Betsy Parrish, 30, is living her dream as a housewife in Albany.
“On the Job With...” is a regular feature of Sunday Inc. Today’s Q&A session conducted by Danny Carter is with Betsy Parrish, housewife.
Q. What was your first job?
A. Baby-sitting. Imagine that. I had a couple of families that were my “regulars.” I love seeing how the children have grown up, but I don’t like how old it makes me feel.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. Probably clothes. I know, I know...so shallow, so vain. I still like to spend money on clothes. My thoughts: some people collect stamps or cars, I collect clothes.
Q. How do you keep yourself motivated?
A. Watching my children grow and develop makes me love getting up in the morning. Seeing them learning and applying skill sets that I know I’ve worked with them on makes me want to continue to stay at home with them.
Q. Why did you choose to be a homemaker instead of going out in the traditional business world?
A. Ever since I was a young child, I always had the desire to be a homemaker. It was sort of a joke in my family--”Betsy, what do you want to be when you grow up?” “A housewife!” I did teach school right out of college — a year in Athens and four years in Birmingham. That was before children. When my husband, Alan, and I moved home to Albany, I worked for a bit at my father-in-law’s office, and then we decided to start a family. We both knew that I would stay at home then. Trust me, my husband knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up” before we married. He supports that fact and loves that I get to be home with our girls. I appreciate that he supports all of us.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. Well, of course, my own mother, as well as my grandmothers on both sides of the family. We recently lost my maternal grandmother, and I feel such a void — she offered wonderful wisdom, supported me with encouragement, and was such a Christian example for me and all of our family. She was a Proverbs 31 woman. What a legacy she instilled. My mother-in-law is also a great mentor — and no, she didn’t pay me to say that.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the recent recession?
A. That material things are not the key to happiness. And, things aren’t always as bad as people make them out to be. It’s all about perspective.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?
A. Whew, all these noise making toys. They drive me insane. Seriously, probably automated phone systems because here is the way those things work for me: I’ll make a phone call, to say, the cable company. I’ll do it when the girls are napping. By the time I can get a real, live person on the phone (which we all know is about 23 minutes into the call), the girls are stirring from their nap — whining, want milk, and a snack, and then I have to hang up the phone and not a darn thing gets accomplished. That’s the story of my life.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. Probably the diaper wipe warmer? Or I really like the video-screen baby monitors. Ah, motherhood.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. I love the bedtime routine with my children. I also love anytime that I get to snuggle up and read or just talk to either one of my girls. I wish more mothers realized how critical this is in child development. Having an education in early childhood education, along with a family full of educators — including my mother — taught me just how important it is to interact with your child. Especially in light of Christmas time, it matters not all the things we have given our children. It’s the time we spend with them that really is the best gift we can give them on so many levels.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. Last book I read? Ha! Probably “No, David” by David Shannon. It’s a children’s book, naturally. I don’t have a lot of time right now to read like I’d like to, but I do read my devotions and scriptures daily. And I love a good magazine. InStyle is one of my favorites, as well as Guideposts and Us Weekly.
Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?
A. Well, that just depends. This week it’s been anywhere from 1:45 a.m. to 7 a.m. That time is ever-changing on my alarm clocks — my girls! As for my morning routine? Get the girls, start the coffee, and snuggle in bed for a minute, then it’s up and dressed, eating breakfast, and getting busy with our day.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?
A. I really enjoy reading about celebrities as an escape from my world (see Us Weekly reference above), but I can’t say of any one famous that I’d like to meet as of now.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I love the Bible studies at my church. It’s nice to interact with other adults.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I think all the choices I’ve made, be them good or bad, were beneficial to me and my family in some way. There is usually something to be learned from any outcome, although clarity isn’t always immediate.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. Spending time with my children, and for right now, the flexibility that comes with my “job.”
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. Dirty diapers. And days when I have little adult interaction. I’m not complaining.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Childhood and Family Development in my Education studies at Georgia. And in my honest opinion, it needs to be offered to every student in high school. It should be mandatory. That’s a soap box I won’t get on, but let me say, it’s where our education system is failing our students. Everyone is not college material, but that doesn’t mean that he or she can’t be an excellent contributor to our society. When we know better, we can do better. And that’s one key to breaking the cycle of poverty in our country, in our city. Everyone could benefit knowing these skills.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. I would love to own my own business someday — something in a creative outlet.
Q. Finish this thought; “on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…
A. Will I ever retire? Does any mother — in the work force or not — ever retire from that job? Hopefully, however, I’ll be living on a beach when I’m still doing the motherhood thing at an older age.
Q. What is the one trait a strong homemaker cannot afford to be without?
A. Patience. Oh goodness, lots of patience.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. Unfortunately, my 2-year-old broke my crystal ball.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. The Wiggles, The Little People, and when the kids aren’t in the car (ha)— some mainstream country, pop, and hip hop. I like variety.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. What I would like to see is race relations improvement. Albany will never grow and change for the better if we can’t move past this.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. I really enjoyed a recent trip to Athens with my husband and brother-in law and sister-in-law. It was great because the Dawgs won and we were sans kids — a welcome respite.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. Many mothers that have a desire to stay at home can’t because of income and the cost of raising children.
And many mothers work because they want to. I know when my parents were growing up, which was an awfully long long time ago, many mothers stayed at home. Then, their generation went to work.
I think that there is a trend of more women staying at home now and working from home at the same time. It’s a nice balance. However, I believe that the most important aspect to anything one does is feeling that you are being fulfilled and doing what you feel led to do. For some, that’s being a mother while working away from home. For others, it’s being with their children at home. And for others, it doesn’t involve having children at all. No matter which avenue a woman chooses to take, one thing is for sure, motherhood is a job.