"I have been a Domestic CEO all this time"

NATASHA GALSTAUN, a 43-year-old former interior designer turned stay-at-home mum, stated in a weekend broadsheet recently that, “running a home is just like running a multi-national”.

I read this while sitting up in bed last on a Sunday morning, and dear oh dear, I’ve been all in a spin ever since. B; between you and me, you see, I’ve always held very stoutly to the opinion (based on 25twenty-five years years of running a home, and a firm belief in calling a spade a spade) that running a home is just like running a home.

And, as if this statement didn’t nearly make me drop my coffee all over the duvet, Gallstone — oops, sorry — Galstaun then expounded a theory about motherhood, which seemed to suggest that there is no such thing as a stay-at-home-mum, not anymore anyway.

Imagine! I could only lean back into my pillows at this point and wonder what I’ve been for half my life. But then I read on. According to Gallstone, I have been a “Domestic Chief Executive Officer” all this time!” A CEO! Of all the things!

It’s quite something, let me tell you, to wake up one morning thinking you’re one thing — the thing you’ve always been — only to discover that you’re quite another. Good job I was in bed because I suddenly came over all funny at the thought of being a CEO, I have to say.

Frankly, two weeks on, I’m still confused. I can’t stop wondering how, exactly, I’ve managed the business of being a CEO all these years. I mean everyone’s always told me I’m the sort of person that would bring down a multinational within the first five minutes of employment.

I’m a bit worried as to how I’ve handled some of the scenarios that a CEO would typically encounter in a 25 career.

For example, how did I navigate a customer-service infrastructure problem without getting my knickers in a twist? And what on earth did I do about unreasonable stock-price expectations from stockholders, never mind poor funding-climate, problems with the board of directors and questionable viability of a service offering?

How in god’s name did I handle employee-morale problems? And lay-offs?! I do hope I was nice.

I confess I’ve been mulling over this CEO conundrum quite a bit.

At first I thought, “might Gallstone simply be the sort of person that calls a spade a spoon? And anyway, she’s only run a home for four years, so what does she know?”

But then I thought, “in fairness, she was once a ‘Creative Company Director’, whereas to my knowledge (till now at least), I’ve never held any such office, so perhaps she really does know her onions.”

And then another thought struck me. If running a home is just like running a multinational company, then it follows that running a multinational company is just like running a home.

At this point, all in a hopeless dither, I decided to ask my youngest brother Tom, CEO of a multinational company in Geneva, to settle the question once and for all, of whether or not I am a CEO with long-standing experience of running a multinational.

So I emailed him, explaining my dilemma and asking him to answer 4 four questions (listed below), which I personally felt were absolute deciders:

1. In a nutshell, how would you describe the essence of the role of CEO? a. managerial or b. like “being mugged by Cupid,” over and over again for the rest of your life, for which you need the energy of a pack-mule and the spirit of the Blitz.

2. As CEO of a multinational company, has an employee ever thrown a water-balloon hard in your face while you were having your morning coffee, and least expecting it?

3. What does the term “Team Player” mean to you? a. the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile, or b. toiling away in obscurity (for free).

4. How frequently do you personally resolve employee crises such as for example, a mysteriously sluggish toilet, minor flesh wound or disrespectful eye-rolling when you ask them to perform a task?

I’m awaiting a response. I got an automated out-of-office reply but I’ve spoken to his secretary and she said he’ll get back to me after he’s finished playing squash.

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