14/08/2014 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Who Mothers Should Lean On (In Tribute To Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg)

Who mothers should lean on (in tribute to Sheryl Sandberg)

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has written a book called Lean In, calling for the empowerment of women in the boardroom.

The concept of Lean In is all about working mums supporting one another and swapping advice to get more of us flying high in the workplace.

Laura Kemp – who is Chief Operating Officer of her kitchen – has come up with her very own version of Lean In with Lean On...

1. To get to the top, you must learn to Lean On people.

This is why family exists – to do pick-ups, drop-offs and bedtimes when you are up to your eyebrows in a bubble bath.


Friends are excellent too; because they 'get' your predicament and you're not fooling anyone; they will happily have your child for tea once a week so you can rush home to watch something on Sky Plus as long as you do the same for them.


Husbands are another matter, which takes me to the next point.

2. Other halves require a more intensive Lean On which I call a Sit On.

This will stop them from getting any ridiculous ideas that they are in charge. To ascend the domestic career ladder, you need to be tough. Show no mercy if he hasn't brought you a morning cuppa.

I advise stealing the remote and hiding it under a cushion. Then when he's watching the football, change the channel with a hand beneath the covers and claim you have no idea how it happened.


If that doesn't work, you can perform a physical Sit On until they surrender.


3. Working hard requires playing hard too.

So find something pleasurable to Lean On in your home life. You could do relaxing things like exercise or reading but the best, according to my own extensive research, is a glass of wine on the sofa.

4. A tidy office is key to the Lean On philosophy.

The stickier the surfaces of your kitchen the better. That way you won't topple off if your elbow slips and look drunk when you're really not.

5. Finding yourself a mentor is a good way to implement Lean On when you're in need of inspiration.

Arrange a meeting so you can discuss your strategies over a business breakfast in a Costa Coffee just after school drop-off. One of those delicious pastries is like a shot of Sheryl Sandberg through your veins.

Items on the agenda should include how best to delegate tasks in the workplace – I suggest a rota for the kids on loading and unloading the dishwasher.

There are also Lean On Circles, which should meet monthly. Invite eight to 10 peers and work out an itinerary for topics of discussion. These are best held in your local business hub, such as a wine bar or a restaurant. Swap experiences, share stories and have a good whinge.

6. Lean On Holidays are a must if you're serious about getting the best out of your company.

Everyone needs to appreciate how much you do as the boss so arrange a day a month to do absolutely nothing and see how they like it, having to feed themselves.

7. Pay is a tricky issue with Lean On.

Because mums don't get wages, we must find a way of making an income in kind. That is accruing lie-ins or counting how many bedtimes you've done in the last year and isn't it about time you pulled your weight?

If your policy is met with a harrumph, explain the concept of 'profit-share' so your husband understands he will benefit if you aren't so put upon and tired.

8. Your employees – your kids – must know the Lean On rules for you to make effective headway in your career.

When watching a film together, they must cuddle up on you rather than sit in a grump at the other end of the room because they wanted to play on the DS.