Generation X is producing more mothers who dance a delicate line between family and career, no longer beholden to the idea of being just a stay-at-home mom or a working mom.
About 60 percent of working mothers consider a part-time job as their ideal scenario to balance home and professional life, 6News' Trisha Shepherd
Hoosiers mothers are getting creative as they search for the perfect balance.
The demands on working mothers are enough to make many wish they could split themselves in two. Some work in an environment where they can figuratively do that.
Carrie Cagnasola and her job-share partner, Becky Merlina, share one management-level job at Eli Lilly and Co.
Between the two, there are seven children. While Becky stays at home with her children two-and-a-half days a week, her other half, Carrie, is at work. Halfway through the week, they switch.
"I think the balance comes from the days when I'm off," Cagnasola said. "When I'm off, normally I can really be off because I have a trusted person who is up to speed and can pick up."
"I think this is ideal for me, when you're able to work with a friend, keep your career going, but also be able to be home more than you can even in a part-time situation," Merlina said.
Like many moms, Becky and Carrie aren't purely working or stay-at-home moms. They fall somewhere in between, something Shepherd knows herself.
Shepherd, who began her anchor job at 6News earlier this year, is a stay-at-home mom in the mornings, busy with son, Calvin, 5, and Clara, 2.
Shepherd puts in about six hours with the children before going to her job on 6News at 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m.
The night shift gives Shepherd more morning hours to be a hands-on mom, but the tradeoff is that her feet never seem to stop moving until she hits bed at about 1 a.m.
Some mothers have more difficult challenges in their work-home situation.
The balancing act for Melissa Burrous, of Russiaville, took a twist no mother wants to imagine about a year ago when her son, Justin, 4, was diagnosed with leukemia.
"Probably the most painful was to see him in pain. It was difficult to see him go through what he had to go through," Burrous said.
Melissa has been able to be with Justin every step of the way, while still maintaining her job and some perks at BeautiControl, where she manages a large team of beauty consultants from a home office.
"When it's chemo week, I try not to work that week unless I absolutely have to," Burrous said. "Sometimes, the phone never stops ringing. You have to type very fast. You only have about five minutes to keep his attention."
Three nights a week, when her husband gets home, Melissa heads out to help other busy women relax.
"We do in-home spas. We're kind of like a Tupperware company, but we go and we spa women," Burrous said.
Melissa's schedule is challenging, but it is flexible and fits with her priorities.
Each of the women have very different career paths, but they all provide unconventional ways to find a work-life balance, something Generation X mothers have pushed into the mainstream.
Alonzo Weems, Lilly's global workforce diversity director, said most of the company's employees, even if they aren't parents, take advantage of some form of flexibility.
"It is the option people are asking for," Weems said. "Really be open to where and when employees do their work and how they do it, because that means a lot
(and) ultimately will make them more productive and engaged employees."
Research indicates that companies are offering more flexibility now than at any other time in history, but there is still a gap between what working mothers want and what they can find.
Studies find that about 20 percent of working mothers have a part-time schedule, but 60 percent wish they did. Many can't find good part-time work in their field.
Many who work full-time said they couldn't afford the pay cut or loss of benefits from dropping to part time.
If you have working parent stories and tips to share, please do so on Trisha's blog.
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