National Working Parents Day is a holiday set aside to celebrate all those raising a family while juggling a career. In honor of the holiday, which was Friday the 16th, we asked our team members to share their perspectives on what it’s like to be a parent while working at Millwood, both the challenges and advantages.
Unsurprisingly, several of our working parents expressed that it can be difficult to leave their children during the workday, especially when the children are young. With quality time at a premium, they make sure to focus on their children as much as possible when they’re home.
“They go from taking their first steps to writing their name for the first time, and all of those ‘first’ moments have the potential of being missed,” Jenna Byler, director of corporate communications and mother of three young girls, said.
Kara Bergener, corporate DOT controller in Dundee, OH echoed the sentiment.
“The hardest part of being a working parent is not being able to be at home and spend that quality time with your children while they are young,” she said. “As a single mom and being the only parent, it’s hard to accept that being a working parent is no longer a choice but a necessity to provide for my son.”
Some parents also find it challenging to find childcare during work hours, including Vienna, OH Plant Administrator Jeanette Taylor.
“It’s difficult finding childcare before and after school during work hours,” she said. “I wish more people realized how hard it is to do both, to try and make it to all the functions your child may be involved in and work full time. It definitely helps to have a partner who can pick up where you can’t.”
Striking a balance is critical, and every parent has their own way of managing it. Pastor Jason Allen, spiritual impact leader in Vienna, OH, keeps the two separate to make the most of family time.
“I leave work at work and home at home,” he said. “My advice is to cherish the time you do get with your kids.”
Jenna uses her drive home to reorient herself and maximize her presence of mind at home to make the most of family time.
“A mentor suggested that if I were to imagine the middle point on my drive home from work as the point in the drive where I intentionally choose to stop my work thoughts, it may help focus the latter part of my drive on the family members who are waiting on me at home – and that practice has worked,” she said.
Curtis McKellar, a team member at our Vienna, OH facility, makes the best of what time he has with his family and takes pride in providing for them.
“It’s not easy not being able to spend as much time with them as I may like. I find balance the best way that I can. If anything, there’s always the weekend,” he said.
For some parents, the weekend may be the only opportunity to spend quality time with their kids. Corporate Controller Misty Parshall’s schedule clashes with that of her pre-teen daughter, Tori, who participates in after-school activities.
“I find that I am a more forgiving parent because I work. I don't want the time we spend together to be all about discipline,” Misty said. “The time we spend together is precious. I try to make the most of it.”
Vienna, OH Plant Administrator Sheila Gay and her husband, Plant Manager Dave Gay, found another way to spend more time with family; they now share the workplace with three of their children.
“My three older children are currently working for Millwood, and the younger ones love this company and the team members as well. They are an extended family,” Sheila said.
“My older children couldn’t wait to work here,” Dave said. “My younger children seem to be following the same path.”
Despite this, they still struggle with leaving their younger children to balance work and home life.
“It’s challenging being separated from the kiddos and missing milestones,” Sheila said.
“When you choose to have a family, it needs to be the priority. I am still challenged with this at times, trying to please both sides and not letting either one down,” Dave said.
They are not the only Millwood parents who bring their children to work. Prior to the pandemic, Millwood’s corporate office hosted
annual family events like office trick-or-treating and cookie decorating with Santa. Josh Stipanovich, multimedia manager, welcomed his fourth child last month and is looking forward to bringing him to the office.
“We've brought our older two children, Joshua and Olivia, to several Millwood events at work. They have a blast every time they get a chance to come to Millwood,” Josh said.
“Gabriella, our third child, went to the last two summer picnics but she hasn't had a chance to come to Millwood yet. When we start in-office events again, she and Luca, our fourth child, will be there!”
Many children enjoy visiting their parents’ workplaces even if they are too young to understand what it is their parents do. Kara’s son loves coming to work with Mom, as it includes one of his favorite things: trucks.
“My son loves trucks and trailers,” Kara said. “When he comes to work, he always wants to stand where the truckers can see him and have them honk at him.”
Misty’s daughter also enjoys coming to Millwood’s corporate office with her mother.
"She thinks Millwood is a great place to work,” Misty said. “She loves making everyone pictures and leaving notes around the office.”
Ultimately, striking the perfect balance between work and family is a challenge for all working parents. At the same time, work brings something valuable to families - not just monetary value, but an opportunity for parents to model life skills like discipline and work ethic. Allowing children to come to work once in a while also helps them understand what work is like.
At Millwood, we are blessed with team members who are dedicated to balancing their work demands with the needs of their families. Happy National Working Parents Day to every working parent!