GLEN DALE - Raising children while maintaining a successful career may sound like a daunting challenge, but working mothers throughout the Ohio Valley are doing it with the proper management and, possibly, a little help.
Mothers of all ages and walks of life have their own secrets to balancing work and family, as demonstrated by four different working mothers from Wheeling, Glen Dale and Barnesville.
Tracey Childress runs her own part-time nurse practitioner office in Barnesville while also working as a nurse for the Union Local School District. She has worked in the nursing profession since 1994.
Photo by Daniel Dorsch
Dr. Michelle Hess goes over medical files in her Glen Dale office before Mother’s Day. Hess and her husband, who also is a doctor, share parental responsibilities to make their family life and careers work.
Since starting as a nurse, Childress has continued to expand her horizons, earning a master's degree in nursing in 2009. She also had her two daughters during that period while also working part-time at Barnesville Hospital.
"I've always worked two jobs," Childress said. "Going to school and working full-time while raising kids is challenging but doable. With every life experience you have, you grow and become stronger."
Megan Mayo has worked at the Later Gator restaurant on Market Street in Wheeling for four years while raising three children.
"I make it work with multi-tasking and prayers," Mayo said. "You definitely have to be on a schedule and be consistent."
While she works, Mayo said she tries to set a good example for her children.
"When kids see their parent working hard, it teaches them about the real world and hard work," Mayo said.
She added her older children even help her out around the house, showing a solid understanding of responsibilities and family dynamics. For that, she said, she is very proud.
Peggy Porter, co-owner of Wood-N-Stitches in Wheeling's Centre Market, said her children are grown but she remembers well how she managed to raise her three children while working at the Ohio Valley Mall.
"Good neighbors," Porter said. "We had a babysitter in the neighborhood and we all took turns taking care of each others' kids. We all worked together."
As she attended to her patients before Mother's Day weekend, Dr. Michelle Hess, a Glen Dale pediatrician, said she and her husband work as a team to raise their two children.
"We met in medical school and waited six years to have kids," Hess said. "My husband helps out a lot. Our schedules can get crazy, so we both share in ... the responsibilities."
Family also helps the Hess family function as both parents work. Hess said she and her husband moved back to the Ohio Valley expressly for the purpose of being close to their parents.
"It helps out to have a good support system in your family," Hess said. "The office staff is also wonderful. They are very helpful in arranging things and keeping the office running smoothly."
Hess, Childress and Mayo all said it is important to make time, no matter how busy working moms become, to spend with their children.
"We try to set aside a specific time for family that doesn't involve anything work-related," Hess said. "It's important to keep the little things - and little ones - in mind."
"Family always comes first," Childress agreed.
"Juggling everything is definitely a challenge but it's worth it," Mayo said.