Guest Article: Full-time careers and full-time parents: Is it possible?
by Jeremy and Janel Miller, authors of Role Model Ricky’s Big Birthday Bash
Parenting isn’t always easy, but it sure is rewarding! As working professionals and parents of three young boys, the Miller household is busy and often times pure chaos. Drew will be 4 years old in February and twins, Luke and Tom, are 2. We have a house full of toys and activities for the boys, but it never seems to fail that they want to play with the same toy, ball, or color of playdough at the same time. Sound familiar?
Janel is the occupational health department manager at Winona Health, a local health care provider. Jeremy works at Wm. Miller Scrap Iron & Metal Co., where he and his two brothers are the fourth generation to work for their family recycling business. Jeremy is also a Minnesota State Senator. During the legislative session, Jeremy is in Saint Paul, Minnesota a few days a week for 4-5 months each year while Janel holds down the fort 130 miles away in Winona, Minnesota.
Our weekday schedule generally goes like this. Wake up in the morning between 5:30-6:00 am. Get ready for work. Hopefully, but usually not, the boys sleep until 6:30 am. Get the boys in their “day clothes,” serve breakfast, brush teeth, and out the door by 7:15 am. Janel usually drops the boys off at daycare and then heads to work, unless she has an early meeting, in which case Jeremy drops off the boys before heading to work. If Jeremy is at the capitol or traveling for work, they rely on others for help.
After a full day’s work, Jeremy generally picks up the boys from daycare. Jeremy and Janel will usually get home around the same time and start making dinner. After dinner and cleanup, the boys will play or do learning activities, take a bath, have a snack, brush teeth, and wind down with “reading time.” Drew, and sometimes the twins, likes watching “movies” – usually a cartoon we select from Netflix with his input. We limit “movie time” to about 10-15 minutes and carefully monitor what we allow the boys to watch.
We try to mix up the evening activities from day to day so it’s not the same routine every day. Sometimes we will blast music and have dance parties, kick a ball around or have races in the basement, color pictures, or do flashcard learning activities. And weather permitting; we spend a lot of time playing outside and at different parks throughout the community.
By the time we put the boys to bed, usually between 7:30 – 8:00 pm, we are exhausted. We try to find time to exercise after the boys go to bed or in the morning before the chaos begins, but it’s not always easy to find the energy or motivation. We have a space at the house with an elliptical that Janel likes to use and Jeremy prefers to run outside or do weight training at the house.
Jeremy likes to sign up for local road races and triathlons in advance, which helps motivate him. He recently completed his first marathon and followed a 16 week training plan he found online. Janel like to use apps on her iPhone to participate in different fitness challenges. She recently completed a 30 day ab challenge.
When it comes to the children’s book we wrote together, Role Model Ricky’s Big Birthday Bash, we told each other that this wasn’t going to be another idea that we just talk about, but we were actually going to do it. We enjoy watching the ABC-TV show Shark Tank and occasionally discuss different ideas with each other, but that’s usually the extent of the idea. But this time we made a commitment to each other to follow through with our idea to write a children’s book with a very positive and direct message about the importance of being a good role model.
We often get asked, “How do you do it?” or “How did you find time to write a book?” We do have a very busy household, but we also strive to help make good things happen for our family and our community. We set out each day to be great spouses to one another, the best parents we can be to our boys, and positive role models in the community. We believe that “I’m too busy” is just an excuse and if we truly put our mind to something and work hard, good things will come.