Architect Mom

By Architect, Adrienne Stronge.

Architecture can be a demanding profession.  There are deadlines, client demands, and even construction emergencies.  Design also has a way of infiltrating your very existence, and it can be impossible to shut off your brain when you’re trying to solve a particularly complicated problem (often solved at 3am or in the shower as you turn your vision around and around in your head).  It is very hard, if not impossible, to only be an architect from 9-5 on weekdays. 


It becomes even more difficult when babies are added to that picture.  I was 14 years into my career before I had my son, who was born in 2020.  My world turned inside out because while my job / career had been my primary focus for over a decade, now I was hyper-focused on this tiny little babe who had me wrapped around his finger. His sister joined us in 2023, and they bring me more happiness than I ever expected. 

 

Even with the tremendous support of my spouse who is our stay-at-home parent, balancing my career with being a mom is tough.  I love what I do, but I’m also determined to always make my time at home count.  My kids are already growing up so fast and I don’t want to miss out on time with them.  A few things that help me:


Find your village

Your village may be family, friends, neighbors, or even a network of other parents online (there is both a Parents in Architecture and a Mothers in Architecture group on Facebook).  Figure out where you can go to vent or ask questions. Any time we’ve needed help, we’re always surprised at just how big that village can be. 



Establish and communicate priorities

Family always comes first, but there are days / weeks where I need to invest extra time into work to make things happen.  I try to clearly communicate with my family the times I might be busy.  Conversely, there are times that family priorities get posted to the calendar so that work knows that I am unavailable at those times.  

 

Delegate and outsource

It’s impossible to do everything.  Even with one parent at home, we find ourselves short on time to tackle everything. Being comfortable delegating work to a team member or outsourcing household or yard tasks is important.  My husband and I have always been hands-on DIYers, but now with kids, we recognize we can’t do it all and have hired help for portions of our to-do list. At work, finding or training a person you can easily delegate tasks to is important. 

 

Establish routines

Kids thrive on routines and while I’m the first to break routines on the weekends, we have a pretty good routine during the week.  I always get some snuggles in the morning before going to work, and unless there is a rare event, I’m home for bedtime routines. 


Make time at home count

While it’s tough to be active and engaged after a long day at the office, I try to cram a lot of fun things into our weekends.  I keep track of a lot of local events and playgroups so that we can have fun together.  If I need to work, I try to push it until after the kids have gone to bed. We have already made a lot of great weekend memories!


With architecture being a profession that changes based on clients, jobs, and even design stage, and with kids changing every week as they grow and develop, finding a sustainable balance is something I’m sure will be a continuous struggle, but having a career I love and a family I adore makes it all worth finding that balance. 

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