November/December 2022 - 117

It Takes a Village:
Surviving the Balancing Act
My thanks to the Women in Deep
Foundations (WiDF) Committee for
both conceiving of this parenting
column and then providing me the
opportunity to contribute. As a parent
and a colleague of many young parents,
I can attest to the importance of
conversation and support for parenting
within the workplace. Our company
prides itself on, and works hard to
achieve our goal of providing a
workplace that stresses the importance
of family. This includes: welcoming
babies at the office, hosting kids' camps
during the summer and ensuring that
we are keenly tuned to the stress level
of our young parent colleagues. We
attempt to manage challenging clients
and projects with available young
parent bandwidth, provide duplicity
and back up and accommodate
emergency time off demands, sick
leave and maternity/paternity leave.
Our young parents value the flexibility
we try to provide. It requires an
individualized solution for each family;
since every situation is unique.
Sometimes plans change. We have
found, fondly, that every parent reacts
differently to the arrival of each child.
Sometimes determined professionals
are swayed to complete distraction
with their new arrival, while others
manage and enjoy a full portfolio with a
baby drooling on the keyboard. One of
my favourite Zoom sessions is with a
colleague who is a mother of three
young boys (two of which are twins).
We discuss her challenging projects
as I try to sort out what is flying by in
the background. Her capacity to
concentrate and produce great work
through what must be a small hurricane
is as amazing as her smile when
she tells us all about their antics.
I T TAKES A VILLAGE
Welcome back to It Takes a Village, a column brought to you by the Women in Deep Foundations Committee. This issue's column is authored by
Matthew Janes, M.E.Sc., MBA, P.Eng., Isherwood Geostructural Engineers
" Yes, the kids give thanks every day for their mother's genes. "
For many parents, combining a
family with a career means some form
of sacrifice, often significant for at least
one parent. This sacrifice may be to
reduce one parent's time at work in
order to spend more time with the
children in their younger years.
Typically, it will mean reducing the
other parent's time raising and sharing
precious moments with the children.
Our family made the choice of allowing
my wife to reduce her career hours and
spend ample time raising our children.
With my earlier career travel schedule
this meant weeks alone at times.
Bearing the full brunt of parenting three
active children with little assistance is
exhausting. But reducing, not eliminating,
her career time allowed her to
remain in touch professionally, attend
conferences and annual general
meetings and maintain her clientele.
She yearned for more at times, but she
cherished the mothering time spent
with our three, now grown, children.
There were tough times and fear for
both of us. Between health issues,
stress, lack of time and energy for one
another, professional challenges, and
the justified fear my wife felt when she
left me at home with the children, there
were many difficult times. As many of
you know I can't drive a comb or a hair
brush, so my wife was greeted arriving
home from a weekend away, on several
occasions, by two charming young
daughters who had their tangles
removed with scissors. I simply
couldn't cope. We have no idea how
many tears were shed on our kitchen
table as I eased our three through high
school math, calculus and physics.
When word got out that I was a great
tutor who made math fun (Yes I did!) a
steady stream of friends came through
the same emotional math roller coaster.
Combining a career you can be
proud of while raising children can
occupy every moment of the day, the
week, the year, often leaving you
depleted and feeling inadequate. I have
had many discussions with young
parents at our company emphasizing
that they cannot expect to be both an
ideal employee and a great parent and
spouse every week, or even any week
for that matter. How could it be possible
to sit back with your thoughts at the end
of the week and say to yourself, " Wow I
really excelled at my job this week, I
was a top-notch parent and spouse,
providing all the care my clients needed
DEEP FOUNDATIONS * NOV/DEC 2022 * 117

November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November/December 2022

TOC
November/December 2022 - Intro
November/December 2022 - 1
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November/December 2022 - TOC
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