Lisa Roberts knows how to run a hectic household filled with preschoolers - she’s a stay-at-home mom to a 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old triplets. Juggling all of her daily tasks is an amazing feat - and now Roberts is being recognized and rewarded for her hard work. The Lexington, Ky., woman recently won the title of Household CEO through a video essay contest sponsored by Bill Me Later and Zappos.

The companies held the contest as part of their “Household CEO” campaign launched this spring. In August, Roberts learned her entry - a video which featured testimonials from her husband and kids - was chosen as the winner. (You can watch it here.) She won a $2,500 shopping spree, which she’s using for back-to-school spending.

Defining a Household CEO

What exactly does the title mean? Roberts explains: “I think it’s the same as any CEO, whether they’re running a company or a household. The CEO is responsible for leading their organization in a positive direction in multiple areas. They need to focus on long-term goals while also taking care of the short-term, small goals.” 

Daily challenges

Like any mom of young kids, Roberts faces constant challenges every day. “The biggest challenge is keeping track of everyone’s schedule,” she says. Her strategy for staying on top of the daily agenda: She has a large master calendar, for which each family member is assigned a different color Sharpie marker.

Administrative issues

Roberts also handles lots of red tape. Her triplets were born early, and that meant tons of insurance paperwork, which she often took care of during naptime. “You really need to get as much done as possible during those little snippets of quiet time.”

Another cardinal rule

All family members must eat at the same time - and then meal time is over. “Otherwise, I’d never get out of the kitchen, and meal time would last all day long.” An added bonus? By doing meals, chores and other duties at designated times on a strict schedule, Roberts can enjoy playtime and quality time with her kids without being distracted by all the other things she needs to do.

Budget issues

Like many moms, Roberts constantly watches (and worries about) the family budget. Her biggest budgeting challenge? “Having a budget at all,” she says. “And then monitoring it and adjusting it as needed. I think many people start out with unrealistic budget numbers, and they just set themselves up to fail.”

Roberts shops at consignment stores (and then takes her kids’ clothes there to sell once they’ve outgrown them). She also buys from the clearance racks in advance for the next season. In fact, she has bins stockpiled with clearance buys for the next two or three seasons. “I don’t get out shopping very often, so I try to stock up.”

By helping the kids conquer potty training as soon as possible, Roberts also saved a considerable amount on diapers. She regularly evaluates her cell phone plan, and cuts down to basic cable six months a year (the family enjoys expanded sports programming during football season).

One thing she won’t skimp on is the kids’ college savings plans. “We contribute to them every month, and hope to increase our monthly contributions as time goes on and our budget allows.”

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