Modern Moms

Jamie Seitz, left, and her son, Calvin, 9, video chatted with her husband, Adam, while working on homework April 25 at their Ireland home. Jamie teaches at University of Southern Indiana two to three days a week in Evansville and is working on completing her dissertation through Anderson University. “On days when I’m not teaching I get Calvin from school and we start homework,” Jamie said. “Usually we have supper together and I’ll keep the rest warm in the oven for Adam once he gets home.”

Story by Candy Neal
Photos by Brittney Lohmiller

Working moms are a norm today.

Long gone are the days when mothers stayed home with the children while fathers made the earnings for the household.

And with multitasking being just as common in today’s world, many moms can’t see themselves operating any other way.

Take Jamie Seitz, 35, of Ireland, for instance, who has a different schedule for certain days of the week. Each day involves work, son and home duties.

It’s not uncommon to see Jamie sitting in her car in the pickup line at Ireland Elementary School with her computer open, grading assignments from college students in her University of Southern Indiana classes, cellphone laying nearby.

“I take whatever few minutes I have to work on tasks like that,” Jamie said. “My days are full, so I need to make sure I keep up.”

When she says full, she means that. From early morning, when she rises before her 9-year-old son, Calvin, to when the household goes to bed after 9 p.m., her schedule is full.

While waiting for her son to get out of school at Ireland Elementary, Jamie graded her graduate students’ papers the afternoon of April 13. Jamie tries to be at the school 20-30 minutes before students are dismissed. “My son likes for me to be the first person in line,” Jamie said. “But that just doesn’t happen.”

She is at USI three days a week, spending most of those days teaching accounting and advising students on their career paths. On the other weekdays, she is working on her dissertation, running errands and building online classes that students can ultimately take for credit.

Although USI is a long commute from her Ireland home, she said she loves being a university professor. “I am meant to work in a school setting. I am supposed to be mentoring and teaching,” she said. “I’m constantly interacting with students, which is what I want to do. I want to be for them the person I needed when I was growing up.”

Every day, she makes sure Calvin’s homework and school activities are completed, runs him to practices, takes care of the family’s two indoor dogs and one outdoor cat, and helps with some consulting work Seitz Trucking, the company her husband, Adam, owns.

On top of that, she also works as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate, who  represents children who are part of the court system due to abuse or neglect. Although that duty takes about 10 hours a month, she admits to constantly thinking about the child she is serving. So that’s on her mind too.

She realizes that her fast-paced lifestyle can be detrimental if she doesn’t strike some kind of balance between busyness and relaxation.

“I struggle with electronics,” she admitted, “when to put the phone down. I don’t want to be unapproachable, but I know there needs to be boundaries.”

For relaxation, she watches the television show “Friends” after Calvin is in bed. She also likes to run in the early mornings. Jamie has put running races on hold, now that she is pregnant.

“It was a big surprise,” she said. “We have to make adjustments, and eventually there will be a few more things we need to plan around, with having a newborn. But we are excited and welcoming it.”

They are already starting to get ready for the addition. Jamie and Adam are currently switching rooms around to have Calvin’s room in the basement and to use his old room for the nursery.

Striking a balance between activities and rest is a common challenge for modern-day moms.

Racheal Burris colored Shawn Correll’s hair in the hair studio her father built in his basement while her son, Marshall, 3, played on March 28. Racheal cuts hair in her studio and also babysits children from her home in Celestine. “I usually reserve Saturday and Sunday for doing hair so I don’t have to bring the boys along” Racheal said. “But I can fit people in during the week as long as it’s after I get the kids off the bus.”

“Sometimes, I wish I had a choice to sleep in,” said 26-year-old Racheal Burris, a Celestine wife and mom who spends a lot of her day caring for other children as a child-care provider in addition to her two young sons.

Her day starts at 5:30 a.m., getting herself ready, and then her two children, 6-year-old Madden and 3-year-old Marshall, ready for the day. She makes sure she’s done before the first two children are dropped off by parents heading to work.

She gets the kids on the school bus and then she spends the morning and early afternoon cleaning and preparing meals, activities and snacks for the 9 kids, all 6 or 7 years old, who will return from school in a few hours. All the while, Racheal is keeping up with Marshall, two other 3-year-old and, at times, a relative’s newborn daughter, who also comes in the morning. The 3-year-olds go to school later in the morning, after which time she runs errands, sets up appointments — Racheal is also a hair stylist — and, if possible, rests a little.

Racheal fed 5-month-old Wrenley Cummins of Birdseye while her son, Madden, 6, left, Makenzie Beyke, 7, both of Celestine, and Lexus Griffith of Dubois, 6, enjoyed pancakes before going to school May 2. During the school year, Racheal babysits, and most days she wakes up before 6 a.m. to make breakfast before getting the kids on the school bus.

Once the kids return from school around 3:45 p.m., the afternoons include walks and playing outside, snacking and chatting about the children’s school day to help them practice socialization skills. She may have some hair appointments as well. And if there is homework, she helps the children work on their assignments.

“All that ends when their parents pick them up,” Racheal said. “And then my family’s evening routine starts.”

Fixing dinner for the boys and husband Bryan, who works at Toyota and is in the National Guard, going through homework assignments, spending time outside with their boys and going to activities, like karate, are the norm.

“It’s a big juggling act,” Racheal said. “I’ve got lots of thing in the air that I’m balancing, not letting anything drop.”

Her weekends are just as busy. Racheal’s father built a salon for her in the basement of her parents’ home, and she utilizes it as much as she can, taking appointments for weekday afternoons and on the weekends. Just recently, her Saturdays were full with appointments from young ladies going to prom.

And with her husband working long days at Toyota and having drill on some weekends, the couple has limited weekend time together. On those available weekends, Racheal makes sure she does not schedule appointments.

“I make myself take that downtime,” Racheal said. “It can hard, but I have to force myself to do it.”

While modern moms have many activities on their agenda, some of the activities give them chances to visit and socialize.

Mary Roberts listened through the door while her son, Sean, 15, preformed in the Indiana Federation of Music Clubs Festival on March 28 at Vincennes University Jasper Campus. Every Tuesday, either Mary or her husband, Shannon, must get Sean to his vocal lessons.

Mary Roberts, 45, of Jasper shows a group of ladies in her home some of the latest products offered by Thirty-One Gifts, for which she is a local consultant. She is having the product party on a Friday night, an evening that is usually dedicated to downtime with family.

Her phone dings, alerting her of the whereabouts of her husband, Shannon. He drives for Uber and Lyft, so the weekend nights are his busiest. The app on Mary’s phone allows her to see where he is located, whether it’s locally, in Evansville or in Bloomington. She knows the sound well, but doesn’t give it that much attention.

She has plenty to pay attention to at the moment.

A few of the ladies inquire about pillows the company sells, and Mary shows off her pillow. The writing on it is a reference to Darth Vader, she explained.

“She really loves Star Wars,” her youngest son, Sean, yells from an adjoining room while he plays a video game.

“Go to bed Sean,” Mary yells back, a phrase she jokingly uses on him often. “That’s the peanut gallery,” she tells her guests, who laugh.

Mary juggles home, work and church duties all at the same time, which is commonplace for her.

“It’s something I’ve always done,” she said. “I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t very organized.”

She keeps everything straight using a book planner, which goes everywhere with her. “Each person (in the family) has a certain (highlighter) color” in the book, she explained. That way, she can tell which activity correlates to which person.

Her full-time job as a field analyst and Internal Revenue Service enrolled agent at National Energy Control Services, or NECS, is only one of the several things she does; being a Thirty-One consultant is a side business. She and Shannon have three children: Sean, 15, and adults Celia and Matthew. A point to note: Mary home-schooled each of her children for part of their education.

Mary first started working as a Thirty-One Gifts consultant five years ago and works full-time as a field analyst for National Energy Control Services. “I started doing it to get out of the house and to have conversations with adults,” Mary said. Mary showed the different bags available for purchase the evening of March 16.

Sean is now a Jasper High School sophomore and sings in the high school choir. He competes in vocal competitions, which means that his parents must get him to competitions on the weekends, another activity on the schedule. He also takes vocal lessons on Tuesday evenings. Mary checks family schedules to see if Shannon can take Sean to his lessons. On the Tuesdays he cannot — Shannon is also active at Redemption Christian Church and has band practices some Tuesdays — Mary makes sure she pencils that into her schedule. Her parents, who live on the basement floor of the Roberts’ house, also help get Sean to activities.

And her mom, Ann Knyff, is also helping Mary plan the details of Celia’s wedding. Celia got engaged in March. The wedding is in August.

Of course, Mary has everything that needs to be done planned and timed in her planner. “We’re pacing ourselves,” she said.

Through all these activities, Mary makes sure she spends some one-on-on time with Sean, usually on Friday evenings. The night is spent playing a game and talking “until I tell him that I have to go to bed,” she said.

She manages to keep Sunday afternoons open for family, and gets some personal time in the early mornings, when she gets up to exercise and read her Bible.

“Reading is my reprieve,” she said.

Although the life of a typical mom has changed from the past, some things don’t change. The key to keeping up with the pace of life is still the same — planning and balancing activity with rest.

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