* Editor’s Note * We’re happy to start our post-vacation week with a husband-wife duel posting. Read Alexandra’s tale of work + family , then read her husband’s story (Kurt Zeppetello) here.
HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? I’m a native Texan, born and raised in Fort Worth. I’ve been in Monroe, CT for almost 10 years now, with stops along the way in Arizona, Boston and the UK.
@TWITTER @lxmack (don’t tweet much)
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
DAY JOB I’m an Anthropologist by training and am currently a Research Fellow in a corporate R&D.
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married* (*to this guy)
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK What book isn’t a favorite? I was, and am, a great reader, and my son is now, too—he is now devouring chapter books like Magic Tree House and A to Z Mysteries. I remembered how much I used to like Encylopedia Brown in elementary school and now have him hooked too. Fortunately, he also still likes being read to, so there is always time at bedtime for reading together!
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
I am fortunate in so many ways. Although I work in a corporate job, I have a lot of flexibility so have been able to take time for sick days, school parties, and assemblies. I can manage to be home to cook dinner most nights too, though getting on the computer again after bedtime is also common! My husband is a teacher which helps balance the time at home. He is out of the house extremely early during the school year, so I mostly manage the wake-up, get dressed, have breakfast, and get on the bus routine, and he does afterschool—pickups, piano lessons, playdates.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I think parenting has changed my focus. I admit to being fairly selfish in thinking about what I want/need or what might make me happy. I realize that now the equations are very much about what is right for my son.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
Early on in our relationship, my husband established a daily call just to say hello. While busy schedules don’t always allow for it, we do check in with each other regularly, even if we don’t have much to say. And of course, with parenting, sometimes there is a lot to say—who needs to do what, what are we concerned about, what funny thing happened today.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
I try to encourage learning, curiosity and exploration, and let my son’s interests take him where he wants to go. I also try to have clear boundaries, with consequences for actions that aren’t appropriate. I do think it is a problem when I hear parents say, “No, please don’t” but then shrug when their child misbehaves anyway. At the same time, I constantly worry whether I am finding the right disciplinary balance in terms of doing the right thing or sending the right messages.
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
My husband is far more patient than I am! I suppose that is both a strength and a weakness—he tolerates more, which means sometimes I know to walk away and leave it to him. And sometimes, I wish he would discispline a little quicker! On the whole, I suppose we balance each other with slightly different styles.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
Unfortunately, we don’t live close to any relatives, and I am always envious of families with nearby grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins! With both of us working, we do need to have additional childcare. We are fortunate to be able to afford good care, which I know is a challenge for many families. During the school year, my son goes to an afterschool day care three days a week. We also have a wonderful sitter who can come in the mornings if I am out of town or have to go to work before the school bus comes. We also make a point of going out as a couple around once a month, and have various responsible teenagers who babysit then.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
My worst moment came very early on. My son was a month old, it was the middle of the night, and I tripped down the stairs dropping him on his head. Every woman in the ER—doctors, nurses, aides–all had their own stories of their own children falling, but none of it was reassuring at the time. He was fine, by the way, and yes, babies are bouncy, but it was horrible at the time.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
I’m not sure a single event stands out. I love watching my son grow and learn and gain independence in figuring things out and doing things for himself.