Editor’s Note: Give us your lawyers, your accountants, your massage therapists. Give use your teachers, your engineers, your real estate agents.
NextGen MilSpouse is going beyond traditional career tips and tricks for military spouses! We are sharing the real stories of working military spouses (just like you!) and their professional success stories on Wednesdays.
Name: Molly DeWitt
Years as a military spouse: 10
Tell us your job title/profession:
Parent Educator with the Onslow County Partnership for Children (a local non-profit)
I work as a facilitator for the Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) and hold group classes for parents with children 0-5 to help them learn strategies for dealing with challenging behaviors and prevent problems from developing all while building strong, healthy relationships.
As part of my job, I have also been certified as a child passenger safety technician. As a result, I do many car seat installations with parents in the community to help them better understand car seat safety.
I also do some freelance writing on the side.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
Full time and freelance
How long have you been working in this career field?
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
95% office, 5% home
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I was working as a reporter at the local newspaper and had developed a relationship with the executive director of the organization (Onslow County Partnership for Children) through various interviews I conducted with her for stories I was working on.
In passing I mentioned that I was looking to change careers to something more family-friendly. The partnership had just received a grant for Early Head Start/home visitation, and she believed that it would be a good fit for me as I was very good at building relationships with people (based on her interactions with me).
So I applied and got the job. Five years later, my job has changed some but I am still with the same agency and loving it!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
Prior to having my son (who is now 4) I actually didn’t feel like it was that difficult to maintain a career. But after having him, everything changed.
There is nobody else to call on when he is sick and needs to be picked up early. I have to find care for him if I’m working a late night (thankfully my current job understands the military lifestyle and supports families so I have some flexibility, so blessed!)
I really had to lean on friends to help out in a pinch.
But mostly, you just suck it up and deal with it. If I was sick, I dragged myself out of bed and put on my mommy hat. I am blessed that we are able to afford childcare for my son, so if I was having a truly bad day during the workweek I could send him to childcare and take a sick day at home.
But I have sacrificed true time with friends for not having a babysitter. But we have relied heavily on routine and that is what has gotten us through everything. Knowing my partner would eventually be home to help out and pitch in is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tell us one thing you love about your job:
Helping parents to understand that we’re all in the same boat! Nobody has perfect children. I feel like I’m making a difference. I’m helping parents better understand their children’s behaviors and how they can influence them in a more positive fashion. This makes for happier parents and happier children.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:
I go to the grocery store every week with a list of items as well as meals planned. But I don’t assign a specific meal to a specific day. I might come home Wednesday a little later than I planned and realized I don’t quite have the time to make lasagna, so I’ll move that around and we’ll have quesadillas instead!
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
My husband, when he is home, takes care of the outdoors. He mows the grass, cares for the pool, all of that stuff. Of course, when he’s gone I take that on too.
We share the role of doing the dishes. I do my laundry and our son’s laundry and he does his own. My husband is the tidier of the two of us, so he spends time picking things up, where I might spend more time actually cleaning things.
If you have children, how do you and your spouse or partner split parenting responsibilities?
I feel like we have a good team going. Our son’s preschool/childcare is on my way to work so I typically drop him off and pick him up.
But when he is home, my husband will pick him up if he has a short day at work, or if he is able, he will take him to an appointment.
At night, we all do the bedtime routine together. After dinner we go upstairs and get our son in a bath or shower, then we all cuddle together to watch a show before bed.
If he wakes at night, we take turns going in to comfort him. On weekends we often all wake up together and get the day going, but sometimes my husband will let me sleep in (I do love a little extra sleep!)
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without:
iPhone. It keeps me connected to my husband when he’s gone and enables me to instantly share photos with family and friends who live far away.
Favorite app for making the most of your day?
Pandora – Gotta have music. I can’t stand to work in silence.
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
I can’t listen to music with words when I’m trying to do paperwork etc. So I like the Hans Zimmer Pandora station or my recently discovered favorite, Coffeetvity (it plays sounds like the background noise of a coffee shop).
What is your No.1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Make connections! I wish that it were something as simple as making a few changes to your resume etc. But I’ve found where we live, in Jacksonville, N.C., it’s all about who you know. So get out there and meet people. Get to know your community. If you can get a foot in the door somewhere you can work your way up.