Why? ‘Because we said so!’ … and because we know how hard it is!
National Working Parents Day is Sept. 16. In honor of all parents balancing work and family life, we asked some moms and dads in our department how they manage work, kids and life. Their advice ranges from the practical to the inspirational. One thing is clear: Their children are the most important part of their day.
“I’m able to manage being a working parent by my lifeline (otherwise known as my calendar) and maintaining structure within our family. If I wasn’t organized and able keep things rolling on a schedule, I feel that my family’s world would spin off its axis.”
– Christy, mother of Kendall, 12, and Mackenzie, 9
“I have been in the workforce as long as I’ve been a parent. My advice? Sweat the small stuff. I don’t mean house cleaning or cooking the perfect meal — the kids will be fine with dust and pizza. I do mean walks in the park, movie and game nights, and sitting in the stands during band competitions. That’s what my two children, now grown, remember. And that’s what makes us close.”
– Mary, mother of Kate, 27, and Glen, 23
“Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom has its challenging moments. When my daughter was 4, she was sick and needed to go to the doctor. I made arrangements to leave work to take her (rock, paper, scissors with my husband). I ran to pick her up before the doctor’s office closed, made it to the office with my daughter behind me, shut the door on her finger — you know the drill. Lots of tears, rushing around to get her back in the exam room. The doctor sat down and her finger was fine but said, ‘I guess that’s not why you came in today.’ Needless to say, I started crying more than my daughter. Always a balance, always a challenge, but loving my work makes me a strong role model for my kids and appreciate the time I spend with them.”
“Keep a schedule and a chore chart. We have a schedule for when we do laundry, cleaning and shopping. That way things get done — and we all know what needs to get done. My kids also do chores according to a chore chart. They clean the bathroom, wash floors, take out the trash, sort and fold laundry, and make beds.”
“When I get home from work I try to switch into ‘parent mode.’ I usually take a minute or two in the car to gather my thoughts before I walk in the house. That means I don’t check email and pretty much don’t touch my phone once I pick her up from school and in the evening. I try to make sure no matter how busy I am we don’t cut corners on bedtime, as it is the best connection time I have with her. We read a minimum of two books usually, say prayers and rock (yes, we still rock for a little bit. I figure it won’t be too much longer before she doesn’t want to or is too big for me to hold her.)”
“I manage being a working parent because I have a wonderful husband who is tremendously supportive. We threw out the traditional roles of family life — it’s all hands on deck! He gives baths, loves to cook and will grocery shop. Keeper!”
“Being a working parent doesn’t always allow for a lot of spouse time, and date nights are at a premium with after-school activities, work needs and babysitters. So my wife and I make time for a lunch date once a week. It might sometimes be eating fast food in our car together in between meetings or getting some last-minute grocery shopping done, but it helps us to stay connected and have child-free conversations.”
“The evening time at home is dedicated to family time. I try really hard not to check email or get on social media during that short time from when I get home from work until my son goes to bed. That is my time with him and the entire family.”
“Our biggest challenge is time management and making sure we know what we have coming up, month by month. So my wife and I have a shared calendar app (Cozi), a monthly dry erase calendar hanging in the kitchen, and she has a paper planner and I use my Outlook calendar. It’s a lot of updating, but with both of us working full-time, it ensures we won’t miss anything!”
“With three kids under age 6, I’m learning to let things go. With two kids, I would spend my time once they went to bed tidying up the house, packing lunches, etc. Now with three, I have accepted I cannot do it all. Why put away the toys? They’re all going to be out tomorrow! Let go of what you can.”