Being a working professional and a parent is much easier said than done. Building a career for yourself takes years of education, work, persistence, and a willingness to continually learn. Things change when a professional enters parenthood. Being a parent requires a new kind of mental, emotional, and physical energy, but it’s also a huge source of joy and fulfillment. Both parenthood and work are rewarding and gratifying in unique ways. Combining these two roles is a challenge, but it’s possible with the right support system.
At Howard, we have this kind of support system in our Howard Parents Group. During the summer of 2021, Laura, a Howard Tax Manager, sought out a way to speak with fellow parents and share advice, victories, struggles, and stories. She met with the firm’s leaders and officially formed the Parents Group. Team members Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth have also played a large role in forming the group and leading its activities.
Laura with her beautiful children.
What is Parents Group?
Parents Group is essentially a support system for all Howard parents, from new parents to empty nesters and everyone in between. Additionally, aspiring parents and anybody else with interest is welcome to the group (we all have parents of our own after all!). Parents Group holds formal meetings throughout the off season, and members reach out to each other for support informally during the busy tax season. The overall goal of our Parents Group is for team members to discuss the unique aspects of combining parenthood and working at an accounting firm to help each other achieve work-life integration.
Formal Parents Group meetings are often spent getting to know each other, sharing stories about each other’s kids, and discussing the logistics of being a working parent. At one meeting, members may suggest a variety of books about parenting for other members to read. Other times, members may offer advice about choosing between daycare, a nanny, working from home, or a combination of these care options. Meetings are driven by what each member brings to them, and the collaboration begins from there. For example, Laura recently asked the group about best practices when going on vacation with young children who may have a hard time sitting still on long car rides, planes, and more. The group serves as a vehicle for parents to ask questions and get insightful answers from others in the same boat as them.
What’s more, Parents’ Group complements the work-life integration that Howard offers team members. One of the things we’re most proud of is that our team can work at the times and places that work best for them. Some of us work early in the mornings so that we can spend time with our families in the evening. Others take a hybrid approach, working from home some days of the week and commuting to the office other times. The firm encourages flexibility and doing what makes the most sense for each team member and their unique situation.
As we round out our first year of having Parents Group, we’re reminded of how important it is to see home life and work life as elements that can mesh together, rather than two separate entities to keep apart. We recognize that family comes first, whether you’re a parent or not. Finally, we look forward to sharing future updates and developments about our Parents’ Group as it grows and thrives throughout the coming years.
A special thank you to Laura for input and knowledge about our Parents’ Group and work-life integration.