I love the positive spin Abigail puts into her experiences as a working mom. Her job sounds very busy, but it’s clear she enjoys it and is happy being a full time working mom for a small family-owned business.
Describe your home life – how old are your kids? Does your spouse work as well? Or are you a single parent?
My family of three consists of my husband (Andrew), my soon-to-be 3-year-old daughter (Evelyn), and me (Abigail). Andrew and I both work full-time. Evelyn is enrolled in an Early Childhood Education program. She is learning while we are working.
What do you do? Describe your working life.
I work for a small family-owned business. My official title is Operations Strategy Lead. This role is often referred to as Organizational Development Manager in most other organizations. I’m responsible for developing and implementing job descriptions, best practices/SOPs, training, and safety. Currently, the bulk of my time is being spent creating job descriptions for the various roles within the organization.
When I’m not working on this project, I’m helping facilitate meetings between departments to come to agreements about what our established best practices should be, mentoring/developing colleagues, or assisting departments that need a little extra help.
And how many hours do you work in a week?
I spend roughly 45 hours per week in the office. I also spend about three hours per week doing research, reading books or articles, or watching videos that help me continue to develop and grow my expertise.
How soon did you return to work after having a child? And is your work life the same now (same job, or role at that job?)
I returned to work full-time eight weeks after giving birth. I also attended some meetings throughout the course of my maternity leave. I brought my daughter with me to half of those meetings.
My work life is very different than it was prior to having Evelyn. The first role that I fulfilled with my current employer was Accounting & Human Resources. Juggling both sets of these responsibilities was difficult. I spent an average of 50 hours in the office and completed about five hours of work at home each week.
I met with the owners of the organization three weeks before I was scheduled to return and asked to be relieved of my HR responsibilities. A year later I had a serious conversation with the owners about my need to feel fulfilled in my work. Within six months of starting this conversation, I was shifted out of accounting and into an organizational development role.
What do you do to treat yourself? Do you have something in your routine that you do just for you?
Until recently I indulged in sweets when I wanted to treat myself. Unfortunately, I started treating myself daily which had a negative impact on my weight loss goals. Now I’ll take a hot bubble bath or get a manicure and pedicure when I want to treat myself.
Touch on your most and least favourite things about being a working parent.
My favourite thing about being a working parent has been learning the important role boundaries play in finding balance. Prior to becoming a parent, I struggled with setting boundaries in my professional life. Work came home with me far too often. Spending eight weeks focused solely on adjusting to having a baby to care for really put what was important into perspective for me.
My least favourite thing about being a working parent is not feeling like I get enough time to connect with my family. Between work, making meals, and keeping up on all of our household responsibilities, it feels like we have very little time to just enjoy each other.
What are your goals going forward?
In general, it’s to prioritize what’s important to my family. More specifically, we’re selling our home and moving into an apartment for a few years.
We’re in a season of life where we need to minimize our some of the responsibilities that unnecessarily detract from our time together like yard work and extraneous housekeeping. This also allows us to pay off our student loans in a fraction of the time which allows us to better save for our daughter’s college education and frees us from the worry of delaying retirement to pay off this debt.
Any tips to share for balance in your life?
Don’t let fear of judgment from others influence your decisions. Just focus on what is best for your family based on what you value and prioritize.
I promise you will find the support you need to keep moving forward in your endeavors. You will also find that exhibiting this kind of courage will inspire those around you to make changes that improve the health of their families as well.
Abigail Church is the Organizational Development Manager at Trophy Awards, Mfg. Inc., a company focused on helping organizations express authentic appreciation to their employees and team members through meaningful acts of celebration (www.trophyawards.com).
She is also a writer, editor, and blogger whose material focuses on building healthy relationships. Be on the lookout for the launch of her new blog, Abinormal Adventures in Parenting, in Spring 2019! Follow her on Twitter (@abinormallife) and Instagram (abichurch83).
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