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How we share the load at home: Part II

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How we share the load at home: Part II

Figuring out the division of labor at home is never easy. From those very first days when we nervously bring our fresh little human home, there are seemingly infinite decisions to make about who does what, when, and how often. We partnered with our friends at Bumkins to interview three full-time working #MINDRMAMAs about how duties are shared in their household. Second to share her story is Pearl Pari, who works in the finance industry.

Talk us through your typical weekday, at home and at work.

My husband Alden and I live in Ridgewood, NJ with our three-year-old daughter, Naomi. I am an attorney working in financial crimes at a financial firm and my husband is a network architect working at a pharmaceutical company. Our weekdays can look considerably different from week to week, especially because my husband is a low-key workaholic who consults during his free time and I spend a good deal of my free time working on pro bono immigration cases. However, as far as Naomi is concerned, our mornings and evenings almost always follow a similar flow.

Like a relay race, as soon as my husband enters the kitchen, I hand over the baton and I run out the door to catch my bus to the city.

Our typical day begins in shifts. I am the first one up around 5:45 am, followed by Naomi and then Alden. Naomi and I get ready together (which is no small feat). Mornings are trying ever since Naomi developed a serious opinion on her wardrobe, which often does not take into account the weather. We have several wardrobe and hairstyle changes (A.K.A. meltdowns) before Alden even wakes up. Then we somehow make it to breakfast.

Breakfast time, when we aren’t running late, is one of my favorite times of the day. Naomi and I get a chance to chat, dance and play a little before Alden joins us. Like a relay race, as soon as my husband enters the kitchen, I hand over the baton and I run out the door to catch my bus to the city. Alden and Naomi enjoy some playtime; he packs her lunch and drops her off to daycare before heading to work himself.  

  Pearl’s husband Alden, the family’s ‘full-time chef,’ is pictured heaping deliciousness into her daughter Naomi’s Bumkins    Silicone Grip Dish    in Marble.

Pearl’s husband Alden, the family’s ‘full-time chef,’ is pictured heaping deliciousness into her daughter Naomi’s Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish in Marble.

Most of our day, Alden’s and mine, zooms by with meetings, phone calls and work. Before I know it, it’s the end of the day. I bust out of work like superman on a mission to catch the 5:30 pm bus home. My commute is a bit daunting. On a good day it’s an hour and a half door-to-door, but with traffic I get home closer to Naomi’s bedtime, which is around 7:30 pm. On evenings that I commit to my pro bono efforts, I don’t make it home until after Naomi’s bedtime and miss the fun of our evenings altogether. My husband’s commute is much shorter and he has more flexibility with work, so he drops off and picks up Naomi every single day. In writing this I have realized how much I enjoy the evenings we do get to spend together as a family, even though they seem so short.

What does the division of labor look like in your home?

The division of labor in our home goes through cycles each week depending on our respective work schedules and any attempts to exercise. We are both pretty exhausted by the end of the work day and end up playing catch up with house chores from Friday through Sunday. However, there are two chores or responsibilities that remain constant every week, Alden is our full time chef and I am forever buried under laundry.   

Did you actively decide on this balance, or did it kind of just happen that way?

As a family, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient with our time and often create to-do lists, calendars and schedules for our chores, etc. They don’t always work but we are open to giving anything a try. Our family motto could be “a constant effort to do better.”  Our housework dynamic is always in search of a better routine in an effort to have more time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. So our “balance” is always changing and is being tweaked from week to week, which is an active, intentional decision on our part.

Is there anything you think could work better about how you share the load at home, and how do you think you could go about achieving that shift?

There are several things that I can change to make our lives at home better, but committing to them is the hard part. The recurring challenge we face is cooking dinner every night and still being on track for Naomi’s bedtime. We have tried several times to meal plan and cook on the weekends and it has resulted in smoother weeknights. However, on weekends, we love hosting our friends and family when we can, and cooking for the week is often forgotten. As a family, we need to learn to say NO to Sunday plans. Wish us luck in the new year, this may be our family’s New Year’s Resolution for 2019!

What are your favorite tips and tricks for reducing the workload at home?

We are blessed to have extended family that is always around and willing to travel to help. At first, I wanted to do a lot of things on my own, especially when it came to Naomi, but now I realize I need the help and welcome it. Naomi is blessed with three loving aunts and both sets of grandparents that jump at the chance of watching her. We cannot express our gratitude enough to our village: not only do they watch our daughter but when the grandmas come over, our refrigerator and freezer are stocked with meals and all our laundry is clean and pressed.  Mom’s love really is the best! My biggest tip to any parent is to accept help in any form that it is provided. It may not be exactly what you asked for but if you are open to it, it can be a blessing in so many ways.

By discussing what we need to accomplish and our expectations for the week, we are able to roughly design a week that works for both of us.

One practice Alden and I have almost every Sunday evening is to go over our schedules together. By discussing what we need to accomplish and our expectations for the week, we are able to roughly design a week that works for both of us. During this time we also call dibs on events or things we want to do outside of work and home. We may not always do a great job carving out time to spend together, but we have somehow successfully managed to give each other time for ourselves. At least twice a month (but usually more often) we each spend time away solo, which can mean dinner with friends, or doing something we enjoy like golf for my husband and a girls night for me. It’s a nice treat that we can gift each other without keeping tabs on who gets to spend more time alone. Our Sunday evening scheduling is key to ensure that as a family we have a successful week.

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Gathering around the table with Mindr and Britax

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Gathering around the table with Mindr and Britax

We were so grateful for the recent opportunity to gather around the table with some of our corporate mamas, to share some laughs and our best ideas about amplifying our efficiency at work and at home. Our friends at Britax joined us to contribute some of their favorite tips for maximizing efficiency on your commute - like their new Nanotex fabric that wipes off clean. And every mama took home a Britax B-Ready G 3 Nanotex Stroller - making us all a little zippier on the go, and giving us each a lil’ somethin’ extra to feel thankful for this Thanksgiving season! Big thanks also to Maman for having us, and to #MINDRMAMA and photographer Rashmi Gill for capturing all the action.

We love that the beautiful Britax B-Ready is carried exclusively by Brixy, a network of independently owned and operated baby stores. There’s no better time than this Small Business Saturday to shop local, so scope out your closest store here.

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How we share the load at home: Part I

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How we share the load at home: Part I

Figuring out the division of labor at home is never easy. From those very first days when we nervously bring our fresh little human home, there are seemingly infinite decisions to make about who does what, when, and how often. We partnered with our friends at Bumkins to interview three full-time working #MINDRMAMAs about how duties are shared in their household (and got some scrumptious snaps of their families using the Bumkins gear that can help get them through the day.) First up in this three-part series is Jessica Wey, a creative director in a Manhattan advertising firm.

Talk us through your typical weekday, at home and at work.

My husband, Jon, and I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with our adorable almost 2 year-old girl, Max. I work as a creative director in a Manhattan advertising firm, and Jon is an attorney with a home office. 

  Jessica’s daughter Max is pictured with Bumkins’    Junior Bib    in Watercolor,    Silicone First Feeding Set    in Marble, and    Silicone Grip Dish    in Marble.

Jessica’s daughter Max is pictured with Bumkins’ Junior Bib in Watercolor, Silicone First Feeding Set in Marble, and Silicone Grip Dish in Marble.

Our weekday is pretty typical of most city-dwellers. We wake up, pull together a quick breakfast, and get ourselves ready for the day. (Recently, Max has finally grown enough hair to be gathered into some semblance of pigtails, which is rather exciting!) After we’re ready, we set off toward our daytime destinations. Twice a week, Max gets dropped off at her friend’s place for their nanny share, and three times a week the share is hosted at our place. 

I commute to the city for the workday, which is filled with meetings and calls, and often cross-country travel. Fortunately, I can define my hours such that if I leave early (before 6 pm) I have time to get home, eat dinner, give Max her bath, put her to bed, and then log back on afterward to wrap things up before turning in for the night. 

I wish I could better routinize exercise into my typical weekday. My husband and I have been strategizing on becoming early bedtime/early risers to potentially incorporate runs or yoga in the morning.

What does the division of labor look like in your home?

My husband and I are very conscious of sharing the burden. Since he has a more flexible work schedule, he takes care of childcare drop-off, pick-ups, and meal prep/dishes. I’m typically more involved with managing bills, household purchases, and general cleaning. I weirdly love doing laundry and find it therapeutic.

Did you actively decide on this balance, or did it just kind of happen that way?

The division of labor naturally fell into place as I returned to work. While my work has some flexibility, I have a significant commute, which is why Jon takes on the lion’s share of time-sensitive childcare responsibilities (pick-ups, drop-offs, meal prep). Since I am more available in the evening, I take care of Max’s bath time and bedtime routine.   

Is there anything you think could work better about how you share the load at home, and how do you think you could go about achieving that shift?

For the moment we are doing OK, but we are expecting another baby girl in January! Our lives will be totally upended for as we figure out how to temporarily restructure our time with less sleep. We do want to tweak our schedule so Jon can devote more continuous time to his work; my home presence during maternity leave will provide an opportunity for us to try rebalancing the load and experiment with what works.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for reducing the workload at home?

Family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, you name it. If you have the privilege to have family in proximity, that is! Parenting with just one other person on your team is tough. Whether it’s family, friends, childcare providers, etc, build up your network of support. Raising children is a collective effort and it is reassuring when you’ve got a loving team at the ready.

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