Monday, August 19, 2013

Woman's Work: Jenna Guizar of A Mama Collective

Each day this week I'm profiling a different working mom.  I'm super interested to learn more about how we all, well, do it all!  Each of these mamas is inspirational, and doing an amazing job finding balance amidst the chaos.  Enjoy!

First up, Jenna! Jenna is the mama behind A Mama Collective.

1. What is your job, age, children’s ages, married/single, etc? Introduce yourself!
My name is Jenna Guizar, and I am married to an incredible man - Mike Guizar. We have two beautiful girls (3.5 and 2 years old) and are awaiting our third's arrival in August. 
I work as a Respiratory Therapist in a hospital setting - so I do therapy for any respiratory patients for the whole shift. Those duties include asthma maintenance/treatment, ventilator maintenance, etc.

2. What is your work schedule?
Since I work in a hospital, my schedule is three days a week, twelve hour shifts.

3. What works really well about your current schedule/situation? 
I like that in my current situation, I have four days at home with my family. 

4. What do you find challenging/awful/crazy about your current schedule/situation? 
The only real challenge I have with my current schedule is that I work from 7 am-7:30 pm. My girls both wake before 7 am, so I get to see them in the morning, but I don't get to see them at all in the night time, since their bedtime is 7 pm. It is hard for me to not be able to tuck them in every single night, say prayers, and give them snuggles and kisses. That tears me up often.

5. How do you handle childcare? 
The two days a week that I am at work at the same time as my husband, we have a babysitter who comes to our home to watch the girls. I've always preferred this to a daycare-like setting just so they get to be in their own environment, their own beds for naps, etc. We avoid many illnesses this way, and they are comfortable at home. The babysitter is a great extension of how we parent and is extremely communicative with us about the girls' daily activities, behaviors and adventures.
The third day of the week that I work is typically Saturday, so that is Daddy Day for the girls. He is home with them, gets a "honey-do" list, and has quality alone time with his daughters.

6. When do you get family time? 
I try to always have Sundays off so the four (soon to be five) of us can spend an entire day of the week together. We go to church, have quiet family time, or catch up with our extended families on this day.
The other three days of the week that I'm home alone with the girls are heavily utilized for cleaning, grocery shopping, and just spending quality time with them. 

7. Do you have time for yourself? If so, what is your favorite way to spend it?
As I mentioned, my girls go to bed around 7 pm. This allows for some really awesome alone time if my husband is busy with Men's groups or work obligations. I have time to work on my blog, time to veg out and watch my favorite reality-tv shows (it's an addiction!), or watch cloth diaper review videos and have an early bedtime.
On Sundays when my girls nap, my husband often sends me out to get a pedicure, run a few errands alone, go to lunch with a friend, or go to a Starbucks and work on the blog. He is and has always been an advocate for getting me out of the house to retain much of myself instead of getting lost in the home, as I find I easily do.

8. How do you and your husband share household/family responsibilities? Do you have set “chores” or do you each just do whatever needs to get done?
We were both raised in homes where the mother and children did most of the indoor cleaning, and then the pops does the "fix-me-ups" as well as the outdoor duties. Mike seems to not notice when something needs to be fixed/cleaned/trash is a couple days full - so it is helpful to him to have a list to cross off and feel accomplished through the day.
We both are getting better about communicating what we would like to be improved - he would like his work shirts laundered more often, and I would like the dishes to be done so I can have a shower and a few minutes to myself at the end of the day. We both have a give-and-take that we attempt to balance every day.

9. If you could change one thing about your current situation, what would it be? What advice would you give other working moms struggling with the balance?
I would love to work three days a week, 8-hr shifts! That would be amazing. I would get to see the girls for longer since I would see them in the morning as well as in the evening, but I would also be able to get out of the house and do something that I am passionate about doing.
I definitely think having a childcare situation that you are comfortable with is a HUGE deal. I trust our babysitter so much, and I know that my daughters are in good hands. If you are feeling anxious or uneasy about your childcare, I think it makes work so much more difficult.
It has also really helped us to have some sort of routine down with the girls - I think it helps the girls to have a comfortable and secure environment where they know where things are and should be (since they're at home), as well as knowing when things are going to happen (now it's naptime, lunchtime, etc.). It is the same with the babysitter, with Dad and with Mom. Your routine/schedule changes not one bit, no matter who is watching you. I think it gives them security, thus lessening my worry and anxiety about what they may be doing.

10. Do you have any thoughts on the editorials regarding whether or not women really can “have it all" (Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Anne-Marie Slaughter)?
I love what Sheryl Sandberg said in the regards to women learning the "balance" of life at work as well as life in the home. I do, often, compare myself to other stay-at-home-moms, thinking "I'll never measure up to what they are and provide for their families." At the same time, I compare myself to my colleagues at work who are getting farther in the field than I am, simply because I have other obligations and concerns in my life than they do. They seem more free, therefore, I compare myself to what they are able to accomplish.
I like that Sheryl says that being in a work environment where I am molding the time frame and job capacity to what works best for my family is the way to have a successful work-home balance. I agree with this wholeheartedly. 
I think we women need to stop comparing ourselves to each other, because we are so different and able to have different views and values when it comes to the workplace AND the home, but we are, each and every one, doing what we can for the betterment of ourselves and our families.

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