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Inside a Working Mom's Brain; Where Flexibility Meets Balance

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Megan Yoder

We are happy to share our second installment of Baby Steps, KzooConnect's ongoing series on being a working mom in Kalamazoo! We want to share the many reasons why Kalamazoo is a great place to raise children, and what working moms are finding out along the way.

We would like you to share your ideas! Let us know what helps you balance your family and career. Do you have a successful 50/50 relationship with your spouse? What makes it easier to get out the door in the morning? How are you finding time to relax? Make sure to post your comments on the blog or by sending a Facebook message or Tweet us @KzooConnect.com.

Learning as you go is something only another mom would understand and often involves baby steps. Find out why Kalamazoo has all of the pieces to help build a successful family. Stay connected at www.Kzooconnect.com.

Summer is in full swing - time for camps, bike riding, swimming, and being outside. Parents especially moms feel rushed to pack in lots of fun for the kids, and for working moms it can mean a schedule challenge for child care, and the need for flexibility.

Megan Yoder is a prime example of how a working parent can be pulled in many directions. Yoder is the Clubhouse/Marketing Manager for Klinger Lake Country Club in Sturgis, and their busiest season is summer so the pressure is on.

What does balancing home life and work look like for Yoder? It starts with a long commute and making sure she has planned childcare and fun activities scheduled for her 6-year-old daughter Addie - which can look a bit like a puzzle.

"We do a lot of balancing when I am in season," said Yoder. Her husband Eric, is a Hospitalist at Bronson Healthcare, so he has a busy and sometimes unpredictable schedule. Like many working moms home life responsibilities fall mostly on her.

Luckily, her employer provides flexibility so that she can work from home during the day, and attend events, and other activities she is responsible for at the country club at night and weekends. Yoder is also fortunate to have built a network that relies on some well-trusted high school students and family for child care.

A typical summer day finds Yoder managing work around her daughter's many activities like the Nature Center Camp and story time at the library - while carving out time to stay connected to work and running those ever important errands. All of these tasks can be identified as multi-tasking- a necessary evil especially in the summer months.

Unfortunately one of the biggest downsides to the balancing act is 'working mom guilt.'

Yoder shared some of her stress points, "For me, I struggle with missing dinners and bedtimes on average 3-5 times per week. It is also hard on me arriving home from work sometimes at midnight or later, but then I need to get up and function with Addie at 6 or 7 in the morning, while still working from home and running the household."

Striking a balance isn't always easy, but there are things that help the Yoder family. When it comes to childcare on her biggest event weekends, she and her husband try to plan ahead so he can be available and then daycare isn't an issue.

Then there is the phone- Yoder keeps her cell phone available and ready to help keep organized, it's filled with to-do lists, calendars, emails and of course it rings. "I have a hard time shutting off my phone and focusing solely on family time because I work from home. I many times have to remind myself that I am not available 24/7 just because I work from home. That is the hardest part of my job for me and for my family," said Yoder.

Support from other moms who are going through the same things always helps as well. "Every so often, we just need to pat each other on the back!" Yoder said.

When there is family time for the Yoders they love going to downtown Kalamazoo, eating pizza, and watching movies. And the plan is to work harder to have more family nights and date nights.

"I try to make a conscious effort to leave my phone on the counter, or not check it during family time or date nights…it is a work in progress!" said Yoder. "I think in the recent years we have been doing a better job of balancing our lives and have a better routine in place."

But what about summer time for mom?

"I take 'me' time when I can get it, but it is much harder in the summer. The balancing game is ever-changing and I have learned that I have to be flexible, even though it is hard for me, in order to keep balance in all aspects in my life."

What's your secret recipe to a balanced summer season between work, kids, family and me time? We'd love to hear from you on how you balance life in the summer, so connect with us on www.KzooConnect.com.

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