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Monday, July 02, 2012

My Balance: Jen Green from Anthropologie

Jen Green is the Brand Editor for Anthropologie, who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and their almost-two-year-old daughter Finley Elizabeth. Here's how she attempts to juggle it all (along with a great point about marriage)...

1. What does brand editor mean?
Really, it's another way of saying copy and content director. I oversee our customer communications: emails, invites, social media posts, newsletters, The Magazine, etc. It's my job to ensure what we are saying and how we are saying it is true to the essence of Anthropologie. Some may say I'm "the voice" of our brand, but writing that sounds obnoxious!

2. What's your work schedule?
I get to the office by 8:30am so I can grab a quick bite, get through my emails, and knock out a few personal errands. Then, from 9am on, I'm off to meetings. It can be a blur. I avoid meetings after 5pm at all costs—by then everyone's tired, hungry or cranky, so what's the point? I use the last hour to reply to emails and tidy my desk. I'm super obsessive about leaving the office on the right note; otherwise, I'm reeling the entire car ride home.

3. How do you handle childcare?
Finely had a babysitter at first, but then that wonderful lady became a grandma and went to raise her grandson. When I found out, I cried for days. Then we enrolled Finley in daycare. The very first day Finley had a complete meltdown, and I came into work looking ragged. From that point on, I swore off mascara until she was completely settled.

4. How do you feel about the daycare nowadays?
We love it. The other day, out of nowhere, Finley yelled "No, thank you, Miles!" and she's wagging her index finger at our dog Miles for getting too close to her snack. I'm like, "Where does she GET this stuff?" Then I realize: it's her teachers! They are why she loves to dance, and why she can count to 20, and why I get more paper-and-paste art projects than I could ever fit into a memory box. It's a good, good feeling to be able to drop off your child at school, knowing that he or she is going to be showered with love and attention.

5. When do you typically hang with your daughter?
Our morning routine involves choosing shoes (she's opinionated!), eating fruit and yogurt, and squeezing in an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. During our drive to daycare, we sing and talk about the babies she's about to see. After work, I join her and my husband outside, and we search for the elusive black cat that lives in our neighbor's backyard. Before bath time, we share an ice pop, do flash cards and jump on the bed. Afterward, we say our goodnights with a round or two of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” When I lay her down and she says “Love you, Mommy,” I literally feel my heart somersault. (It kind of feels like holding in a hiccup.)
(Jen at work, wearing Anthropologie jeans)
(Jen's work desk with Finley's artwork.)

6. How do you fit your marriage into the balance?
Embarrassingly enough, I've forgotten most of what was taught to me at pre-Cana (the course Catholic couples take before being married in a Catholic church), but I do recall the priest saying that, once children come into your life, do not let that bright and shiny new love outweigh what you have with your partner. And it's true, but wow, is it tough!

Bob and I are constantly "on" as parents. This may sound like the most unromantic thing ever, but we've vowed to make romance a priority this year. Our joint New Year's resolution was to go out on more dates this year (that and to start collecting pieces of art); so far, I think we've made it out of the house twice: once for my birthday, once for Valentine's Day. Ha. We are creature of habit, I guess–we're content grilling and drinking wine outside on our patio, in comfy clothes, with Finley's video monitor just an arm's length away. By the end of dinner, we're cracking jokes and sharing dreams, no matter how far-fetched or impractical. That to me is a great night. I'll take that routine over fancy any day. Bob and I joke that we're the happiest boringly normal people we know.

7. Do you have any time for yourself?
Not really. But I try to find joy in the little things, like reading a magazine cover-to-cover. (I wish I could strive for good, long book, but let's face it: that's not happening.) Or trying new recipes and having the whole house smell delicious and a little bit foreign. I listen to NPR during the drive into work. As I've gotten older, I've realized that I'm more pleasant—and balanced—if I break a sweat, so I try to run as much as possible.

8. Who cooks dinner?
I always cook. I don't mind—I find it relaxing. All the dicing and measuring and parcelling out ingredients in bowls big and small.

9. What about cleaning the house?
I'm lucky Bob is super, super neat. Soon after we moved in together, it became clear that I was Oscar and he was Felix. To this day, it drives him nuts when days have passed and I've yet to put away a pile of clean clothes. (Whoops!) For cleaning, we often do it in tandem. I'll dust; Bob will vacuum. Or I'll do the bathrooms while Bob mows the lawn. And he does 99.9% of our laundry, which is a godsend!

10. What would you change if you had a magic wand?
I'd nap without guilt, and without question, I'd hire a housekeeper. I'd allow myself to enjoy a pedicure or haircut without looking at the clock. I guess I don't need a magic wand for any of these things, but they seem so indulgent nowadays.

11. What advice would you give new moms?
All in all, I've resigned myself to the fact that motherhood is manic. And messy. But also really, really fun. And funny! Never in my life have I laughed so hard as I do now. So maybe that's my advice: when in doubt, choose laughter.
Thank you SO much, Jen!

P.S. Last summer's first balance series about moms who work freelance.

124 comments:

Diana Mieczan said...

What a great post and the last line - "when in doubt, choose laughter" is spot on! Also, Finley is super adorable:) What a sweet little kiddo. Wish you both a nice day! xo

ginna said...

Wow, what a great start to a great series! I am not a mom yet, but will probably be a working mom at a normal 9-5 job, so it's a comfort to know people can do it and do it well. Thanks for sharing!

HiLLjO said...

So much awesome peppered throughout! Polka dots, "Finley" (my married name), crochet, sunglasses, kid art!
I used to work for URBN and I love the company + its people.

Abbie said...

Manic and messy but so so fun. That is the most wonderful description of life I can imagine :)

Ann On and On... said...

Fantastic interview. It's always interesting to get a glimpse of someones live. She sounds like a "real" women who is making the most of each day and each moment. (With a really cool job!)

Malia said...

How perfectly imperfect! Makes it seem like I can manage a full time job and a kid, hopefully in the near future. Also, can her husband come teach my husband about doing some chores!

A FANCY DAY said...

Loved reading this! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an amazing job and life!

ElsaD said...

What a super cool woman! :) Honest, kind and pragmatic! I loved her hubby's quote: 'we're the happiest boringly normal people we know'

I believe that the last link referring to last Summer's series should be reviewed, as it takes you to the same article.

Enjoy Chicago! xoxo

Amanda said...

I'm not a mom (or even a wife!) but I love these series, Joanna!

Kassie said...

Great interview! I'm looking forward to more!!

oilandgarlic said...

Love the advice about marriage, something I have trouble with as well! I thought all the women you profile would be able to afford cleaning help but I guess I was wrong!

Danie at Pasadya said...

I love when she said that she and her husband are the "happiest boringly normal people" they know. I feel the same way with my husband. Loved the interview!

lauravaughn said...

I love her honest responses, and the fact that she's able to find the magic in the little moments. I hope to be that level headed and happy when I'm a mom :) Very inspirational!

Liz said...

This is great!

Anonymous said...

Love the honesty about motherhood and balancing; thanks Jen for sharing!

I read somewhere that Meg Whitman CEO of ebay once said, some days you are a good mother and sometimes you are good at your job-which is to say there are days when there just isn't a perfect balance. You just do your best and move onward.

Looking forward to the rest of the Motherhood Mondays.

~ Dellah ~ said...

Great interview! As a mom of 2 boys and former preschool teacher I totally tell my boys to say "no thank you" to our dog all the time. I love that I'm not alone in feeling like reading an entire magazine is a special treat. Now that the baby is almost 2 years old I've started reading actual books again, lol
Looking forward to reading about other fabulous ladies!

Ashlee Dearie said...

Really amazing start! Her job sounds so wonderfully ideal and it's so insightful to see how she manages also being a wife and mother! There are some really amazing quotes in this!

Kate said...

What great insight! My favorite part was when she talked about she and her husband being the most boring, normal people. The kind of night she described with her husband sounds amazing to me!

Love this post! Thanks for sharing it!!

Simone said...

She sounds totally cool, fun & very honest, I couldn't agree with more about what she says about motherhood.

If in doubt, choose laughter....love it!!!

Allie said...

This post made my day! I am not pregnant yet but would like to be soon and am getting so anxious about what work and life will be like with little ones. Reading this made me breathe a little easier! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! As someone who intends to keep working after the babies come along, I'm going to be taking copious notes :)

I'd be interested in hearing the following from all the ladies who are interviewed: how do they handle family emergencies, doctors' visits, after school activities, etc? What are some things they can do before/while handling these commitments so that their coworkers and bosses aren't grumbling in the office?

-Mel

Jody said...

Great interview! I so appreciate a space for women to share what works for them. We are certainly in this together.

Shannon said...

Love this! I don't have children yet, but I definitely passed this along to my working mom (and mom-to-be) friends. Such a refreshingly honest take on the experience, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This was so refreshing to read! I am not a mother yet, but am surrounded by women who are pregnant or just had babies and all are so overwhelmed with making sure everything is done accordingly. I hope to be able to approach parenthood (and life for that matter) with this attitude. Parenthood does seem manic, I think if more parents accept this it makes it easier to laugh your way along :)

Michaela for Havedeals said...

You asked the greatest questions!

Clara said...

Ooooh I so loved reading this post! Jen, I so appreciate your honesty about having to work towards romance. I think a lot of people need to do this, but few actually say it out loud! It's nice to know we're not alone- your answers really made me feel like we ARE in this together. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is great! Very interesting insight into the work life balance issue so many parents (especially moms) face. However I would be MORE interested in reading about moms who do not necessarily have these high paying jobs. It would be more interesting to see what moms who make minimum wage do for work life balance.It would be much more eye opening for sure. Not every is an editor at a magazine or a professional. It would be soo interesting to read about that.

RB said...

I had just found out I was pregnant with my first baby when you featured your first work/life balance series. I loved the posts, but also so wished you had featured mothers in office jobs, because that is what I have!
This is a wonderful continuation of your series, and Jen seems like the perfect way to start it off.
Thanks for this, Joanna, and looking forward to the rest of the week!

Anonymous said...

It is so interesting to see how she structures her day and totally encouraging that her little girl can have fun at daycare and still do all those lovely nightly rituals like having an ice pop and jumping on the bed. It sounds like this mother has a good handle on the balance. What a nice little family! i can't wait for the rest of this series!

Roxy said...

Loved reading this. Thanks for sharing!!

www.ontheroxyoga.com

Jessica Sliman said...

I really loved reading this post. The balance between work/kids/family/romance is so tough - I imagine we all strive to do better so it's compelling to hear the stories of others - and what works for them.

Alicia Marie said...

She just may have the greatest job ever :) I love that she and her husband are awesomely boring and enjoying staying home. Sometimes, it is just better than getting out.

Antoinettes Adventures said...

This interview was so enjoyable to read. Please do more! :D

Allison said...

I love reading these posts! As a 24 year old engaged lady, it is great to hear these women talk about finding that balance. Hearing how other women handle work, marriage and a family, makes me realize that I'll be able to do it too when the time comes!

Laura said...

Wow you are so charming and sweet! Thanks for sharing!!

Brittany said...

I think it's sad that she's not sad she's missing out on her daughters day to day life. So many people are having kids but not wanting to do the work of raising them. I'm surprised at all the comments so far...

I did like the article you linked in your intro to this series post. Women can't have it all. You choose a career or raising your kids. You can't actively do both at the same time.

Maybe next summer you could do a series on moms who stay at home with their children. Sometimes I think a lot of people don't know what they do all day.

warmhotchocolate.com said...

What a great idea for a series - I look forward to hearing from more moms. As a working mom myself, I appreciate knowing that others share the same struggles. But I also wonder why ... why we don't have more options for flexible work situations. I'd love to hear from moms who have created more flexibility in their work life.
Thanks again for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I understand that the debate about daycare is tricky and complicated, but after working in one myself (and a 5 star, expensive, teach 2 year olds art history and French kind of place) I saw things happen that I would never ever want my child to experience. There are some incredible daycare teachers out there, but you never know what could be going on, despite how great everything looks. Its complicated I know, but why even take the risk unless you absolutely have to? I hope I'm not coming off as judgmental, I just think some couples are sacrificing more than they know in order to keep their careers and it breaks my heart.

Aya said...

I loved this--the mascara and messiness and the effort to keep romance in the relationship. I also related to "we're the happiest boringly normal people we know." Sometimes when I wriggle into bed, giggling to be sitting and reading next to my honey I think, "seriously!? When did I get this boring?" but it's so good! Also, her description of holding in a hiccup.
I LOVE Anthro and hearing the "voice of the brand" I can understand why.

Sarah said...

I want to second the idea that, while this was wonderful, it would be refreshing to read this interview with a parent who works a "normal" 9-5 job, making minimum wage, or close to it. When she referred to herself as normal, it made me laugh....Two parents who work full time, one as an exec of a famous clothing store, who can afford full-time daycare, have a nice, decorated home and a deck? That sounds like a pretty dreamy normal to me....

Stefania said...

I love that as far away as I now am from an office life like this, I can still relate. I once had an office job, juggled the daycare/marriage/home/etc and I gave up a really great job and great pay to be at home with my kids. I am not saying it is for everyone, but it was best for us. But I still know what it is like to put myself absolutely last, not even having a chance to do something small like my toes so I don't look like I have hobbit feet.


Check out my blog for a chance to win a great ebook this week! http://revitalizewithstefania.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-raw-food-diet-ebook-giveaway.html

DENISE. said...

LOVE this! And excited for this series this week. Wow, she never gets a break, does she! But she's really so present for all of it. Very admirable.

Sneaky Magpie said...

Very inspiring, thank you for this. I am pondering about going back to work but I am bit worried about daycare and juggling. Busy women can do it well too!

Alexandra said...

Very interesting series, thanks, Joanna!

Not reading a book, not squeezing a single concert or dinner in your schedule, not having time for yourself, seeing in your partner a "co-parent" - the drawbacks are huge... Basically, the work/baby balance works out because social life and romance seem to be almost ruled out.

I saw people asking for a series on stay at home moms. Could you also do one on moms who have a more demanding job than the one where you get to leave at 6PM? Say, lawyers, entrepreneurs, directors, etc.?

And also: it would be great to have a series of interviews of people raised by working/stay ot home/freelance mothers. How does it actually affect children? I somehow think that we drive ourselves crazy to give the biggest space possible to kids, but I am not even sure we have a clue.

Also, what about other countries? Europe, but also developing countries? Something to learn from them?

Madre Primeriza said...

Great advice!
And Joanna, I love this series!!!

Stacy said...

Thank you for profiling the working (out of the home) mothers, Joanna. It sounds like she has such an interesting job, and we are in the same romantic rut as her. We would rather sit on the deck and drink wine than to pay a babysitter a fortune to watch our kids sleep.

We had our kids in daycare, too, and it was a great experience for them. They learned things earlier and honestly have hardly missed any school. They got their germ antibodies before they got into regular school! I even got to spend some quality time with the infant teachers as my daughter would not take a bottle for the first 4.5 weeks. She had plenty of mommy milk in bottles, but she is a stubborn one. I would go at noon and nurse her and they would try to give her bottles the rest of the day. It sucked but we got past it. I am lucky I was able to pump enough milk that whole time.

As for the comment on us working mothers not being sad for what we missed...yes we are. We try to make the time we are together quality time, though. I know that I do not have the temperament to stay home with my kids, nor did I want to give up a very good job. I would have gone back to work once they started school, and knew I would have a hard time getting a job with my benefits and pay. Plus, we had a mortgage and car payments that would not have been paid if I quit. We do still love our kids, even though we work. We realize what we give up, but I was also raised by a working mom and am no worse for the wear. It may be a choice for me, but it wasn't for her.

Alexandra said...

This was a really fun read, I hope you end up doing more!

Souda said...

I loved this interview it was very inspiring. It just goes to show you that its all about the simple pleasures in life. I love how she says they are the "happiest boringly normal people". hehe sounds like my husband and I. Finley is adorable as well.

soudavones.blogspot.com

Odette said...

I love the "sharing dreams" on the back patio-part. It seems very romantic.
-Odette
http://ungratefulbliss.com/

Martie* said...

I loved that series last summer and it´s great you brought it back! I am no momma yet, but those tips are downright amazing!!

viola | chewing the cud said...

When in doubt, choose laughter.... love it! Thanks for sharing these motherhood posts:)

Elisa said...

This was great! I loved reading this and it makes me feel like all us moms really do go through the same struggles. Also, thanks for featuring a mom outside of NYC. It ws good to head from someone living in a more typical city.

I would LOVE if you featured some moms with more humble jobs. Like an office manager, nurse, etc. It would be great to hear from someone dealing with working outside the home, who doesn't make tons of $$$ and doesn't particularly have a glamorous job.

Ann Cundy said...

Wow, this feels so familiar to me. What a lovely post. Thank you!

tara polly said...

oh, that heart somersault feeling is the best in the world! love this post. xo! blog.tarapolly.com

Kiana said...

I found the interview really interesting but I feel like there are many questions that weren´t asked. First of all, it would be helpful to know how much money these women earn that enables them to afford daycare or a nanny. It is VERY difficult for working women to find affordable and decent dayacare solutions. Secondly, it doesn´t sound like this woman has made any sacrifices at all. Is she planning on having more kids? Is she concerned that she´ll get promoted and become busier? Does she have to be away from her family for work related travel? Does she sometimes have to work weekends or stay late nights? Are her bosses comfortable with her leaving the office at five or six? Is it a mostly women with children office who are more sympathetic? In short, nothing in her interview sounds life there´s much of a juggling act going on which is exactly what Slaughter´s article in the Atlantic described and is the reality of what so many women face. It would be interesting to read an interview with more honest questions and answers.

karen said...

I really enjoyed this. Partly because I love the Philly representation and partly becuase it is an inspiring story. There were some comments about not asking hard enough questions, but I think they were answered in-between the lines. Of course there are sacrifices that are made, and goals that are set. They just aren't all spelled out in that language here. But they're there. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait for more.

Anonymous said...

What a great subject! Jen had such a eloquence and it seems like she and her husband are truly balancing work and baby. I'm sure once Finley is older they will be able to have more alone time.

I only noticed a few negative comments on here, which is refreshing. But to those people who don't understand how these people do it, must be living in Lalaland. First of all, not everyone can afford to have the mother (or the father) stay at home and raise the family. And second of all, what about the mother's own life and fulfillment? What if a tragedy occurs or they divorce, and then the mother who left her career now has no prospects. It is somewhat foolish of women who stay at home to not at least try to have a part-time job of some sort that could lead into something full-time once the child is old enough.

My mother was a hairdresser and my father a chef. She was able to stay at home with us until we were old enough for preschool and then she went back to work for a few days a week. Once we were older she went back full time but could make her own hours. When they separated this ended up being a Godsend because my father didn't end up being that much help in the financial support department.

So you see, us women need to stand up for each other, and make the best of the situation presented to us. I'm sure it's hard for a lot of women who are doctors or attorneys, because they can't be part time or have flexible hours, but hopefully they have a very supportive husband and family to help. It can take a village to raise a baby!

Kelli said...

I usually love this blog but this post made having a young child sound stifling. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I mean, they left the house TWICE this year together? I consider it terrible when we don't get out once a week. I love my baby but I need time with my husband too. The baby goes to sleep at 7. I have time to get dressed up, go out to a long dinner and be back around 11:30 without it interfering with my relationship with my child. Why wouldn't I do it once a week?

Christy said...

What a surprise to see my new friend profiled here on one of my favorite blogs! I love her even more now after reading her fabulous, honest, funny answers!

And I have this to say to those of you who had negative comments: She is a real person with real feelings. Why oh why would you feel comfortable leaving a disparaging comment to her? Even though the vast majority of comments here are positive, you can bet the ones she's going to think about tonight are the negative ones. Put yourself in her shoes - imagine that you had just posted a guest post on a super popular blog and some haters left you nasty comments. Ouch. They sting. If you wouldn't say it to a strangers face don't type it (anonymously in at least one case! such cowardice!) on a blog. Seriously - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Anyway, lovely interview. Great questions and answers and super cute photos. See you at the pool!

ajuarez33 said...

While this was nice to read, it isn't really a fair representation of the majority of us working momma's.
Most of us don't have fancy pants jobs or can afford daycare. How about a new mom who works for a non-profit, whose husband works full time as well, who can't afford daycare, who rents, who lives pretty much paycheck to paycheck? THAT would be a woman I could relate to :)

Christy said...

Kelli, maybe you didn't read the entire interview. They are HAPPY staying home. Not everyone needs to get dressed up and go out to dinner to feel fulfilled. I have three children, ages three and under, and I also LOVE having dinner and wine on my back porch while my children sleep. I also simply can't afford restaurant meals and babysitters once a week - you should feel fortunate that you can, and not judge other's choices. Seriously, think before you type people.

It's always better to be KIND than right.

dani press said...

what beautiful, wonderful advice. i'm not a mother yet, but i'm collecting all the bits and wisdom i can now. thanks for sharing, jen! xo.

Anonymous said...

interesting article for sure, as a mother of a 2 1/2 year old daughter, i can't imagine having her learn her manners and social behaviour from anyone but myself. For sure its a tough tough balance of working full time and missing these little things, or cutting back on work and investing the time in your child. Like someone already said id be more interested in a lower income mother and how she manages work/daycare/marriage/single parenthood. This was all glossy and shiny.
Keep up the good work!

Emily said...

I want to be her friend!
Thanks for the great interview, I look forward to the upcoming weeks.

Abby Rose said...

I love the idea of the interviews, and getting a inside peak of working mothers. However, I also agree with many of the comments that it would be far more interesting to learn from mothers making minim wage. Or also hearing from single working mothers?

As a side note, I too worked in a prestigious daycare teaching cooking lessons, art classes, french, etc. I loved my job. However, I did not love the children I worked with. Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed them, loved teaching them, and loved learning from them. But at the end of the day, they are not my children. I'm curious about a mother's honest true feelings about having somebody else spend 8+ hours a day with their babies. Can a daycare teacher replace a mother? These are the things I'm curious to learn more about, and hear how "normal" day to day women deal.

Thank you for putting this out there Joanna! It really is interesting, and gets reader's thinking.

Melissa Blake said...

So glad you're bringing this series back this year!! How about a series that focuses on fathers too?

hello, Friday said...

Love this post. Inspiring. xoxo
http://www.hellohellofriday.com/

aleksandra said...

i think that in the past, families lived in generational homes, and the grandmas would function as the daycare. now mothers must demend on day care to watch the kids, and that is completely ok.

not even in the imaginary old days when mothers stayed home did they actually spend every second with the kid. woman would gather at the creek to wash clothes and gossip with other women in the village while kids ran and played. it's the opposite of healthy to sit locked up 24/7 with y our kid all day at home.

woman have mulitple callings in life, aside from motherhood...and that is wonderful.

your universe should not center on a kid...because kids grow up and go to school for 8 hours a day once they turn 5 or 6. so it's wise to focus on a life outside of parenting. stay at home moms can sometimes be short-sighted on the future.s

Michelle S said...

it really is interesting to get a window into how people make things happen. what a lucky woman to be doing so well in her career and have a family!
www.prettydinos.com

Emily said...

Thanks for sharing this insightful interview! I love the advice about keeping your marriage alive after you introduce kids into the mix.... I also want to make date nights more of a priority!

Anonymous said...

What a great beginning to this series! As a working mom myself I always find it fascinating what other working mothers do, how they spend their time, how they balance it all.....it's so interesting to me!

TMD said...

As a new mom (my daughter turns 1 month today!) this came at a great time as I get ready to head back to work next month. Thank you!

And to those with the rude comments, why the antiquated notion that women can't have a career while having children? It's tough out there, and even those that have financial security, you never know what the future holds. I don't believe that you can have everything without sacrifices, but such judgmental comments are unnecessary. My mom had a demanding job and there were some things she missed, but she did what she could and attended the important things. And I have so much respect for her being such a strong role model - as a working woman and as a mother.

E. and Baby P. said...

thank you for sharing your story! can't wait to hear the next one.

Jenny P said...

I loved reading this. I always enjoy hearing about other people's daily routines and how they feel about parenting.

I was really struck by the line, "I'd allow myself to enjoy a pedicure or haircut without looking at the clock." Why do we do that??? My husband NEVER makes me feel rushed or guilty for going out and doing something for myself, yet I always hurry hurry hurry through everything to get home. Note to self: Must stop doing that.

Maureen said...

Thank you so much for this post and I'm so looking forward to the rest of this series! I'm expecting my first baby in a few months and plan to go back to work. It's such a difficult decision for all women who have children. I love the way she writes about her time with her daughter and I appreciate that she doesn't feel the need to justify her decision or feel overly regretful about it. It seems like there's some code where women have to defend their choice and that seems silly to me. There's not one right answer for everyone! I appreciate this as I deal with unsolicited advice from friends, family and strangers. The stories about her daughter's daycare really put me at ease. Thank you again for this series, I can't wait for the rest!

Kelli said...

Christy, I would definitely say that to a stranger's face. I really do not think what I said was mean. I just have a hard time imagining that I would have much of a relationship with my husband if I didn't get out of the apartment without the baby on a regular basis. Yes, babysitters can get expensive but so does therapy. I feel a million times more relaxed after a night out so we ask the nanny to stay late on Wednesdays or Thursdays. We also share our nanny with friends who have a child the same age as ours so it is much less expensive than it might otherwise be. I'm sure Jen is lovely but hanging out on the back porch every night is a routine that could get stale pretty quickly. It isn't what I or many people I know think of as romantic. If I can do it in flannel PJs it isn't a date.

Beck said...

I'm not a mother and not even married (yet!) but I truly loved reading this and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. As a woman, it is great to hear about and have some insight into the lives of other women. It gives me, and hopefully others, a whole new appreciation of the different ways that other women carry out their lives. I think the best thing that mothers can do is support each other, whether they choose to stay at home or go to work. Everyone has the right to be respected and supported in what they are doing.
Thanks again Joanne!

JR :: Sarah said...

This is a beautiful, beautiful series, Jo. Thank you so much for adding honest, heartfelt stories to what is so often portrayed in contentious and judgmental terms. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I just went back to work a few weeks ago after having my second baby in 2 years (I have a 4-month-old and a 16-month-old... needless to say, the second one was a surprise!). It has been a tough transition and I am constantly feeling like I can't give 100 percent to everything -- I'm falling short at my job, falling short as a mother. And that I'm always rushing, rushing, rushing to get home or get to work and I have absolutely no time for myself. I have shed my fair share of tears. It would be great to hear about someone's experience in a less sugar-coated way -- the great stuff, for sure, but also the stuff that sometimes sucks. I would personally be inspired to hear about other women who are just going out there and making it work too.

Becky said...

As a working woman in my early 30s, I am starting to think about if I want children, and what I'd do with my career at that point. My own feelings are as conflicting as the opinions in the readers' comments!
I was raised by an extremely career minded full time working mother of 4. There were times I really resented the fact that she put her career ahead of her children. And I absolutely HATED daycare.
But for those times, there were (and still are) millions of times she found a way to meet and often surpass my needs. My mom is about to retire, and looking at the big picture, she kinda did have it all! Her children are happy & healthy and throughout her career she has helped thousands of people as the director of a free health clinic. I know it wasn't always easy -but no one is saying it should be.
I don't have to make the same choices as my mother, but because of her example, I know that successfully raising children & having a successful career can be done.
I am reminded of a quote by Oprah (I watched her a lot when I was baby sitting myself growing up) "You can have it all -just not at the same time"

Marie said...

I love this series and was especially interested when I saw that your interviewee works at Anthro. I worked for Anthro for three years, albeit at the retail level as an apparel manager. And it was the worst for work/life balance! Luckily I didn't have a child then, but I was in grad school and working 50+ hour weeks. We were constantly getting the message from corporate and our district managers that we were expected to stay late and cover for the hourly employees we sent home to save on payroll. It's great to hear that at the corporate level Jen is able to have some kind of regular schedule that allows her to be with her daughter in the morning and put her to bed at night although she didn't say what time she's able to leave work in the evenings. I can't imagine working at the retail level and trying to balance a family life with a young child. Those are the kind of jobs where you constantly get the message that you are replaceable if you don't make yourself available to work all hours. I'm fortunate enough to work in academia now with regular hours that allow me to spend time with son every morning, evening, and weekend. I'm also surrounded by lots of supportive women and men who are also working parents and understand when you get the call from the daycare that your baby's running a fever and you need to pick him up now. Anyways, it's hard out there for mom! I love hearing about how other women's days.

Aja Lake [the gold hat.] said...

balance series 2, day 1: score!
thanks, joanna + jen:)

xx,
Aja Lake
the gold hat.

Alisha E. said...

Jen, thanks so much for sharing your insightful and fun comments about motherhood. I have a six month old and it's inspiring and refreshing to hear from someone who is figuring it out.

I'm feeling a little pissed about the rude comments: I think the haters have missed the point of the series.

P.S. I'm a nurse and I have a cleaning lady.

Whitney Spicer said...

I'm not married, nor do I have kids but I love this series. I'm glad you're allowing comments too. Reading other people's opinions and thoughts on the subject might be my favorite part!

CMA said...

wonderful, love anthropologie!

Anonymous said...

perhaps the most interesting aspect of this interview
is her job - otherwise, her situation seems fairly basic. I wonder how things will shape up for her ten or fifteen years down the road - after all, you can't put a teenager in daycare all day long. I found the real juggle began when my kids were older, and needed me in different ways.
my sincerest best wishes!

erica said...

Slaughter's essay resonated with me in part because I'm one of those young academics who are struggling to balance career and babies on a relentless schedule with low pay and little job security. In some respects I'm a freelancer, but with the full time tenured job as the ultimate career goal, and the daycare issue is really really tough. I took care of my first son full time while trying to work at night for 18 months before taking out loans to pay for a nanny. My son still doesn't sleep through the night at 3.5 years. Now I have maternity leave for 10 months, during which I need to finish a book manuscript, apply for jobs, and prepare a lecture course for the spring. I'm grateful for the time off so I can work around the schedule of my 3 month old (a better sleeper and overall more easy going kid). But yeah, I spend a lot of time worrying. The worst is when your child is sick and you need to stay home. I could never leave an ill child wih someone else, but it's also incredibly difficult to take time off work. No matter what, you make sacrifices. And you definitely learn to laugh a lot (better than its alternative)!

Desiree said...

What a fantastic interview. Thanks Joanna!

Amanda said...

Loved this interview!

On a sidenote, I wish we as women could support each other instead of hating on how other people choose to live there lifes. A mother who choose to stay at home with her children is, at least in my book, not better (or worse for that matter) than a mother that chooses to go to work everyday. We all make different choices regarding so many things in life- and we should! I'm always surprised by how people freely express their negative opinions towards other people's choices about their children.
What you and your family have decided to do might not be best for every family, you know.

emma said...

very interesting! out of curiosity (i don't live in the USA): what is the cost of daycare? from the comments it comes out as some kind of luxury. where i live (belgium), it's priced based on the parents' income and capped at around 30 USD/day, partially tax deductible...

Anonymous said...

Of course women (or ANYONE) can have it all! You just need to redefine what 'all' is!

:)

Amanda said...

Considering daycare costs- in Sweden we're really lucky- we pay maximum about 200 USD/month for full-time.

Manja said...

I love what she said in the end about laughing hardest in her life. I can totally agree about that!

Anonymous said...

15 and a half year ago i became a mom, I am a logistics engineer and worked full-time in an office job. i found another co-worker in the same situation and we asked our boss if we could work together in one job... each of us 3 days.... best thing we ever did! 3 more kids followed between the two of us and
we are still working a duo-job. As we are both in the same situation we are very keen on supporting each other and getting the job (more than) done! our kids are now teenagers, and like the article ("woman still can not have it all") says, they need us even more... so we continue to be very happy balancing work and family.
annemarie

door stop said...

Wow. You a are a super mom. I can't imagine how you juggle your career, being a wife and a mom. By the way your daughter is so adorable.

Emily said...

I enjoyed this too, and it sounds like Jen has struck a good balance, which she should be proud of. However I would chime in with others interested in hearing about other moms with more 'ordinary' jobs, and how they manage... I've read this blog for years, but sometimes it feels like its tone and content are moving more towards an online equivalent of a glossy, aspirational lifestyle magazine... just an observation!

Also just because someone posts a dissenting opinion, or disagrees with an aspect of a post, doesn't make them a 'hater' or 'rude' -- it's called a 'comments' section, not an 'affirmation' section. As long as opinions are expressed respectfully, it's much more interesting to have a range of responses and honest feedback!

Christy said...

Anonymous Kelli, to each their own. I, and many of my friends, do consider dining on our decks quite romantic. And I'm not in my flannel pjs.

Val said...

I love this series and the honesty and candor that all the contributors have used in describing their situations. And I love Jen calling herself a happy boringly normal person.

My mom worked full-time when I was growing up and I actually liked daycare, for the most part. It's where I got to make a lot of friends and play with a big selection of toys. I never felt like my mom was neglecting me. I just knew she had to go to work like I had to go to school and daycare.

It really rubs me the wrong way when people judge working moms and say they aren't raising their kids. Even though my parents worked, I got to spend plenty of time with them and all my values and manners come from my parents.

Not everyone has the financial situation to be able to stay at home with their kids. If you're a stay-at-home parent, just appreciate your situation without lording it over working parents (who probably already feel guilty enough even though they shouldn't.)

SmartBear said...

I love hearing how working moms make it work! I remember the first day taking my son to daycare. Even though he was almost six months old and I was SO lucky to have that long of a leave, I thought I would have a breakdown that first few months.
What a down-to-earth and hardworking momma! (My husband and I have our date nights out. It's a MUST).
Best,
Tina

Jenny said...

I love this series and the supportive comments here! But I am disappointed by the played-out, judgy SAHM party line of "I wouldn't let someone else raise my kids." I agree not everyone has the financial situation to stay at home, but that's not even the point in my mind. Women, yes mothers, have dreams and ambitions too, many of which involve something other than child-rearing. Why are women strung up for public analysis and criticism for wanting to continue some kind of a public life, making use of their skills, knowledge, and talents, but men are so often given a free pass?

There is no question that our American culture lacks work-life balance, but changing that would/will take massive societal involvement, a commitment from men and women alike, as well as the government. Just looking at the costs of childcare in the US compared to other wealthy countries is breathtaking. $200/month max in Sweden for full-time care? We pay $3000/month in NYC for 2 children, one in preschool and one in a nanny-share scenario. It's insanity.

Lindsay said...

Ooh and she went to Bucknell! I emailed her about her job at Anthro a while back, and Jen was super nice and helpful. Very happy to see this connection here!

Alisha E. said...

I agree that dissenting opinions make for a much better discussion. I was referring to the comments that felt like a personal attack on Jen for being happy.

Becca said...

She went to Bucknell? Me too! Awesome. I think people need to realize that it's not a choice for most Moms to work - what's better, a Mom at home or a financially stable family?

Mieke Zamora-Mackay/@MZMackay said...

Lovely post. It really can be as simple as that. As a not so young mom, we do what we can with a smile and some grace. It never has to be so difficult or a struggle. Way to go, Jen Green. Great outlook.

Diana said...

My mother worked full-time 9-5. She commuted to work for an hour and half everyday yet I don't remember her not being there for me ever. We'd have dinner all together (mom,dad and sister) every night. Every Friday evening we would have a family night and now that I read this series I can only imagine how exhausted she must have been. I'm grateful that she hugged me and kissed me everyday and that we took family vacations every year (it took some saving for them, I know...it wasn't Europe or anything like that, there were four of us). I truly hope my mom DID NOT feel guilty everyday leaving me because she did what she needed to do to make ends meet. If I were to have children I would expect to work as well. One to make ends meet and two for my sanity and independent stimulation :) There's nothing wrong with that. My mother taught me that having my independence and a career was very important and I am grateful for this. My mother is so unique and lovely.

Janan said...

I am a deliberate mother. I am a professional mother, I MAKE mothering my business. I wanted to have 4 kids so I am going to raise them. My husband and I CHOOSE to live within our means (forgo the best zip code, newest car, designer clothes...) so that I can do that. We are not, as Haters-of-SAHMs imply, financially unstable, stuck in our home, or unbalanced. A lot of Moms don't have a choice, but a lot do. There is often more choice than people like to admit. If staying at home means I live in affordable cookie-cutter housing, or drive -oh horror- an old minivan, or buy clothing from -gasp- old navy and target, I am okay with that:)

Janan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chopsuey said...

I'm a new mom to a 3-month baby girl and just went back to work last week. Whew! We decided on daycare near my office - that means the babe and I get extra time together on the bus each morning and evening. Thanks for this!

Melissa said...

I just love this interview! Jen seems so dang down to earth and her relationship with her husband sounds incredibly real....best friends. Bravo, Joanna--thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Like the piece and the series, but it does feel a bit sugar-coated. Also the schedule doesn't add up. How does she get to the office by 8:30 when she does drop offs (maybe its very close to work?), and then leave the office at 6, commute, but still have time to cook dinner for her family before her 2 yr old's bedtime, which would be like 7pm if she is getting up early enough to get to daycare by 8? The hardest thing for me as a working mom is fitting it all in a day. I am always wishing for an extra hour or two.

Anonymous said...

@Diana - I pray that my daughter will grow up and feel and say the wonderful things you say about your working mother. I try really hard to remember that I am also setting an example for my daughter, who I hope will have a beautiful and fulfilling career as well as a love and family some day.

Anonymous said...

This interview (and the others) gave me inspiration and comfort. I'm juggling two littles under 5 while running my business from home. At times it is total chaos!

xo Clarity
www.friendsofsocktopus.com

Nerissa said...

To the Anonymous who wrote:", as a mother of a 2 1/2 year old daughter, i can't imagine having her learn her manners and social behaviour from anyone but myself."

Oh really? You don't have parents, in laws, aunts, uncles, teachers, neighbors religious leaders in your life who want to help shape your daughter's character?

Hmph. Ever heard the phrase: "It takes a village?"

If you are going to make a snide, judgmental, narrow-minded view, please have the courage to at least leave a name.

amanda said...

Thank you so much for this series. They always make me feel as if I am in a room with dear friends who understand my darkest secrets. Her answer to number 10 made my eyes sting with tears.

Beautiful, as ever.

The Fam! said...

I had very mixed feelings when reading this post. On one hand, I think this mom is rad -- finding lots of quality (bed jumping) fun to share with her sweet girl, on the other hand I am struck at how little that time is. Maybe an hour, maybe two a day? When my own sweet girl was born I was working a 50 hour week in landscape design and had a wonderful nanny. However, after a summer of not seeing her day-to-day I made a choice to pare down my schedule to a freelance part time position. I would have quit entirely if my family could have afforded it! I will never regret my decision to spend my days with her -- even the whinny ones ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post!

Ale said...

The best post, really great!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a great series... have you thought about a similar series that covers the issues with couples that work together and own businesses together? There are so many people that do this but not a lot written or discussed in regards to the hurdles. How do they balance life and work and still keep things interesting when they spend so much time together? How do they distance themselves from the stresses of a business when needing couple time etc.

I think you do such a great job with these and would love to read other variations.. specially

Anonymous said...

My almost-two-year-old daughter's name is Finley Elizabeth too! Great post, loved Jen's perspective.

Stacy said...

this is my favorite one in the bunch- it resonated with me because she seems so down to earth. Like myself, she sees the beauty in a great daycare and all the good it can offer to a child if they are doing their job well. She also sums it up best: motherhood is manic, fun and funny! Couldn't have said it better myself.

Trish said...

I've been away, so am just beginning reading this series - nice to be able to read it all at once!
But yikes - from here moving forward, I'm avoiding the Comments section. How sad and disturbing to read all of these back-and-forth comments. I don't know why women (particularly in US) feel motherhood is some kind of competition, like there is a Right and Wrong. Why aren't we all supporting each other, regardless of Working Mom, SAHM, or the many in-between versions? Instead we tear each other down, trying to (maybe?) justify our own decisions?? I, and my family, are extremely happy and thriving with our choices so why would I have to try to justify it to anyone else?
Motherhood is tough enough without all of this nonsense! Like it or not, we're all in this together!!

Anonymous said...

.thanks for sharing

Gema barranco said...

Hello Joana,

Very interesting post, but I´d like read something about singles mothers.

Maybe next time?

Thanks,
A kiss from Spain.

Katie: writer, reader, daydreamer said...

I've read the comments under the article and I am surprised by the judgements being passed. They come in two different versions: stay at home mom vs. working mom, and constructive criticism vs over-sensitive.
I am a strong believer in doing what is best for your family. Sometimes it is a better fit if the mother stays at home and sometimes it is better for her to work outside the home.
I am currently 39 weeks pregnant and can't wait to have a year at home with my son, but plan to work after that. I am the kind of person who needs an intellectual and creative outlet to be my best self, yet do not feel the need to tell all other women to be the same way.
As for the critical, 'mean' comments being complained about - I really don't know to what posts you are referring . Please tell me you can differentiate between a difference of opinion and 'being mean'. People should feel free to speak their minds without feeling shamed for their perspective.
On a more general note, I too would prefer a more diverse range of women being profiled. I find these interviews interesting, but they are discussing the challenges of being an upper-middle class, educated, married mother. I don't doubt the validity of their challenges, yet I do want to hear about women who have less income and education; women who work shifts or multiple jobs.

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