housekeeper, an au pair, a property manager and a gardener/handyman.” And for “keeping the house and its processes well organized, including organizing the house and donating clothing and other items, cooking organic foods that meet our allergy requirements, errands, planning vacations, camps and after school activities, and spending time with the kids.”
If that already seems like a big job for one person, keep reading, because her requirements continue to get even more specific. Some of the most bizarre specifications include:
- Assist 10-year olds with light homework in long division, subtraction and writing. Play math games with them such as “how much fish should we buy today for five of us?” and “How long will it take us to drive to the snow if it’s 150 miles and we go 50 miles an hour?”
- Strategically think through vacation options based on the developmental levels of the kids and the need for the mom to relax. Conduct research into domestic and global vacation options based on criteria, populate information into a simple Excel spreadsheet, recommend and book vacations, track vacation expenses in Excel including track vacation home deposits getting returned
- Correctly quantify how much fish to purchase for five people, for example, or how much chicken for 15 people
- Can ski at least at an intermediate level (preferred) and can take kids on ski vacations and manage everything (preferred)
- Strong swimmer and lifeguard. Can supervise kids in the pool and understands basic dangers and rescues. Can swim in the ocean and bodysurf. Likes river swimming
As several Twitter users pointed out, this mom is basically looking for a chief of staff, gourmet chef, certified lifeguard, tutor, camp counselor, ski teacher and travel agent, all rolled into one.
But several people rallied to her defense, including yours truly, to point out that many of the duties she lists are just ones that come along with being a mom (albeit, a mom in a very specific income bracket). As one user noted, the listing is “quite an accounting of unpaid highly-skilled household labor that a lot of moms do as part of being a mom.” And being a mom is a labor-intensive job that provides zero compensation, it should be noted.
Aside from the strange dietary requests, this CEO is clearly just looking for someone who can handle household administration: arranging playdates and doctors visits, tracking chores and allowances, making purchases and returns, and planning vacations and managing the family calendar. Given the income to do it, I bet a lot of working moms would opt to take these onerous tasks off our overburdened plates. (She doesn’t mention Dad anywhere in the post, but that’s not unusual: While today’s dads do more hands-on cleaning and caregiving than their fathers, the mental load of household administration still falls primarily to moms.)
So while, sure, this mom’s post is over-the-top, at least she knows what she needs and spells it out clearly. Perhaps we should direct our ire toward a parenting environment that demands children receive only healthy organic food, educational outdoor play, enriching vacations, intensive homework help, constant monitoring and supervision and loads of scheduled social interaction—or else we’ve failed.
In the end, we owe CEO mom a favor. Her job post proves that raising kids by today’s lofty standards requires more than just an au pair and housekeeper—it requires a house manager and nanny so skilled she makes Mary Poppins look like an amateur.