Inspiration: 7 Successful Working Parents

I appreciate raising my kids at a time when parents have so many professional options: stay-at-home parents, those who work outside their homes, telecommuters–there are so many ways to do it right.

We working parents weather some difficulties because of our situation–the stress, worry and volleying between worlds can be hard to manage. But there are also benefits to existing in multiple dimensions and modeling that interplay for our children.

These professionals are well-versed in that delicate balancing act, which has enhanced what they bring to the project of parenthood.

Forging Identity

“Being a working parent is important to me because my profession is a part of my identity. It’s part of who I am. Just like being a mom is part of who I am…I like that Lily sees that my work is important. That I am good at a job, that I care about doing good work.”

Kristie L. PalmerAssociate Dean of Digital Scholarship, Director of the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship, History Librarian IUPUI University Library

Creating a Family Legacy

“Sofia asks questions about how we run the stores. But she’s really impressed about how many employees we have. She has started to ask a lot of questions regarding employees. She sees that we care about our employees, and that makes her happy. She recently said she can’t wait to work for us at the stores, because people smile a lot there . . .The best moments as a working dad are when the kids show real pride in knowing that we have really cool grocery stores. . . We [Revy and his wife, their company’s CFO] work hard, work a lot, and the biggest issues with a small family business is that it is so interwoven in the fabric of our lives. But, we make it so that it does not overwhelm the kids. And while they may not fully grasp that or appreciate it, I know there will come a time when they do.”

Andrew Revy, CEO, Constantino’s Market

Providing Opportunities

“I love it when my daughter comes to my office and thinks it’s a cool place to be and there are four other women working there. . . I love that she gets to see that. And times like this weekend where a fun work trip of mine [to attend the Grammy Awards] coincides with her winter break so she gets to come with me – that is a time when I am straddling both worlds in a really awesome way. My son is still clueless, but he did tell me when he grows up he wants to have my job and email bands and have meetings on the phone.’”

Lisa Gottheil, Partner, Grandstand Media and Management

“Lots of working parents — myself included — have wrestled with guilt of not giving enough. I finally stopped singing this ballad of guilt when I took my kids to work, and they were able to see me in a new light. Not only were they able to understand first-hand what I do for a living — which is to help low-income families manage their money — but they were able to see the inside of a workplace, meet my dedicated team and get a sense of the day-to-day things I do as a non-profit leader. Though my son Sam’s dream job for me is to work for the Cubs, when I ask if they want to come to work with me, their eyes light up, and there is no second guessing.”

Raissa J. Allaire, COO, Center for Economic Progress

Fortifying Connections

“I have been so grateful for the perspective that motherhood has given me, and I firmly believe that perspective makes me better at my job. We can become so myopic in our focus and forget the ‘why’ of what motivates us, and our clients…Motherhood has allowed me to connect with my clients on a deeper level. I was grateful and overwhelmed at how supportive and excited my clients were when I started my family, and I was pleasantly surprised that our conversations became more meaningful as we discussed our families.”

Susan Aintree, Financial Professional  

Maintaining Calm  

“I get a feeling of success in making the operation continue running, if not smoothly, then consistently…We have a finite amount of time in which they’ll look at our faces and smile and say sweet things and mean them. I intend to be as present and calm for as many of those sweet things as I can be. If there’s enough of those, hopefully they’ll gel into the way they see the world.”

Christopher Lyke, Editor, Line of AdvanceLiterary Journal for Veterans  

Achieving Balance

“Even with our jam-packed days, Michelle and I work hard to carve out certain blocks of family time that are sacrosanct. For example, at 6:30 p.m., no matter how busy I am, I leave work to go upstairs and have dinner with my family … My staff knows that it pretty much takes a national emergency to keep me away from that dinner table…So for an hour or so at dinner, my focus is not on my day, but on theirs.

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America