Anne Labadie's 15 years of teaching experience and her training in early childhood education have proven invaluable in her more recent role as mom to 2 1/2-year-old Jameson.
A first grade teacher at Silver Springs Elementary School in Northville, Labadie always thought that of all professions out there, hers was likely to be one that would mesh well with parenthood. So far, that prediction has been accurate.
Labadie gave birth to Jameson via C-section seven weeks before the end of the 2011 school year. Because of that, she was able to have four months at home with him before returning to work. As a teacher, she will continue to have summers and holidays off to enjoy with her son.
And her job complements motherhood in still another way: She'll be able to bring her insights from on-the-job experience to bear in rearing her little boy.
Yet as conducive to working motherhood that her job is, it does present challenges.
"I have a job where I can't just call in," Labadie notes. "There are 25 little people waiting for me."
This is especially hard for Labadie and her husband, as neither has family in the area to serve as backup child care.
"The hardest part is when Jameson gets sick during the school day," she says. "I'll have one hour to pick him up."
The one time this happened, the school was able to quickly find someone to cover for Labadie, but the experience was not without stress. Because her husband's job involves frequent travel, it's almost always on Labadie to respond.
"I leave school each day with the understanding that there are no guarantees of health," she laughs. "I have channeled my inner Girl Scout and created detailed substitute lesson plans. My colleagues all have a copy. I keep copies at home. I am always trying to stay one step ahead."
While prepared for all range of possibilities, a typical day involves Labadie dropping Jameson off at school at 8 a.m., working a full day and then picking her son up by 4:30 p.m. When the two arrive home, Labadie tries her hardest not to multitask.
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"I haven't spent all day with him, so I want to have as much face time with him as possible before bedtime," she says.
That means the dishes and tidying up simply have to wait.
"The only problem is that then, I have none of that stuff done after he goes to bed," she laughs. "It's a lot, but completely worth it. We use the weekends to catch up on things around the house."
Silver Springs, where Labadie works, is a Leader in Me school, which applies the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People program into the curriculum. Labadie is a facilitator of the program and trains adults in the school as well as parents. Her familiarity with the 7 Habits philosophies has proven helpful in grounding her when the demands of life as a working mom get particularly heavy.
"When things get hectic, I go back to my personal mission statement, which is to be present, to live my life to the fullest and to enjoy every minute of it," Labadie explains. "By doing this, I am able to stop and reflect on what's really important.
"Similarly, I often remind the people who I train that life's a dance. Sometimes you waltz, and sometimes you cha-cha. You have to be able to speed it up and slow it down."