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The Hood Magazine

Working Parent Perspectives

11/29/2017 09:45AM ● By Digital Media Director

By:  The ‘Hood Magazine 

We all know life is busy. Whether you’re a full-time working mom, a part-time working mom, or a stay-at-home mom, everyone has their busy days and schedules and reasons for choosing their journey. We spoke with few local moms who have very different lives, but one common goal: to do the best they can on this journey through motherhood and life. For those who think the stay-at-home moms have it easy, think again. For those who wonder how a mom can spend most of the day away from her children, think about the choices we make to create balance in our lives. There is no right or wrong way to do motherhood. We are all in this together. We are a village of moms who rely on each other to make it on this journey, and we’re all here to support each other along the way.

The Gaddis Family

 Shelly and Corey have been married for 16 years. They have four children: Patrick (13), Evy (12), Chase (9) and Kate (3). Shelly owns a local parenting store called Elegant Mommy Inc. She’s also the founding member of the board for Educated Mommy, which serves to educate parents and equip them to be the best parents they wish to be.

Timeline of a typical day for the Gaddis family:

(Shelly) Three days a week I am up at 4:15 a.m. to make it to the gym for a 5 a.m. workout. I’m home by 6:15 to shower and enjoy a freshly made breakfast by my amazing husband. Our family prays together every morning at 7:45, and then Corey heads to take Chase to school. I am at home for another hour when I try to get a few emails answered before the older two head off to middle school at 8:40 a.m. Kate and I then head to the store most days where she hangs out with me until Grandpa comes to get her around lunch time. I work at the store the rest of the day, and my parents are very helpful with the after school run around. Evenings are about dinner, homework, baths, spelling lists, dance classes, paper routes and catching up.

What do you love about your work/family life?

I love that my children are being raised by my family. As I’ve gotten older, I find the old sayings about ‘it taking a village to raise a child’ are really true, and I’m so incredibly thankful that our children are able to be cared for primarily by our immediate family as well as my parents. Even though there are many days where we are running constantly, it is either myself, my husband or my parents who are active faces in all of their activities.

What advice do you have for other working moms who are juggling busy schedules?

Give yourself some grace. Know there will be times that you have to make a choice. Quality time is so incredibly important and raising your children with strong values can look different to every family. Decide what is most important to your family and figure out the path to get there even if you aren’t able to do it today.

What is the most challenging part of being a working mom?

Sometimes having to choose between helping a family/customer or being at home to help with the kids. There are times when I am getting home right as the kids go to bed, and I am up before they are in the morning to be at the gym. I don’t necessarily see my children for long periods of times some days, but I do make sure the times I am with them I try to be very focused on them and their wide array of needs, since they are all in very different stages of life and development.

How do you find time for yourself and balance?

I make a very conscious effort to make it to the gym at least three times per week. That means I have to get up very early. In order to get up early, I have to make sure I’m in bed by 9 p.m. It’s not always easy, but I definitely feel so much better when I make time for the gym. I also make time for friends/social interaction with my inner circle. Making sure I interact at least a few times per month with my closest friends helps keep my heart happy!

The Bukrey Family

 Katie and her husband have a daughter Karlee who is five and another little girl who will arrive any day. They also have Macy, an American Cocker Spaniel. Katie was born and raised in Sioux Falls where she lives with her family today. She owns Brick House Creations, a jewelry business she runs out of her home. A concept that came to life when her daughter was born, and she decided she wanted to be able to be home with her.

Timeline of a typical day for the Bukrey family:

Karlee attends Pre-K for just over three hours per day. After I drop her off, I head to my in-home studio. I send out orders each day and work on creating jewelry. When I pick Karlee up from school, we head home for lunch/snack and have some "quiet time” to unwind after school. Depending on my to-do list for the business, after quiet time I usually have her work alongside me! I have a table set up in my studio for her to color or create, or bring in a stash of dolls and play. This gives me a chance to get a few things done and still be able to stay engaged and present with her near. In the afternoon I focus on being mom. Dinner prep is a family affair and after dinner, I sneak off to my studio for a couple more hours of work. I usually wrap up my studio time by about 7:30 p.m. for family time, sharing stories and bedtime. I've also been known to respond to some of my retailers/customers up until bedtime.  

 What do you love about your work/family life?

There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about the days when I was working a strict schedule of 8-5 p.m. Although I enjoyed my position, it was stressful and offered no flexibility. If you were to ask me then where I would see myself in ten years, not once would I have thought I would be a stay-at-home mom/business owner. I don't consider my role now a "job." It's a true passion and love. Now as a mom, with another on the way, I am paving the way to make it possible to see the milestones my children hit, volunteer in the classroom, or spend time home with them when they’re sick. 

What advice do you have for other working moms who are juggling busy schedules?

I still consider myself a work in progress as far as juggling! Although I have found what works and what doesn't, it will all change with the new baby on the way. I’m currently trying to figure out what sort of maternity leave I will give myself and how I will be able to adjust to all the changes of a new baby. I think communication is key in a family as well as a business. Communicating with your child/spouse/clients builds better relationships so you can tackle changes or any obstacles ahead. 

What is the most challenging part of being a working mom?

My most challenging obstacle is when to draw the line. The trouble I have with my line of work is simply that it's my passion. If I don't have orders on my plate, I want to make, create, organize...it's hard to separate business from pleasure! It's also hard to just shut the studio door and walk away when it's right in my home. I always feel like I need to be doing something!

How do you find time for yourself and balance?

As all moms know, it's very, very hard! Again, finding time for myself is doing something I love, which in turn, is creating. So forcing myself to head outdoors or take the kiddo to the zoo or something away from the home, forces me to take a step away. 

The Merkley Family

 

Joni and her husband Josh have four children. Hunter (16), Lauren (14), Ellen (11) and Henry (7). They live in Sioux Falls with their two dogs. Joni and Josh grew up in Sioux Falls. Joni has been a stay-at-home mom for the past 16 years

What is your life like as a stay at home mom? 

When my babies were little I was BLESSED to meet a group of moms who had very similar parenting values. There were always 6-8 of us that met every weekday for years. We would spend long summer days at the park, zoo and pool or meet up at the community center play groups or library on cold winter days.

As our children went off to different schools our time together got less and less and for my family our world started to revolve around the activities at All City Elementary. That has since continued on to middle and high school. 

Timeline of a typical day for the Merkley family:

When my kids were little we would wake up and meet our friends every   morning, we'd pack a lunch and head home just in time for naps. Evenings were always fun with my husband home and were often spent in the yard or family movie night on Friday nights. Some of my favorite memories are with us all cozy in the house decorating huge sheets of rolled paper I'd tape to our big living room window.

What do you love about being a stay-at-home mom? 

I love the flexibility that it has given me over the years.  Being able to be present and help at school are important to me. I'm thankful for those moments and memories. I've started working part-time, and even though I make my own schedule, it really has been different to have responsibilities outside of my kids' lives. I've always taken on as much volunteering as I was able, but it all revolves around my kids, so working is definitely different.

What advice do you have for other moms who stay-at-home, or are considering it? 

My advice is to be present. You can be a stay at home mom and still not be present. It is a conscious decision to be intentional with the time you have. I think there's a huge risk because you have so much time at home to accidentally squander it. Being intentional and present are two of the most valuable things any parent can do for the children.  

What is the most challenging part of being a stay-at-home mom?

The most challenging part for me is finding balance. Our lives run so much more smoothly when my house is clean and organized, but I also didn't want it to be such an obsession that it took away from experiences and memories. When my kids were younger I found ways to make cleaning and organizing fun... that has gotten harder to do as they've gotten older and wiser. Drawing rainbow colored chores out of a bowl just doesn't cut it anymore.

How do you find time for yourself and balance?

My third year into parenting I realized that I had to redefine "time for myself." My days spent at the park and pool with my friends while our kids played became what I considered my time to refuel. As my kids got older I started going to the gym every morning with friends while our kiddos played in the gym nursery. I feel like life has cycled back into it being almost impossible to get to the gym and I very much miss it. If moms are able to make it work to get to the gym I would highly encourage it. I was more mentally and physically able to take on the day when I was exercising myself.