This week’s working mom, Paige, has a job I’ve always considered to be “way cool.” She works on a college campus serving the alumni community and also inspires individuals as a life coach and career counselor. Like many moms, she enjoys her reality TV breaks and chocolate! Learn more about her life as working mom and how she juggles career with a bubbling four-year-old.
Tell us what you do for a living.
I work in higher education. I’m the director of alumni engagement at a private, liberal arts college on Long Island. We plan events (think alumni weekend, reunions, etc.) and programs for our alumni that include networking, volunteer and mentorship opportunities and we provide lifetime career services. I’m a certified life coach and career counselor and so my passion is talking to people about what they do for work and helping others find work they will love.
How many kids do you have? Ages?
I have one daughter, Molly, who will be four in May.
Explain your average morning.
Since my husband leaves the house by 4:30 a.m. to commute into the city by train, mornings are just me and Molly. We usually get up around 7 a.m. and then snuggle in my bed until about 7:15/7:30. I like it when we can sit and eat breakfast together, but the truth is that I usually eat breakfast at my desk once I get into work. Some mornings seem to go really smooth and others include me yelling to Molly to hurry and brush her teeth so that we’re not late. Where does the time go in the morning?! Three days a week I bring her to preschool by 9:15 a.m. and then head into my office, which is conveniently located across the street.
Give us a glimpse into your daily “juggle.” Do you work in an office or at home? Do you connect with your kids throughout the day?
I work in an office off campus. Because my daughter attends preschool (three days per week) across the street from my office, I am able to see her midday when I pick her up and bring her to the babysitter’s house. On the days that I have to travel for work or have meetings, the juggling of drop-off and pick-up happens. I’m lucky to have such a great support system that includes both grandmothers and a babysitter that we adore who can help if need be. On the days that Molly goes to her babysitter’s house for a full day, we get text/photo messages and updates on her activity. Molly loves playing with other kids! If it happens to be a day when she is the only child at the house with her babysitter, drop-off can be tough and she tends to be clingy and sad, which in turn leads to working mommy guilt. Luckily she gets over it, and by the time I’m pulling out of the driveway, I get a text that she is fine. Sometimes I need that.
How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?
I usually keep track of all of the activity on a calendar that is on our fridge. Luckily we don’t have too much going on (yet), but there are some days that I work late, travel for work, or one of us has an appointment. Making sure my husband and I know what’s going on and that we’re on the same page is very important.
Describe your dream schedule?
I’d love to have a schedule that would allow me to go in later certain days, around 11 a.m. or noon. I’d love to be able to have more time in the morning without rushing to get out of the house before 9 a.m. I’m not a morning person!
How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?
Some nights I love going to bed early, so I’ll actually go to bed once or twice a week at the same time as my daughter. Other nights I enjoy sipping a glass of wine and catching up on some tv or writing. On nights when my Real Simple magazine comes in the mail, I love curling up on the couch with a blanket and my magazine and reading it cover to cover.
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
The best thing about being a working mom is knowing that the work I do is valued and respected by those I work with. I like being challenged to think creatively and strategically. I love what I do and it’s fun!
The hardest thing is those days when my schedule is strict and I am running from meeting to meeting with little to no down time. Being busy throughout the day makes the work day go quicker for sure, but I like checking in with my family and miss it when I don’t have a chance to do so. (I actually like picking up the phone and talking to my sitter, husband, mother versus texting.) When I have days like that I can be a bit of a cranky-pants, but having a family at home doesn’t afford me to be whiney and pull the covers over my head! There’s still laundry and bath and dinner, oh my!
How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?
Most Sundays my husband lets me sleep in and it is wonderful. (Thanks, babe!) He and my daughter usually go to Dunkin Donuts and then play in our yard and take care of our animals. My husband has a little farm that includes backyard chickens, a goat and a few ducks.
In addition to sleeping in, I also enjoy getting pedicures and trolling the aisles of HomeGoods by myself. I love being inspired and then rearranging my furniture, buying a new area rug or painting something a different color. (Side note: I’ve painted my kitchen four times in eight years!)
Share a treasured tip you’ve received from another mom.
Something my own mother always says that has stuck with me is, Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. It’s true! Is it really a big deal that my child wants to wear a non-matching outfit with pants that are too short and light-up princess shoes? I’ve realized that the stress is just not worth it. My child will be beautiful no matter what she wears! And, by the way, the princess light-up shoes that I stress about so much make her happy and there’s not too many things better than a happy child, am I right?
Last great book you’ve read: Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes.
My greatest guilty pleasure: Reality TV — Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Donnie Loves Jenny, True Tori, The Bachelor, The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”
Message me on Facebook or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to share your story!