PACE Celebrates Lacey P. – Not Your AVERAGE Working Mom!
I have two children, my daughter who just turned 12, and my son who is a little over 9 months. He was born at 25 weeks/2 days so has had a big impact on my role as a WORKING MOM since the moment of his birth!
We, like any family, have a crazy schedule consisting of the regular Monday through Friday. I get to work by 9:00 a.m. so I can drop my daughter off at school. Deion has an in home nurse who gets to our home at 8:00 a.m. and leaves when I get home from work which is usually about 5:15 p.m.
Mia is on an AAU basketball team so she has practice two days a week and then usually plays in tournaments on the weekends. We are busy, but somehow manage to get to where we need to be!
There is a lot involved with taking care of my son right now. He is on oxygen support, a feeding tube on continuous feed and a machine that monitors his heart rate and respiratory rate. Mia and I have mastered how to take all that apparatus mobile so that we can get out of the house in 10 minutes if we have to!
I work full time for a wonderful accounting firm called Vine Dahlen. I am an administrative assistant and do all of their tax processing plus assist with other administrative duties as needed. I have been with this firm for a little over a year and a half.
The biggest challenge for me, being a single mom, are the “unknowns”. It’s really hard when you have a child who wakes up sick and you are the only parent in the home who can take care of them. At times, you have to take time off work on short notice. while it sometimes feels that I am falling short of my responsibilities as an employee, I know my children come first. Luckily my employer thinks so too!
One of the most difficult parts of managing both my job and home life is the scheduling. Working at an accounting firm, tax season calls for longer hours and additional time at work that isn’t always available. I still have the responsibly of making sure my son gets to his doctor’s appointments, my daughter gets to her practices and having dinner and clean clothes every day. It is a lot, but it is so rewarding!
The biggest benefit from mastering the challenge of being the best employee and mother I can be, is the feeling I get from knowing I am contributing and being responsible for my family. Being a mother will always be my number one job, but being able to go to work and provide for my children makes me feel better about myself and what I am doing with my life. I also feel that by example, I am teaching my daughter and someday my son, that it is important to work hard and while still maintaining your family life as well.
My employer has been extremely helpful and flexible. I was put on bed rest when I had only been working for Vine Dahlen for less than a year. They assured me that my position was safe and that they were worried about me and my son’s well being.
After I had my son, he was in the hospital for 7 months and my boss let me work a flexible schedule so I could do my job, visit Deion daily, and make time to be with my daughter. I am very fortunate to work for this firm and their support of me through this difficult time. They understood my dedication and knew that I would be able to come back to a more regular schedule and continue to work hard for them. They have been willing to work with me throughout this difficult time and I so appreciate that!
If employers in general could just be a little flexible with working moms and support the family/work life balance they would have really dedicated and hard working moms. I am fortunate to work for a company that does this but I know not all do. If you work for a company who isn’t flexible or understanding it just causes extra stress and anxiety to a Working Mom who really just wants to be great at both of her jobs.
About Lacey’s employer, Vine Dahlen, PLLC
As part of our story, we interviewed Becky Evans, Vine Dahlen’s HR administrator, Lacey’s boss. Vine Dahlen PLLC, is a small but very forward thinking CPA firm located in Lynnwood Washington. They employ 33 people – mostly in CPA or administrative roles.
Becky shared her thoughts not just about Lacey, but about the Vine Dahlen culture which emphasizes the importance of flexibility in all of its HR practices.
“Maybe it’s because Vine Dahlen was founded by a female? Maybe it’s because we’ve always had female partners? Maybe it’s because we have a strong female leader in our managing partner, Lisa McKeirnan. My guess is that it’s all this female energy that has contributed to our understanding of women’s needs and issues and has put us in a place where flexibility is a key element of our culture. The truth is, both our men and our women are able to use our flexibility to their personal benefit.
“90% of our employees are part of working families. Most have both Mom and Dad in some form of provider or support roles.
Lacey is actually our only employee who is a single Mom, the primary provider for her family. As soon as we heard that Deion was born early, we knew Lacey would need a circle of support to get her through the challenges she would soon face.
Although we are a small company we make a big deal out of helping each other do things that are important to them. It goes without saying, we knew immediately that Lacey’s battle to first keep her son alive, and then to help him grow into normal babyhood, was a cause worth supporting.
A big priority for Lacey was time – time to be with Deion in the hospital, time for doctors’ visits, time to leave quickly for an unexpected emergency. Lacey is in an administrative role where it isn’t always easy for her to just “be gone” but with good communication and awesome teamwork, we made it work.
Flexibility is an important word for Vine Dahlen. They would say it is the number one thing they provide that most other CPA firms can’t or won’t. They also know it takes effort and communication to dole out flexibility fairly.
”Don’t get me wrong; there are hard core business reasons behind our focus on flexibility. We are a small company. We compete against the big guys. We have to do a whole lot of things differently just to get in the game…and the flexibility we offer has been one of those things we know we do differently from most other CPA firms, and we work hard.”
The payoff for Vine Dahlen has been huge! 10 years ago they were challenged to attract the kind of talent they needed to do quality work. Today turnover is little to none. Last year, for example, they lost 2 CPAs (less than 10% turnover)…but are quick to report that this year one of those who left has come back – returning in a part time role.
According to Becky, this is the kind of flexibility stuff they do all the time. We can only guess how good it is for their business. We also know it’s good for Working Moms like Lacey.
We’d like to thank Lacey and Vine Dahlen for sharing this story with us! If you have a story about a working mom that you would like to share, please click here. If we publish your story, we will make a $50.00 donation to the Boys and Girls club after school programs.
Feel free to contact us with questions at: PaceCares@pacestaffing.com