HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Manchester, England / Chicago suburbs via Amsterdam, where we lived for 8 years
ON THE WEB My Name is Jen and…
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two: an 8 year old daughter and a 2 year old son
DAY JOB Formerly an accountant, I’m currently a stay at home mom
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. – both of my kids love this book, and it was the first ‘American’ book we came across when we arrived in this country.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
Until my second child was born, we had always both worked full-time, and we split housework and childcare pretty evenly. Now I’m at home every day, and I take care of pretty much everything in the home and with the kids.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I’ve had to pretty much abandon my career, which was always a huge part of my identity.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
We’ve been parents for almost all of our 10 year marriage, so this is pretty much how it’s always been. We wish we had more time for each other, but we’ll have plenty of time for that in 16 years or so!
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
Most of the time I don’t feel like I have any strengths. I cook all their meals from scratch, and try to feed them healthily, that counts right?! My biggest weakness is my shyness around other parents, because I don’t feel like I fit in. I’m not pro-active at all in trying to help them have a social life.
WHAT ARE YOUR SPOUSE’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
My husband is really great with the kids, he can always cheer them up and he always knows what to say to their friends. He suffers from the same problem as me in terms of avoiding other parents.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
I’m friends with a neighbor who has watched my son a couple of times when I really needed to do something, but other than that we don’t leave our kids with anyone.
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
My older child has ADD and is gifted, which has required a lot of changes in our parenting decisions, on everything from food to how long she can spend on her computer. My youngest was born with a spinal condition that required surgery at 4 months and lots of follow-up. The biggest impact has been to our finances, not only from the cost of healthcare, but because I can no longer work.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
When we realized that our daughter had been suffering with UTIs for over four years without us knowing.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
When my daughter read a poem from memory at her school’s new building dedication in her first month of kindergarten. They weren’t going to have a kindergartener speak because they didn’t realize any of them could read. She was the only one of all six grade representatives that memorized her poem.