Raising Tomorrow’s Dads: Village Required

joules - village 4I am a full-time working mom of a 15-month-old little boy.

In addition to my normal working hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm, I work late one or two nights each week (getting home around 9:00pm). I also run Pocketful of Joules, work as a freelance consultant/graphic designer, serve on the Executive Board of a nonprofit, spend time with my husband and son, and keep up with my friends and family.

I’m not telling you this as some sort of humble-brag, because frankly listing all your tasks to sound important is pretty darn lame. The reason I’m telling you is because there is no way I could even get through one day of my life without the help of my “village”.

So how does it work?

Puzzle Piece #1: My husband
Joules - village 2My husband and I both feel that it is very important for us to share the parenting responsibility as much as possible. One of the best things about our scheduling arrangement is that Travis is able to stay home with Jack on Wednesdays.

At first, it helped me feel like things were more “fair” because my husband was able to fully understand what it was like to be the only parent in charge for a whole day. Now that Jack is a toddler, it has given them a special daddy/son bond that it just totally adorable.

Puzzle Piece #2: My family
Joules - village 1It was always in the plan to have my mother watch Jack a few days each week. I am very close to my family and love the idea of my son having a close relationship with his grandparents. It is such an incredible feeling to watch my dad run off with his first grandchild to go and explore the backyard or wrestle around on the ground in a tickle-fight.

Joules - village 3On days that my mom is unavailable, my brother steps in as pretty much the best Uncle Jason ever. When my sisters are home from college, they also love to spend time with Jack. Knowing that I can depend on my family makes it so much easier for me to go to work and get my job done.

Puzzle Piece #3: My nanny
Our original plan was for me to reduce my schedule down to a four-day workweek so that I would be home with Jack on Friday’s. Unfortunately, I lost my job while pregnant and my new job doesn’t offer that type of flexible schedule. After a couple of false starts with an in-home childcare and a professional childcare center, we ended up finding a wonderful nanny. Our nanny comes to our house one day each week and Jack loves spending time with her. I also get to sleep in a little bit because I don’t have to drop him off anywhere that morning!

Puzzle Piece #4: Me (and my understanding boss)
I’m the last piece of the puzzle, and the one that keeps everything straight. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy and I just have to remember which day it is to know where to drop Jack off. Other times it can be a bit more difficult, especially if my nanny calls out sick or my mom schedules to go out of town. Luckily I have an amazing boss who fully believes that family comes first, so I can take a sick day or move my schedule around when needed.

There is no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t be able to do this without that supportive “village” of people helping us. My son is incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many people who love him, every day of his life.

Will this plan work forever? Probably not. But much like our Winging It recipe of parenting, we’ll just go with the flow and make changes when they’re needed.

 

Julie Dellinger (aka Joules from Pocketful of Joules) has been blogging since 2011 on everything from losing a job, finding a new one, selling a house, buying a house, moving twice, getting pregnant and popping out a baby 2 months early. She’s a full time working mother, a blogger, a DIYer, a writer and a gourmet marshmallow eater.

Comments

The Beginning
About Joules (from Pocketful of Joules)

Julie Dellinger (aka Joules from Pocketful of Joules) has been blogging since 2011 on everything from losing a job, finding a new one, selling a house, buying a house, moving twice, getting pregnant and popping out a baby 2 months early. She’s a full time working mother, a blogger, a DIYer, a writer and a gourmet marshmallow eater.

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Comments

  1. I am so envious of your village. We moved away from our home province and although we have made friends here who would help us out in an emergency, our village is just us. It is so hard and although being away from family is nice because you miss the drama you also miss all the support.

  2. Brad the Dad says:

    I grew up in a “village” and totally believe in the “village” mentality. My twist on the topic – I think it’s very important for our children to learn what it’s like to manage under someone else’s care besides their parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nannies, friends, etc… As much as the village mentality helps us, I believe it helps them. We want our kids to eventually learn to spread their wings and fly on their own (with our advice in the back of their heads the whole time of course) and situations like this are a soft start to that. They need to learn what it’s like for others to change their diaper, feed them, and sometimes put them to bed.

    Great stuff, Jules. I don’t know where I would be without my inlaws, who live 5 minutes away, to help us with the day to day of raising two boys. My cousins 15 mins away (and their pool), and my family from NJ who comes up often to help out as well.

  3. Well, thankfully you are surrounded by family and love that help you be the super woman you are. And, your son will truly benefit being enveloped in all that security. Continue to kick ass, lady!

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