Highly Creative people keep favored routines. This is the last post on the routines of individual Creators, historical and current. My previous post: Strict Schedule as Newbie Novelist.
1952: “The World’s Greatest Woman Engineer”
Founder of Modern Management
Mother of Twelve (of Cheaper by the Dozen Fame)
“Lillian worked hard during the Providence [Rhode Island] years. In addition to producing a baby every fifteen months or so, she ran Frank’s business during his frequent absences, researched and wrote an entirely new doctoral dissertation, and authored most of the books and papers that appeared under Frank’s name. Although her activities and stamina seem prodigious, a typed copy of “Mother’s Daily Schedule,” dated July 11, 1912, may explain how she managed to do so much.”
Historian Jane Lancanter includes this schedule in her book Making Time: Lillian Moler Gilbreth–A Life Beyond “Cheaper by the dozen.“
“The schedule includes a note in Lillian’s handwriting: ‘Important to start family off each day–’cheerful and happy.’ Eliminate worry and rush by proper planning’.”
‘No matter what happens I manage two hours of rest and quiet immediately after lunch. This is the best time for me as most of the children are at school and the little fellows are out of doors and the house is the quietest.’
“She neither cooked nor cleaned, and although she scheduled much more time with her children than women who work outside the home usually manage, she had assistance with the children during the hours she spent on her professional work. In fact, hers could almost be seen as a leisurely schedule. In addition to Martha Gilbreth (her mother-in-law), who acted as household manager, an English widow named Anne Cunningham did most of the cooking, and Tom Grieves, an Irishman, became the Gilbreths’ man-of-all-work.”
“Tom did the washing, ran errands, shopped, and became somehow indispensable. The older children adored him. He was a mimic, a dancer, a harmonica player, and a whistler, and he would bang his chest melodramatically and insist he had been a fool ever to permit himself, to be “shanghaied” into this crazy household, where the work kept increasing with a new baby every year. He would sigh deeply and say, “Lincoln freed the slaves, all but one, all but one.”
“They [lived] in a clapboard house on Brown street…it was only half a block from the Brown University campus, so although the house had a very small backyard, the children could play on the main green, at least when the students weren’t around. They were so close to Brown (where Lillian completed her doctorate), that, Frank [Lillian's husband] joked, Lilian “could go to class and if a child fell out the window, catch him before he landed on the ground.”
“Tom and Mrs. Cunningham put the house in order.
“Much of the first floor was devoted to offices; two stenographers worked in one room, typing away from the Dictaphones that Frank and Lillian spoke into “at any hour day or night.”
“Lillian also found a well-educated mother’s helper, Helen Douglas, who was a student at Pembrike, the women’s college at Brown…Frank interviewed Helen, scaring her to death with questions about teaching, playing with, and disciplining young children. “I meekly said I’m a freshman wanting to study to be an English teacher–I’ve never been with young children so I’d just have to do what seemed proper on the occasion.”
“Frank hired her. He said, “I’ve just hired her because she doesn’t know a damn thing.” The Gilbreths sent Helen to a Montessori school to get a little training.
“With a full compliment of household assistants in place, Lillian was poised to play a more public part in Gilbreth and Company, management consultants.
“Frank wound down his construction business and became, in partnership with his wife, a management consultant. He also participated in all childcare basic care duties and education.
“It was a fifty-fifty proposition throughout. Any woman can do it with that sort of husband.“
(Taken from Jane Lancaster’s book Making Time: Lillian Moler Gilbreth–A Life Beyond “Cheaper by the dozen.“, Pp. 130-132)
Filed under: Complexity, Creativity by Habits, Design Thinking, Supportive Spouses | Tagged: Cheaper by the Dozen Mother, Complex Families, Creativity, Habits, Habits for Creativity, Lillian Moller Gilbreth | Leave a Comment »