Parenting in Toronto: Kathy Buckworth is Boss

Upon first opening humourist Kathy Buckworth’s latest parenting book, I am SO the Boss of You, I felt reticent to read on. The book is billed as, “An 8-Step Guide to Giving Your Family the ‘Business’.” Do I really need more advice on how to raise my kids? Can I handle another system of parenting in my already overloaded brain? Sometimes I forget whether we are pro or anti time-out or whether we are pro-punishment or pro-positive reinforcement. There is such a thing as advice burnout.

I was pleasantly surprised however, to find I laughed enough throughout the book that I forgot I was being told how to run my family. Kathy definitely takes a tongue in cheek approach to how we should parent here, while still doling out some really great advice.

Brand and Market Your Family

Kathy suggests we take the traditional hierarchy of the business and apply it to family life. Mom (usually) is the boss with dad as middle manager and the employees are the children of the house. It’s the boardroom at home.

Before becoming the author of six books, Kathy Buckworth spent 18 years in the world of corporate marketing and has laid out her guide according to her managing experiences there. She tells you how to brand and market your family and to make sure all the staff know their work responsibilities, get the family PR agency up and running, and follow through on tasks without any micromanaging from you. In a nutshell, Kathy suggests we stop just calling ourselves bosses and start acting like real-world ones.

Get to Bed!

The book is infused with Kathy’s laugh out loud humour, which is fun, but can sometimes cloud what she is saying. That would be my only criticism. Sometimes I couldn’t figure out if this was something to be laughed at, or to actually consider. Given a multiple choice quiz to figure what your family brand might be for example, she asks what you would do if your kids won’t stay in bed:

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  1. Eliminate all sugar from their diet. That should work.
  2. Redirect their energies into harnessing power through the exercise bike you have connected to your windmill.
  3. Accept that the jetlag your children constantly experience is a symbol of how you have chosen to expose them to the wonders of the world.
  4. Tell them if they don’t get their butts in bed by the time you count to three, you’ll make them sleep in the basement next to the empty wine cellar. Where the zombies live.


That is funny, but not particularly helpful if you are reading this book because you really need help at home.

I am the Boss

Humour aside though, Kathy’s book did make me take the time to reconsider the structure of my family and fix the areas where I have inadvertently let the kids take control. I am going to skip the branding and marketing bits myself but other things Kathy writes about, I am implementing with success. I have made a list of responsibilities that my employees are responsible for according to their age and they are rewarded for completing them. My kids now clear the table, make their beds, get mostly dressed themselves (although some of the outfits have been unfit for winter days) and tidy up their playroom. A weekly review, keeps our home office running as smoothly as it can with two small boys. My daily mantra now is, I am the Boss, I am the Boss, I am the Boss.

If your family is in dire straits seek out a more formal parenting help guide but if you want to have a laugh and get a few fresh ideas for how to manage your family, this book is for you. Laughing is a key part of parenting, and through this book, Kathy Buckworth reminds us of that fact.

I Am SO the Boss Of You is available online or at your local bookstore.

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Rebecca Ruddle

Rebecca is a Toronto born and bred mom of two young boys. She is always exploring the city looking for fun things to do, eat and see with them, without losing her sanity or breaking the bank. She blogs at Brain-Dead Mom.

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