Routine Maintenance: The Langenfeld Family
● By Hood Magazine
By Alex Strauss
A Family with Unusual Schedules – Misten and Luke Langenfeld, Finley (6), Camila (5), and Liv (3)
Langenfeld is a full time firefighter in Sioux Falls and Misten is the owner of
The Creative Co-op, a co-working space for creative freelancers located in
downtown Sioux Falls and Ripple Marketing, a full service marketing and advertising
firm. They say their often unpredictable daily life is based on four
principals: Balance, Perspective, Compromise, and Love.
Tell us about your family’s schedule and how you manage it.
Misten: Our schedule looks very different from a typical 8-5 family’s schedule. As a fireman, Luke works 24 hour shifts. We know his schedule a year in advance and we work around it. The nights that Luke is on shift there are generally a few more hick-ups than on the evenings when he his home to help out. We keep a family calendar with everything on it from school functions, activities, vacations, etc.
You have to be flexible and take turns doing things like getting groceries, cooking, getting the kids ready for school. That way neither of the parents feels all of the weight on their shoulders. Have a constant stream of communication!
What is one thing that helps you to be an effective parent when you have so many things going on?
Misten: Breaking down tasks into smaller, bite-sized packages helps. Say you need to help your child with homework, skim an article, and send an e-mail. Don’t try to do all three at once. Instead, sit with your child and give them the attention they need. Skim the article, but keep the music off and close all the other tabs on your computer while you read. Only after you’ve finished this, send the e-mail. Give yourself the luxury of brief but un-wavering focus on a single thing and you will see better results.
How do you find time to spend with your spouse and do you make that a part of your schedule.
Misten: Every year on our anniversary we take a trip just the two of us someplace new. It is something fun that we look forward to each year! We go on this trip without the kids so that we don’t forget what it is like to have “us time”. We value our time spent as a family, but we feel that it’s equally important to have one- on-one time.
What about when things don’t go as planned?
Misten: Parenting and marriage are not always a walk in the park. The sooner you start to think of your career and family life as imperfect creations in which you can only do your personal best, the happier you’ll be.
Do you have other advice for working moms, regardless of their schedule?
Misten: Make time for you. In between all of the working and helping and cooking and cleaning and homework, do something for you. Take a bubble bath, go for a jog, have a glass of wine, sit down in your recliner and watch “The Voice” or call your best friend and tell her how awesome she is!
What schedule do you follow and how did you come up with it?
Misten: We try to keep the schedule as consistent as possible for the girls. The evenings during the school week are pretty straight forward. We eat supper when I get home from work, we work on homework together, get ready for bed, and read a book just before bed. We also have a nanny throughout the year that is so wonderful to have in the picture! Our nanny is at our home when our girls get off the school bus and stays with the girls until I get home from work.