Features writer Amy Bredeson writes about Lowcountry moms who have advice to share. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Most working mothers would agree -- it's tough balancing home life and a career. Between meals and homework, doctors appointments and after-school activities, it's a wonder we get any work done.
Yet somehow, amidst all the chaos, we manage to keep all the balls in the air.
Name: Stephanie Barras
Town: Lady's Island
Strength: Juggling a career and six children
Stephanie Barras has six children ranging from ages 8 to 18. She's a pharmacist at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and she manages to squeeze in enough time to teach aerobics classes at the YMCA a couple of days a week.
Barras said she works on an as-needed basis at the hospital -- full-time some weeks and part-time others. And because her children are preoccupied swimming five or six days a week at the YMCA, she's able to teach aerobics classes there.
Question. So what's your secret? How do you juggle career and family?
Answer. Good planning, I guess. I've always been a planner. I like to plan, and it gives me stability. ... I'm lucky that I have a job that I can be a mother. I can have a flexible schedule and be able to enjoy my work and be challenged every day. I feel very blessed. Sort of have the best of both worlds.
Q. Do you have any tips for other moms trying to juggle work and home life?
A. Trying to schedule conveniently for the whole family, doubling up on things within let's say the Y or that kind of thing, or letting them do activities associated with school because it doesn't cost much, and you can usually find friends or make acquaintances that you can do carpools (with). Things like that just make your life easier with multiple children. ... The older ones help the younger ones with homework a lot and that kind of thing. ... (The kids) each have their own jobs within our home because that's the only way I can make it work and not go crazy. With four to five loads of clothes a day and that kind of thing, unless I have help from the girls, I'll just go crazy. And if mom's crazy, everybody is. ... Having our church community and friends that we've made and having that to rely on has been huge, too.
Q. How are you surviving three teenage girls at once?
A. It's rough. I fight with one of them daily, but we're friends.
Q. Is there anything you are not so great at?
A. There's so many. Let me think. I struggle with patience for sure. I struggle with keeping my house in order. ... Finances with six kids has always been a struggle. We're trying to put our kids through Catholic school. We're trying to save for college. We want our kids to have lots of opportunities but not cost too much. That's always been a struggle.