How I became a Sorority Mom without really trying
Oh, to find a job at mid-life that doesn’t discriminate against age or gender!
Being a sorority housemother has been ideal for me – and thousands of older single women like me – who find themselves on their own by choice, or circumstance. Perhaps like some of us, you need to find work after a divorce, a death, job lay-off, or foreclosure. Or maybe you’re retired, but want to remain independent and self-sufficient. Or you’re adventurous and want to see different parts of the US from a secure vantage point. Or you own your home in one part of the country, but want to spend time near your grandchildren living elsewhere. You want freedom and security all at once!
An unexpected job and lifestyle
A sorority house mother not only receives a salary, but a lovely home, meals, utilities, security, housekeeping service, and yard work provided for her. Does it get any better than that?
As I look toward retirement after almost two decades in this field, I want to offer a helping hand to other older women who might find this the perfect answer to their needs – but don’t yet realize it. Recently I was out to dinner with a group of other housemothers, and we were sharing how we happened to stumble into this line of work. In many ways, we had similar stories. We also shared similar challenges in our jobs. It struck me how much insight I’ve gained – much of it from hard-knock lessons – about how to be a successful housemother.
My life was a wreck!
Hopefully, you aren’t just like me when I discovered that being a sorority House Director was the answer for me. I had just gone through a nasty divorce, which left me penniless. I wasn’t prepared to abruptly jump back into the workforce, nor had the up-to-date skills to even do so. I had been enjoying the middle class life of a middle-aged matron. Well, sometimes you unexpectedly get a curveball thrown at you, and it hits you upside the head! So there I was, living on the generosity of my grown children and grandchildren – working here and there, but not able to support myself with enough salary at midlife. If that wasn’t a true mid-life crisis!
Fortunately for me, I knew a lovely woman who volunteered as the advisor to her sorority. She asked me if I’d be interested in taking the job when they couldn’t find a house director. And believe it or not, that’s how a number of housemothers get their start. It’s not something they were seeking either, but the position found them – usually at a time of need.
It’s okay if you weren’t a sorority sister yourself
So now, to save you a lot of trial and error, I’m going to reveal the hidden world of the sorority house mother for you – how to find this job and turn it into a rewarding career that you can really love.
As I said, when I was first approached about applying for the House Director position I didn’t know anything about the sorority world – other than the stereotypes of sorority girls as featured in movies and television. My own upbringing was about as far from the sorority world as you could get. But the reality is, while the governing board, advisors, directors, and treasurer are all adult former members of each sorority house, the housemothers almost never have such an affiliation.
The fact that I had absolutely no knowledge of what this job was because I didn’t have a sorority background, made me hesitant. Admittedly, the precariousness of my personal situation made me overcome my reluctance. So I went for the job interview anyway. And before I knew it, I had moved out of my son’s house into my own apartment within a three story mansion – with no operating instructions, but a lot of misconceptions!
The hidden career for the over-40 crowd
So why hadn’t I heard of this job before? Sororities – and fraternities – don’t typically advertise in the newspaper or on Craigslist and the internet when there are openings. You aren’t aware of this job because you’ve not seen it advertised.
Well, it’s not just the fact that I hadn’t heard of this type of job. On my first morning waking up as a brand new housemother, I realized it was going to be on-the-job training. I’d been given no preparation for living in a large house with sixty active 18 – 21-year-old women, overseeing a half dozen staff members, and getting everyone’s issues resolved in a hurry!
Now after all these years, I can honestly tell you that the issues don’t change much, even when I move to a new house, to a new sorority, in a new state. That’s why I know I’m offering you sound advice that will help you be a successful housemother. I’ve proved it myself in four different states.
I’ve put all my knowledge into some helpful books
In this day and age of post-feminism, the beloved, aging sorority houses still stand at universities and colleges across the country. They must be cared for, their staffs managed, the food ordered, the yards mowed, and you can be the one directing this.
By whatever name you’ll be known…
- House Director
- Sorority mom
…I’ve written these books just for you.
These are just some of the pertinent topics covered in the Sorority Mom book collection
The seven most important things you need to know:
- The right questions to ask when interviewing
- How to be a boss of staff (not of the girls)
- How to negotiate the best prices from vendors
- What to look for when hiring a cook
- How to help your cook succeed if she’s never been an institutional cook
- How to protect yourself from lawsuits
- How to get such a job in the first place
If this job sounds right for you, join the thousands of older women across America caring for lovely old homes, inhabited by young women in that inbetween stage maturing from teens to young adults. My colleagues and I have found a niche where we live comfortably.
Pass this information on to your mature women friends
Most of all, I wish you the best of luck securing a wonderful home and job for yourself. Please share this with a woman friend – pass it onto your mom, an aunt, a single woman who would enjoy a home and job and most importantly – her own independence! This career certainly has blessed me. My first book, “The Sorority House Director’s Survival Guide”, will give you the inside scoop to make it happen for you.
Mona O. Meyers
Buy my book for Sorority House Directors and join me in a great job!