Her Juggle: Jen Panaro

Fashionably Employed - SquareJen Panaro, mom of two young kids, has already figured out the “compare game” doesn’t work out when it comes to parenthood. I love her perspective on making time for herself – especially since she’s an introvert (I can relate) – and embracing the juggle of work and family. Learn more about how she divides her time between career and kids, and you can also discover some of her fabulous working mom style tips on her blog, as well as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Tell us what you do for a living.

I work for a public accounting firm. After ten years working in client service auditing commercial companies and private equity funds, I recently transitioned into our National Office. It’s essentially like working in our corporate office. I now focus on certain regulatory aspects of our business helping to ensure our Firm and our practitioners comply with specific regulatory matters.

How many kids do you have? Ages?

I have two boys, ages three and one.

Explain your average morning.

My husband and I typically wake up a half hour to an hour before our boys. On ambitious mornings, we might do a 20-30 minute circuit together in our living room. Even if the boys wake up mid-circuit, they’ll just watch us finish (and the three-year-old might even join us).

Workout or not, my husband makes our lunches while I make breakfast for our family. Breakfast is often leftovers from the last few nights’ dinners or mini-egg quiches that I make on the weekend and heat up in the microwave in the morning.

My husband and the boys head out the door, and he drops them at daycare. This gives me about 20-25 minutes to myself during which I finish getting ready, pack up my bags, and maybe fold a load of laundry or put away dishes. We live in the city and walk everywhere, so on his walk back from daycare to the office, I meet my husband and we walk to work together. Our offices are five blocks apart.

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 have a ton of flexibility to work at my office or work at home. I spend one to two days a week at my office and the rest working from home. I don’t see my kids during the day. Also, my boss lives in another city, so I travel to her location about once a month for a few days. She happens to work and live in the same area as my parents, so I often bring one or both boys with me and stay with my parents during those business trips. It’s a nice mix of family and work.

How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?

My husband and I each use our work Outlook calendars for personal calendars as well. Any activities about which we both need to know are created by one of us and sent to the other as a calendar invite. That way, we’re each managing our own schedules, but always know what relevant activities the other has going on that will impact our personal agendas.

How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?

My husband and I try to mix it up. Some nights, we eat dinner together and relax after the boys are in bed. Other nights, we do chores like folding laundry or cleaning up. Occasionally, we set aside time to watch one episode of a TV show we have on DVR. A couple of nights a week one of us will pull out our computer to do a bit of work.

A few days a week, I stay up and work on my blog for a couple of hours after my husband goes to bed. I’m much more of a night owl than he is.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

I love having time to “myself” without the kids when they are at daycare, and I love having the intellectual challenges and relationship development presented by my job. While I love spending time with my children, it’s nice to have some time that I can manage myself or that’s only spent with other adults.

On the contrary, I wish I spent more quality time with my kids. I know that sounds a little contradictory, but I guess I just wish I had more time in the day. I like the amount of working time I spend for myself but wish our evenings didn’t feel like a rush through dinner, baths and bedtime. We try to make the most of our weekends with our kids given we don’t have a ton of time during the week to play with them.

How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?

Less sleep, unfortunately. Occasionally, I plan ahead to do something for myself on a weekend. That happens once a month or so. Generally though, I really enjoy the peace and quiet at my house after everyone else is in bed. I’m an introvert and really re-energize when I spend time by myself. I think it’s one of the reasons I enjoy creating for my blog. Although I wish I got an extra hour or so of sleep most nights, I often feel like the internal energy and revitalization I generate from having time to myself at night brings me a lot of joy.

Share a treasured tip you’ve received from another mom.

Many people have probably read Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please. If not, I’d recommend listening to the audio book. She narrates it herself which I think adds to the enjoyment given how important delivery is in comedy.

In her book, she mentions a motto “Good for her, not for me.” I think it’s important to remember that just because one style or method is good for one person, it doesn’t make it right for someone else. She’s basically saying “Stop judging and worry about your own business. You don’t know what’s best for others, so don’t pretend you do.” She’s right!

Last great book you’ve read:

Not that it’s an epic book, but I just finished Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub and really enjoyed it. It’s a quick read to which I could really relate. Although we don’t have any strict rules or dietary restrictions in our family, we try to eat healthy.

Her experiences and struggles resonated with me and have helped me better define how I would like to pursue healthier eating in our home. We won’t be eliminating added sugars entirely like she did, but it’s a concept toward which we’ve been moving for the last couple of years and her perspective helped me articulate my intentions.

Your Working Mama Theme Song Would Be …

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. Not only do I think it’s good to let things go sometimes, but my boys and I usually end up dancing together every time it comes on (even though I’m a terrible dancer..)

My greatest guilty pleasure:

I’m a huge fan of chocolate, especially chocolate chip cookies and the cookie dough. I sometimes make cookies just to eat the cookie dough. I’ve passed this vice on to both of my children (and my husband) which is probably the worst part about it.

I have a weakness for all types of chocolate really and try to keep it out of the house as much as possible. When it’s here, I’m definitely eating a lot of it.

Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”

Message me on Facebook or send me an email at breadwinningmama@gmail.com.

I’d love to share your story!

 

Her Juggle: Rabia Lieber

Rabia Lieber

Rabia Lieber and I are leading parallel lives, just on opposite coasts. Our kids are all about the same ages, we wake up at an ungodly hour in the mornings and we are in the years of driving our kids all over the place for after-school activities. Yes, the “juggle” has been taken to an entirely different level from those infant years. Learn more about her balancing act below, and you can also visit her blog.

Tell us what you do for a living.

I am an administrative assistant in an office at a local university. I handle the inventory, budget, and purchasing for the department as well as student hiring and training for 10 student workers.

How many kids do you have? Ages?

I have three kiddos: Frances is 11, Henry will be 8 in June, and Benjamin just turned 5.

Explain your average morning.

Ai yi yi!! My alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. That gives me 15 minutes to get moving before the kids’ alarm at 5:45 a.m. They have a series of three musical alarms as well as a picture chart to keep them moving throughout the morning. I hop in the shower while they get dressed. My older two can get their own breakfast while I’m getting dressed. My youngest can get himself dressed, he just refuses to do so, so I help him out and then he gets his sister to help him with breakfast. I plan on tying that battle into his excitement for Kindergarten in the Fall! After everyone is dressed and ready to go, I drop my youngest at preschool and my oldest at middle school before heading in to work at 7:30 a.m. My middle stays home and catches the bus with dad.

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 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the day. My kids are all in school, so I don’t connect with them during the day, but my job is flexible enough that I can pop out for field trips, assemblies, or even lunch whenever I want.

How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?

I use the Cozi app on my phone to keep track of dates and times for things. My husband has access to it, but doesn’t check it often. Most of the stuff that pertains to him is on a regular schedule, though. This year the boys had soccer on the same night and my husband took care of that. He also took care of transportation for my daughter’s ballet lessons. I take care of most of the irregular stuff like doctor’s appointments, Kindergarten registration, etc. If we have a particularly busy week, I will print out the calendar as a better visual aid.

Describe your dream schedule?

None! As in, no schedule at all! I guess I’d probably get tired of that. Seriously, though, my husband works different shifts, so when I can schedule meetings on nights when he’s at work I feel like I’m not missing out on family time. When he’s home, I try to be home so we can make the most of our time together. Working the schedule so we can get enough time to spend together is my dream.

How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?

I sit in the kids’ bedroom until they fall asleep. It started out as a way to keep them from talking, but now I just enjoy sitting there. I can read on my Kindle app or check email. Sometimes I fall asleep too! If my husband is home, we like to watch TV together. If he’s not home, I catch up on chores or read. I go to bed around 10 p.m. most nights, so there’s not a lot of time between the kids’ bedtime and my own.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

I love my job. I feel like the work I do matters. The people I work with are great. My boss is supportive and encouraging. My kids have visited my office and they love playing with the technology here. They also get to see what I do, which I hope looks like more than “sitting at a desk typing.”

The hardest thing about being a working mom is feeling tired at the end of the day. There’s always a rush to get home, get dinner on the table, and get the kids to bed. Even when I’m really on the ball and use my crock pot, it’s still a stressful time of day.

How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?

We usually have pretty quiet weekends. Aside from soccer games, we don’t normally have things scheduled on a regular basis. The kids and I do a lot of our own things on Saturdays and Sundays. I like to read or sew or just waste time online. If I get really overwhelmed, I’ll take a day off from work and stay home to relax. There’s rarely something that requires my immediate attention at work.

Share a treasured tip you’ve received from another mom.

To let the kids be kids. They get messy at school or daycare and that means they’ve had a great time. We go splash in puddles after it rains because that’s what rain boots are for. Just this morning we ate some brownies for breakfast. Those little simple things are what they remember. Just have fun with your kids.

And, if there is anything else you’d like to share … feel free.

I hate the question “How do you do it all?” I certainly don’t do “it all” and by “it all” I mean dishes or laundry or mopping or dusting or…

Last great book you’ve read:

I just finished Jodi Picoult’s “Handle with Care” I loved most of the book, but I hated the ending. I wish I had stopped reading before the last two chapters. I find that to be a common theme with her books, though!

Your Working Mama Theme Song Would Be …

Ummm… I’m no good with song titles. I usually listen to what’s on the radio. I love upbeat, happy songs, though. So American Author’s “Best Day of my Life” and the Lego Movie’s “Everything is Awesome” come to mind!

My greatest guilty pleasure:

I have this secret cough I do when I open a bag of chips or a hidden soda in the kitchen. That way they kids don’t hear the noise and I don’t have to share. I usually make a few sounds with the dishwasher beforehand, to ensure they stay away! No one wants to get roped into doing the dishes!! LOL.

Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”

Message me on Facebook or send me an email at breadwinningmama@gmail.com.

I’d love to share your story!

Her Juggle: Nina G.

Nina G her juggle

Like many of the working moms I’ve featured, Nina starts her day early. She’s also juggling life with three boys, including toddler twins, and a career as a graphic designer. No wonder her blog is focused on sleep! Take a peek into her juggle this week and leave her some comment love.

Tell us what you do for a living.

I’m a graphic designer for a corporate company. I design marketing materials like websites, banner ads, brochures, sell sheets — everything that’s visual about the company. On the side, I write a parenting blog, sleepingshouldbeeasy.com.

How many kids do you have? Ages?

I have three boys — a five-year-old and two-year-old twins.

Explain your average morning.

My average morning is early! I’m up at 5:45 a.m. I eat breakfast, get dressed, prepare oatmeal for the kids and my husband, and head out the door.

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 Monday through Friday. I have a flexible schedule that allows me to come in early so I can leave early to pick up my eldest from school.

I leave for the day before anyone wakes up, and my husband handles the morning routine and drops our eldest off to pre-K. Our wonderful nanny comes to our home to take care of our two-year-old twins. After work, I pick up my eldest from school. The nanny leaves when we get home from work.

At that point, I settle in, make sure our eldest has a snack, and begin preparing dinner. We eat together at 5 p.m. every night, and some time between then and bath time, my husband comes home and we relax for the remainder of the evening. Bath time begins at 6:45 p.m., and all the kids are in bed by 8 p.m.

How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?

I’d be a mess without my calendars! We have a physical one hanging in the kitchen for the entire family, then I have one on my phone where I keep track of my own daily errands and to-do’s.

Describe your dream schedule?

I love that I get to pick up my eldest from school and spend the afternoons with all three kids. My dream schedule would probably be part-time so that I wouldn’t have to come in so early and actually be there for breakfast with the family.

How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?

I use the evenings to blog, watch movies and hang out with my husband. I also read before going to bed.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

Not sure if it is bad to admit, but I actually like that I get a ‘break’ from my kids when I’m at work. I’m able to focus, work at my own pace, set my agenda and am in control over most of my workday. I love doing challenging work, and I’m lucky to work in a place that isn’t too stressful and where I interact with great colleagues.

The hardest part about being a working mom is not being able to control my own schedule. There are times when I want to help out at my kid’s school but can’t. Still, this doesn’t happen to often, especially since I use my vacation time to recharge when work gets to be too much.

How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?

I talk to my husband when I’m stressed (he’s great at reassuring me out of my worries!). Blogging also serves as one of my ‘me’ time activities, as is fitting in exercise and reading in the evenings. And I love waking up early in the mornings before everyone else does.

Last great book you’ve read:

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I was wary about a book rated five stars on Amazon, but it didn’t disappoint. The historical nonfiction book is about an underdog rowing team during World War II and the Berlin Olympics.

Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”

Message me on Facebook or send me an email at breadwinningmama@gmail.com.

I’d love to share your story!

Her Juggle: Paige C.

Paige C.

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 breadwinningmama@gmail.com.

I’d love to share your story!

Her Juggle: Diana Limongi

Diana Limongi

This week’s working mom spotlight features the “juggle” of Diana Limongi, and let me tell her the girl has her priorities right. All praise for hiring a cleaning person! Learn more about her work and life below, and check out her blog, LadydeeLG. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tell us what you do for a living.

During the day I am a legal secretary at a law school. I am also a freelance writer and blogger.

How many kids do you have? Ages?

I have one son who just turned 4.

Explain your average morning.

I wake up at the last possible moment. Hitting the snooze button as many times as possible. Sometimes my son comes to wake me up. I ask him to cuddle in bed if it’s too early. When I get up, it’s rush rush rush. I give my son milk and I get ready, get him ready (or dad does) and then we walk to daycare. I usually get him breakfast on the way there (there are days when he will eat breakfast at home). I usually have coffee on my way to work and have breakfast in the office. There are days when I go straight to the office and my husband drops my son off at daycare.

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. My son goes to daycare three times a week. When he does, I usually email the teacher once a week just to see how he is doing. When he’s at home I call to chat with him or I text his dad to see how he is doing. His dad will post funny videos or pics on Instagram, or he’ll send me messages. Sometimes my son requests to call me. I try to make pick-up at least once a week so I can chat with teachers or see what’s happening (especially if I don’t drop him off).

How does your family keep track of schedules and activities?

I am usually the person that keeps track of the stuff that’s going on (birthday parties, doctor appointments). When my son was younger I was doing a lot more weekend activities (since it’s the only time I can do something with him), but during the winter I decided not to do anything; the weather was just so awful and I was too tired when the weekend came around!

Describe your dream schedule?

My dream schedule would be either 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day or three days at the office and one from home.

How do you use your time at night once the kids are asleep?

I try to get writing done, or pack lunch for the next day … however what usually ends up happening is that I lay down with my son and fall asleep with him until about midnight or 1 a.m., of course at that point I can’t do anything other than climb into my bed and go to sleep!

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

The best thing is that I get to learn a lot and be around people I love working with. The hardest thing is the schedule and trying to get things done (like doctor appointments and anything that you can only schedule during regular business hours).

How do you relieve stress or carve out “me” time?

I try to go get manicures and pedicures. I try to go to yoga. I’m lucky that I work with really great people so that helps keep me sane. Unfortunately, I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like.

Share a treasured tip you’ve received from another mom.

Remember to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.

Last great book you’ve read: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

My greatest guilty pleasure: Chocolate … and a cleaning lady…. I think I can live without the first but not the second. 😉

 

Are you a working mom who would like share your “juggle?”

Message me on Facebook or send me an email at breadwinningmama@gmail.com.

I’d love to share your story!