Interview with a sorority house mom

in Jobs working with young people, Salaried Jobs, University jobs

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What do you do for a living?iStock_000001597569XSmall.jpg

They call us a sorority house director which puts me in the property management category.

How would you describe what it’s like being a sorority house mom?

I live in a sorority house and every sorority house is different. But probably and this sounds funny about 90% of my job is just being here. They just want someone here to take care of things when they do arise.

What does your work entail?

Normally, on a day-to-day basis, I will oversee my staff, help to plan menus, and do the food orders or shopping. I also schedule repairs and maintenance to be done for the house. I eat all my meals with the girls and try to be here when they need me for something.

…these girls are my heroes. They’re funny, they’re bright. They party harder than any kids I’ve ever known, and then they study harder. They’re very well-rounded.

I communicate with the house corporation, which is the group of women or the corporation that actually owns the house. I do a good deal of talking or e-mailing with that group because they want to know everything that’s going on here and how. Like if the faucet in the senior wing is working, or what did we find out about that. Each house is going to vary widely though.

How did you get started?

I was looking for something to do. You know, you always find things in a funny way. My sister has a lake house in a little town called Wimberley, Texas. She called one day and said, You need to be a sorority house mom. I said Yeah? That would be fun. But I don’t know how I would go about it and she said, Well, you call these two women. And these two women run a business where they place house moms all over the country in sororities and fraternities”and they happen to be located in that little town. And they have an ad in the local paper and my sister had just picked up the local paper one day and thought to herself, my sister would like this. So I called, and the lady I talked to was Barbara, and she said, Well, tell me about yourself. And I started off with, Well, I’m a Pi Phi¦ and you know, went on to tell her that I was a CPA and had owned and operated a business and I’ve got a lot of experience in a lot of different things, most of which I don’t ever want to do again.

I love being mom. I like everything about being a mom¦and I get all the fun parts. I get to have all the fun things, but yet I don’t have to pay for college or the orthodontist. I don’t have to bail them out of jail or anything the parents have to do. I just get the fun part of it.

So she told me what they had available all over the country and I immediately found a place I wanted to go. And it just happened to be the Pi Phi house there. Anyway, that’s how I got that job. I never would have known how to go about it. And probably half the women on this campus got their jobs through these two women in Wimberly, Texas.

What do you like about being a house mom?

Number one, these girls are my heroes. They’re funny, they’re bright. They party harder than any kids I’ve ever known, and then they study harder. They’re very well-rounded. I love being mom. I like everything about being a mom¦and I get all the fun parts. I get to have all the fun things, but yet I don’t have to pay for college or the orthodontist. I don’t have to bail them out of jail or anything the parents have to do. I just get the fun part of it.

What do you dislike?

Oh, sometimes what I dislike is having to deal with my board. The women who are my bosses. Especially when I’ve got two or three of them with really strong opinions about how things ought to be done and one of them will come and tell me to do this, and another one will come the next day and say, No, why don’t we do it this way, and you know, it puts me in a bind because they’re each telling me something different and I don’t know who’s advice to follow.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

I’m paid on salary.

How much money do you make as a sorority house mom?

$32,000 a year, and that’s for a 10-month contract, and then I get a $300 a month car allowance and $300 for insurance. I get my own apartment. I have no bills to pay.

They used to want to tell me everything that everyone didn’t like about something¦be it the food or the colors of the rooms or whatever. I finally had to say, I can cater to vegetarians. I can cater to allergies. I can cater to religious beliefs. I cannot cater to pickiness. If you are so picky and you really don’t like Mexican food, that’s your problem, you’re going to want to go out and eat that day.

There are times I just feel like I’m being paid a whole lot to do nothing.

What education or skills are needed to do this?

You have to like kids, if you don’t like college-age kids, this would not be the job for you.

What is most challenging about what you do?

The most challenging is getting through the first year. And I’ve heard that from others. That’s because you come in and everyone is used to things being done a certain way, but they don’t want to tell you what that is. When I came in I even asked the girls, What do you see me doing? What would you expect from me because I don’t know. And they never told me. And then they’d sit around and grouch, Well, she doesn’t do this and she doesn’t do that. Well, tell me what you want! Sometimes it’s difficult, but I think we’re on a pretty even keel right now. They used to want to tell me everything that everyone didn’t like about something¦be it the food or the colors of the rooms or whatever. I finally had to say, I can cater to vegetarians. I can cater to allergies. I can cater to religious beliefs. I cannot cater to pickiness. If you are so picky and you really don’t like Mexican food, that’s your problem, you’re going to want to go out and eat that day. Please don’t expect me to make everyone happy, every meal¦And they do much better because they understand that I’m not here to be their short order cook. But if they’re picky, that’s their problem, not mine.

What is most rewarding about being a house mom?

I think what I like”it might not be true”but I like thinking that I have made an impact on their lives. It is so rewarding to hear from girls, or just to have them come by the house, who have graduated two or three years ago.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

When you go to a campus, find an ally, find a friend doing the same job, because a lot of times, all you really need is someone to talk to. She can’t solve your problems, but it does help if you have someone who kind of knows what you’re going through and can listen to you. What I have learned later life is to set boundaries. I think boundaries are really important. That first year I really didn’t have any. If they wanted to wake me up at 2 o’clock so that they could get juice, I’d get up and unlock the juice machine. Now I put out a 10 o’clock snack for them every school night, and if they come in at 9:15, I can say Are you going to starve to death before 10? Well, no, but I just¦ I said, Are you going to starve to death before 10? No, and I said, Then wait until 10. Now I have set more boundaries, and now they don’t test me quite as often. But I think as long as you’re willing to get up and do that for them, then they come to expect it. So, it’s kind of like being a mom or a dad that you have to know the things that you really want to do, but you also have to decide when you want to do them.

How much time off do you get/take?

Well, like today, it’s what, 10:30, 11 o’clock in the morning and I’m still in my robe. I didn’t put feet on the floor until 9:30. Technically, I get two weekends a semester off. The norm appears to be about one weekend a semester, and I think that I could push that issue and get more time. I just haven’t needed to go anywhere or wanted to go anywhere. I get all the Christmas break, Spring break, Thanksgiving and all of that off and I’m paid. I get the two months, June and July off in the summertime, for which I’m not paid. I’d tend to sit at home and watch Law & Order no matter where I was, but if I want to go out to eat with a friend, I can do that. I’ll have my cell phone with me and if for whatever reason they needed to call me, I could come back. And that doesn’t really happen that often. The parents all have my cell phone, and I’ve never gotten a call from one of them at three in the morning saying Where is Mary?  They have called in the daytime and said, Mary has Strep throat. Would you go check on her? and I’d say Sure, no problem!  I think they like knowing that I’m here, and that I can take their temperature and I can recommend that they go to the doctor if I think they need to.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

A common misconception would be that we’re all 75 years old and we just kind of sit in our apartments all day and do nothing. When I was in a sorority I kind of likened it to turning on a light switch. I don’t know how it works, I just knew that every day I’d go down, there was food. And then when I flipped the switch, the light’s going to come on. I don’t know how it works. I didn’t need to know how. But there really is more to it.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

My goal is very simple. It’s to make this chapter the best in the country. The chapter where I went to college, just won the Balfour Cup, which is the national award for excellence in Pi Phi. It’s given out to one chapter every year. And I was just thrilled to bits that my chapter won it, but now my goal is for us to win here.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

By and large how you feel about your job is really determined by your personality and your choices. I mean we each have obstacles that we don’t like, be it the house corporations or bratty girls, or lack of funds for what we consider important. So you can go in and say, Well, they don’t do this and therefore I hate it. Or you can also choose to say, Well, they do this. You know what? I’m going to work with that. I’m going to do it their way. You really just have to be flexible. I would say flexibility is the key to it and maintaining a positive attitude.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne June 17, 2015 at 8:34 am

I am curious about the House Director duties during the summer months. I am currently a House Director and my year is quickly extending into the summer months with a hazy job description that states the HD is in charge of special projects in the summer. What is happening is they are doing special projects every summer (the last 3 years) and I find that my time off is non-existent. Can someone address this and give me an idea of what should be a reasonable amount of time one should work. I am currently figuring that I am making about .30 cents per hour. I live at the house during the school year except for holidays and live in my home the other months and I am in the same town as my sorority house.

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Elicia May 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm

I’m so glad that I read this! I’m about to move to Tallahassee to be the House Mom for Pi Phi at FSU! I was a Pi Phi at WVU and it’s always been a dream of mine to be a House Director (Mom). I’m so nervous, since I’m not a FL Beta, but I think I’ll have a lot of support from local alumna, AAC, and House Corp. I think that having been in the same sorority will help immensely. They don’t have to have me leave when doing Pi Phi-only things, like initiation (so they save money) and I can even join in on things. Also, I just don’t think my heart would be in it if it were a different organization. I chose my sorority for a reason and the values that they hold are what I’m still drawn to. I was looking for advice and so glad that I stumbled upon this. Thank you! PPL

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Charlotte Malu June 9, 2015 at 7:34 am

Congratulations on your position with Pi Phi.!!…Barb Gray who began Greek House Resource with me in 1998, was a House Mom for Pi Phi in California…and before that another sorority in Colorado. She passed away several months ago and I run the business by myself….thanks to Barb this business has helped many women in transition begin a career as a House Director. Let me know if you ever need us!
Charlotte Malu
Greek House Resource
greekhs@gmail.com
361-450-0818

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diane mcalister May 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I am desperately trying to get in touch with the woman who was interviewed for information about her job as a house/sorority mom. She said two women in Wimberly, Tx have a business placing job candidates I have a background of 15 years as a high school counselor. I live in Texas and am very familiar with Wimberly, however I called the Chamber & the local newspaper and they had no knowledge of the women. If you’re reading this and know how to get in touch with these women please email me at kudzuqueen@yahoo.com or call me at 817-629-2285. I would appreciate it if someone would give me a lead. Diane McAlister

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Judy L. June 19, 2014 at 12:53 am

I’ll bet what you’re looking for is Greek House Resource found at greekhouse.net. The site has a mailing address in Wimberly, Texas. I hope this
helps.

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Charlotte Malu, GHR June 19, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Judy, thank you for helping Diane find Greek House Resource!
She did and we appreciate you!
Charlotte Malu
Greek House Resource
PO Box 195, Wimberley, Tx 78676
512-836-7176
greekhs@gmail.com
http://www.greekhouse.net

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Patsy Dearing May 27, 2014 at 7:46 am

Hi we are looking for a house mom at Ohio University in Athens Ohio which is southeast of Columbus. Please send your resume asap to House Director Search Box 1184, Athens Ohio 45701 We would like to find someone right away for next year starting in mid August.

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Ricky Sites May 21, 2014 at 11:33 am

Good Morning Ladies!
How inspiring! I am looking for a House Director position in the Washington (state) or Oregon area! I am a “teenage” granny (according to my granddaughter – when she was little). I have been a Project Manager for Northwestern University Memorial Hospital (Chicacgo) – and for U of Chicago Hospital – as well as Harborview Medical Center (managed by UW) – all major construction projects. I have, also, conducted training classes for Inner City Charitable Youth groups and had my own business over the years. Also, was Manager of Facilties for Kaiser Permanente Northwest. Love the college age generation. Have lived in Germany, Ecuador and Australia. Hope to offer a great experience for young adults in a position you might know of in this House Mom arena!! Can send a resume if this seems appropriate. Thank you for being there!!
Regards, Ricky Sites

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kristen April 28, 2014 at 10:00 am

Do you think being 23 years old is to young to be a house director?

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Kristi September 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm

A wonderful job indeed, albeit ups and downs, but isn’t that with any job?? If you are interested in a position as a House Director in Tucson, AZ please email your contact information to tucsonhousedirector@yahoo.com

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Rick James September 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

Nice post! Great info.. My dad is a property manager in seattle and he loved it.

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Melanie February 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I was employed as a sorority kitchen manager, but I was never the kitchen manager. I was micro managed by the house director. I ended up leaving because of her. She went through seven cooks since she took over in September. I’m a certified dietary manager and I manager my own kitchen now at a rehabilitation center making much more money than that house director is now and I hope she gets to read this. There was no pleasing this woman, plus the idiot took the onions out of the kitchen for a week because she didn’t want us to cook with them. I hope she goes back to Colorado to the rock she crawled out from under and leaves Oregon in peace. My condolences to the girls of KKG chapter at the U of O.

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Louanne Edmondson December 27, 2011 at 11:33 am

It was gratifying and informative to read this article and curious to know what campus. I have also done this work and would like to do so once again. FYI — ALMOST every campus has Office of Greek Affairds or Student Affairs and by going online to any college website one may find this email or phone to find out what is needed to apply. This office will usually accept resumes and send them to a chapter advisor or corp board pres when a need exists. This article is complete as it gives the positive and negative aspects. Louanne

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Charlotte Sands-Malu July 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Hi AGAIN FROM TEXAS! IN CASE YOU MISSED IT,
WE ARE THE LADIES IN WIMBERLEY…..
If you are interested in a career as a House Director, pls read our website at http://www.greekhouse.net and contact us with a resume…..our email address has changed so if it doesn’t automatically forward to the new address (if you don’t get an immediate response), write GREEK HOUSE RESOURCE, PO Box 195, Wimberley, TX 78676, send a resume and include an email address so I can contact you.
Looking forward,
Charlotte

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sarah pastian July 13, 2011 at 11:36 am

I am a fun, energetic lady who was in a sorority many years ago.My son was in a frat also and I do know the life of being a greek and a parent of one too. I really know I’d be a great house director and would love to hear from someone in the midwest area.(Sdak, N dak. Neb,Mn) I am a good cook, a great lsitener and have a huge heart.
Sarah

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Lee Ann Howenstine June 19, 2011 at 9:05 am

Hello,

I am very interested in finding a sorority cooking position in the Louisville area. I was the kitchen manager at a sorority at Purdue, and absolutly loved it. Would you please advise any sites I would find information. Thank you so much.

Lee Ann Howenstine

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Kim Billingsley June 6, 2011 at 7:35 am

Hi Ladies,
Would consider getting back in the House Director business in Flordia. Also saw a listing for Greencastle, possibly would consider that also. Please contact me.
Best Regards, Kim Billingsley

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

Hi Kim,
Where are you these days?
Email me if we can help you.
Charlotte
GHR
greekhs@gmail.com

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Charlotte Malu, GHR June 19, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Hi Kim,
saw this about 3 years too late, but maybe you’re still looking.
We’d LOVE to have you back, altho we know your situation changed, and we hope you are very very happy!!!!
;-)
Charlotte

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Charlotte Sands-Malu May 28, 2011 at 6:47 am

Ladies,
What nice posts!
Please contact Greek House Resource if you’re interested in a House Director career or if you’re a HD looking to relocate!
Send me your resume and we’ll be in touch.
http://www.greekhouse.net
greekhs@sbcglobal.net

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Mary Lou Raterman May 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Would love to be a house mom! I’m a “people person” and I enjoy working with young people as I do now part-time as a Standardized Patient for Medical Students, ARNP’s, PT’s and nurses at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. Have also been a licensed Condo Area Manager and managed a family business.

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Mary Lou Raterman May 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Would love to be a house mom! How do I go about applying for a position. Anything available? I currently work part-time with medical students at USF and really would love to work at something even more challenging. Have been a property manager and managed a family business.

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Mary Lou Raterman May 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Would love to be a house mom! How do I go about applying for a position. Anything available?

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Mary Lou Raterman May 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Would love to be a house mom! I’m a “people person” and I enjoy working with young people as I do now part-time as a Standardized Patient for Medical Students, ARNP’s, PT’s and nurses at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. Have also been a licensed Condo Area Manager, and in that capacity managed nine homeowner association areas which meant arranging for area maintenance and fielding complaints. Managed ordering and billing and acted as accountant in a family owned business in Louisville, KY. Initiated to AXO in Bowling Green, OH. Managed insurance and administrative affairs for various country clubs in Naples, FL for a 10-year period before moving to Tampa to be near two sons and five granddaughters. I had a great friend in KY who was a housemother for many years at UK and she loved it and I know I would also. Anything available?

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

Mary Lou,
I enjoyed your comments and we’d love to work with you!
Send me your resume and we’ll go from there.
Charlotte
greekhs@gmail.com

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Betty Pears April 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I was a house mother for 14 years. Loved it and miss it.
I moved to Chattanooga, Tn. 2 years ago.
Would love to find a job near by.
How???

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

Betty,
Let us know if we can help you!
Email me for an application, send us your resume, and we’ll get on this!
Charlotte
greekhs@gmail.com

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Janet Klein March 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I am interested in being a house mother in the St. Louis, Mo. area. I know that I would enjoy this:
I am a great cook so people tell me and I really enjoy pleasing people with my cooking – I have four children-three that went to college and one that got his GED.
I luv parties – I luv preparing for parties – I love clothes,hair and all the things that make girls feel good-I love that girls study hard and I love to encourage and help with self-esteem. I love to help keep the house looking presentable and comfortable. I just think I would love being a House Mother/Director/helper.Thank you for your website and please answer with any help you may have with a position for me.

Janet Klein

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 10:54 am

Janet,
If you’d like to email us your resume, we’ll go from there.
Thanks and looking forward,
Charlotte

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Alice Taylor February 24, 2008 at 7:59 pm

May I add my thanks to the Texas Ladies. Several years ago, having gone through a rough patch in my career as a House Director, these ladies were there to give me the encouragement that I needed to pursue a new position. I would encourage anyone out there that is thinking about this career, to contact Greek Resources.

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

Oh Alice,
You’re an Angel!
Stay in touch with us!
Charlotte

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jimmieanna February 2, 2008 at 7:58 am

I am so glad to see this article. I work as a House Director, this is my first year. I love it.

I am very glad to see http://www.greekhouse.net mentioned in this article as well, for I used the “ladies in Wimberley, TX” to help me find a placement.

I cannot say enough good about the help I received from Charlotte…….

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 10:56 am

Jimmie,
How the Heck are you doing?
I love reading your comments!
Please stay in touch with us!
Charlotte
greekhs@gmail.com

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trave45 January 13, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for the commenting! As you can see, she’s happy she found out about your company!

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Charlotte Sands-Malu January 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I’m thrilled to read this interview! I’m one of the “ladies in Wimberley, TX” that placed this House Director in her first position, altho I can’t see who it is or which campus! We’re thrilled she mentioned us and we’d love to help other women get started as House Directors! We don’t just work with Texas ladies, but are seeking qualified applicants from everywhere, to place in positions nationwide! Visit our website at http://www.greekhouse.net if you or someone you know wants to explore this career!

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diana lewis July 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I have read the interview and had no idea that someone had a website to place house fraternity directors at various locations I have sent out several resumes to various colleges and I am brginning to think this must be the best job in the world nobody wants to leave I went to the university of alabama and i dearly love the school but so far they have no openings Other univ ersities I have contacted are auburn,oklahoma state,arkansas and now I am going to send my resume to K.U. If you can help that would be great thank you for any information you can give me diana lewis

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Charlotte Malu September 28, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi Diana,
Not sure if you were addressing GHR, but we’d be happy to look at your resume!
You can check out our website, or email me your resume….
Looking forward,
Charlote

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