Working Mom Interview – Jennifer Plurad
Jennifer is a happily married working mom to 2 boys. She uses a lot of the skills she learned as a project manager to keep her family organized. Outside of work, she is a runner at heart, and recently completed her first half marathon.
Interview Q & A
1. Do you stay at home, work at home, or work-outside the home?
I currently work full time outside of the home as an IT Project Manager.
2. How many kids do you have?
I have 2 very energetic little boys, ages 6 and 4.
3. What’s your go-to dinner during the week? Do you care to share a recipe?
Pasta with spinach, beans and tomatoes. I saute spinach with a little olive oil, garlic and chopped shallot, then add a can of white beans, some fresh tomatoes and chicken broth. I mix in some penne pasta, and sprinkle with romano cheese.
4. What are your best tips for staying sane?
There are 3 key parts to staying sane.
The first is ensuring that you take time for yourself to do whatever it is you like to do and not feel guilty about it. Maybe it’s spending 30 minutes reading a novel, watching a movie, doing crafts, whatever it is you like to do. Leave the kids with your partner or other responsible person for a little while and have some time to yourself. Everyone is entitled to a little time to themselves.
For me, the second part of staying sane is practicing my faith. Knowing and believing that God is there supporting me and loving me unconditionally provides a great deal of peace.
And lastly, making time to get some physical activity. For me, I work out in the mornings before my kids and husband get up. They are not morning people, so it is not disruptive to their schedule. I get up early, and go to the gym while they sleep. Not only does exercise help me maintain a healthy weight, it also burns off stress. My husband and kids joke that when I get too stressed and cranky that I need to go running or to the gym.
5. What are your favorite tools for time/household management?
Delegation is key. As a working mom, you can’t do it all by yourself. Everyone has jobs to do. The kids clean their plates after meals, my husband and I share the other household chores like laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, cooking, etc.
We also have a family calendar in the kitchen where we can keep track of all the various activities going on. Who has a birthday party, who has a dentist appointment, when school is closed, etc. My husband and I tried a shared Google Calendar, but for us the old-fashioned paper one works better.
6. Do you have pets? If so, what kind?
7. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy staying active and sports. I am just starting to teach an indoor cycling class after taking classes for a number of years. It is a chance for me to help others get and stay fit. I also love to run – running is when I do my best thinking and a chance for me to get out and away from everything. While I could never play very well, I love watching Duke basketball!
8. What’s on your bucket list?
I would love to say that I have stayed at every hotel at Walt Disney World at least once. I have stayed at 11 out of the 30 so far. Unfortunately, the most expensive ones are still on the list, so I guess I keep working! I am lucky enough to have a husband and kids who are willing to support my goals.
9. If you work, what do you do? How did you decide?
I am currently an IT project manager. I understand technology well enough to be able to work with both developers and business analysts to ensure the project requirements are well defined, communicated and delivered. I have always been very organized, detail oriented and good at planning things. Project management just seemed like a natural fit.
10. If you work, what’s the most rewarding part about it?
My organization is experiencing significant growth, and I have the opportunity to help form the processes we use and play an integral role in defining how the team can work more efficiently. For me, seeing the team mature and work together to accomplish shared goals is the best part of the job.
11. If you could choose any career, what would it be?
If money was no object, I would work at Walt Disney World. Disney World is a magical place where you are free to be a kid and believe that the impossible is possible.
12. If you could tell your younger self something, what would it be?
Follow your heart and your dreams. While money and financial stability is certainly important to sustain life, it shouldn’t be the most critical decision when it comes to careers. Being happy with your career, and having the flexibility to have a life outside of work is more important than having the biggest house or being able to take the best vacations. If you are working all the time or if you are too stressed to enjoy what you’ve earned, your successes won’t matter.