LeapFrog is Mommy Tracked's exclusive site sponsor and we insisted that they let us interview one of their working moms.
Maureen Bunney is the Vice President of Educational Gaming for LeapFrog. Needless to say, working with modern, educational toys is a dream job for this mother of two children. Maureen describes her work as creative, innovative and strategic. She works over 40 hours a week from the Leapfrog offices in Emeryville, California. But her schedule is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. so that she can race home to spend the late afternoons hanging out with her kids, Sarah, age 9, and Blake, age 6.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The absolute best part of my job is creating new ways for kids to learn while having fun. I have been doing this type of work for 13 years and I absolutely love it. I am continually fascinated with the challenge of marrying learning with new technologies and gaming trends or new play patterns.
Would you work if you could afford to stay home? If so, why?
I would definitely work in some capacity. I love to create new products and experiences and I find the expression of that creativity critical to my happiness. I know I would not work as many hours as I do now. And, I’d schedule my time so that I could be with my kids even more than I do now but I would continue to work.
Of your female friends with children, what percentage work outside the home?
About 50% of my friends with children work outside the home.
It has often been said that the key to managing a busy household with twp full time working parents is good childcare. Describe your childcare set up.
We have a wonderful babysitter who is a loving part of our family. She is an enormous help. She's there for the times that my husband and I cannot be home. My husband and I do however, set up our hours so that one of us can be with them in the morning and one in the late afternoons.
How do you and your husband divide up the domestic duties?
I have a wonderful husband who respects my work and career and has always tried to support me in my choices. We share the household chores. Sometimes one of us carries more than the other but overall it balances out. And, we both try and let the little things go and not sweat it when the house is messy or things aren't perfect.
I leave early in the morning so my husband makes lunches, on the days that they don't have hot lunch, and drives them to school. I come home earlier from work than my husband so I pick them up when I can or meet them at home. I always do the homework with the kids in the late afternoons.
Do you travel a lot for work? Is it something you enjoy or try to avoid?
I do travel for work. I do try to avoid it though as I really don’t like to leave my family. If at all possible, I bring them with me.
Do you have a formal or informal support group of working moms that you rely upon for advice/support?
I don’t have an informal or formal support group. However, I do have older sisters who are working moms and they have been a great support system to me over the years. I have been lucky to have them in my life as examples of how to make things work, how to stop feeling guilty and find the balance.
In your workplace, do you feel comfortable talking to your supervisors about your kids and family life or do you try to keep those spheres of existence separate? If so, why?
I couldn’t work at a job if I didn’t feel that I could talk about my kids. At Leapfrog, I talk about my children all the time. All the parents share stories of their kids and family life.
What types of activities do your children participate in? Who takes the kids to these various events and how do you manage carpooling?
My children both play soccer so they have practice. My son also plays basketball and they both take dance class. So, three days a week they need to get to and from. Again, my au pair helps a lot. I also rely on friends in my community who have children in the same grade. We have a great community where people really help each other out. I am so grateful for that.
Do you have a date night with your spouse or partner? Do you find time to keep the romance going when you are juggling so much?
We do have date night on Friday nights although we don’t always go out. Some times we are too tired. But we try to stay connected by talking and sharing our common interests, modern art, history, politics, etc. We also love to hike and bike together.
What is your best tip for maintaining balance or at least some semblance of sanity?
When you are at work stay focused and get the job done. When you get home, get engaged and stay present.
What do you do when you feel totally overwhelmed?
Complain to my husband who tells me to go get a massage. I quickly take his advice. Also, slow down on the weekend and get extra sleep.
Do you feel that you have made professional sacrifices to be a more present parent? Or the reverse?
I think everyone makes sacrifices for their family. It’s impossible not to. I feel that I’ve made the right choices.
I don't feel that I have compromised my parenting in any calculating way. I needed to work thus I kept working and because I love what I do I advanced in my career.
Describe your worst working mom moment.
Forgetting that school got out early one day for conferences and having my son’s teacher call me to say he was waiting for a ride.
Do you ever take your kids to work? Do you think your kids are proud that you work? How do you know?
My kids have come to work many times over the years. They LOVE coming to Leapfrog. As you can image at a toy company there are lots of fun things to do. I know my kids are proud of what I do. They love to tell people about what I do and my daughter says she wants a job at Leapfrog when she grows. More specifically, she asks if I can give her my job when I’m done.
Describe a typical morning and evening at your house.
Morning, I say goodbye to the kids while they are still in bed. My husband makes them breakfast and takes them to school. Afternoons I either pick them up or meet them at home. We talk over the day's events and look over their homework. They each get started on their homework while I get dinner ready. Or, our au pair helps with dinner and I sit with them and look over their work. After dinner we finish any remaining homework and then read or play a short game before bed. My husband comes home after we’ve finished dinner and homework and helps put the kids to bed.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about balancing work and family?
Do the best you can. Make your choices and then do what you’ve decided to do well. And, that your children are happy when you are happy.
If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?
The power to see what my kids are doing when I am not with them.
Gamer moms, take note: if you enjoyed hearing from Leapfrog exec Maureen Bunney, don't miss our Working Mom interview with Activision game producer Nicole Willick !