I am excited to introduce a working mom who proves that you can have it all! She is an accountant at the second largest wholesale insurance company in the world, she has two beautiful daughters and an infectious laugh that can be heard for miles! She and her family are part of a growing trend – the stay-at-home-dad trend. I always wondered how it worked being a full-time working mom with a spouse that stays at home, so I asked her to stop by and visit with the Smarty Moms. Gina proves that it can all add up (get it – add up, she’s an accountant)! Meet Gina Wells, a number crunching, iPhone loving woman I am proud to call a colleague.
Married to: Eric for 8 years
Mom of 2 Girls: Samantha and Allison
Years in Charlotte: 13 years
Alma Mater: Florida State (Go Noles!!)
Smarty ‘hood: South Charlotte
Tell us about your family’s decision to have a stay-at-home dad?
About three years ago my husband’s company was going through a restructuring and he lost his job. The market was so bad that he wasn’t able to find another job. So the stay-at-home dad thing really just happened on its own. After a few months of job searching Eric realized that the best job for him was being a full-time parent.
What is the best part about having a stay-at-home-husband?
I’m probably supposed to say something about how nice it is that our children have the opportunity to spend the majority of their time with a parent but, if I’m being honest….it’s so nice to be able to wake up, get myself ready for work and leave the house. After three years of the day care drop of scene I can really appreciate the ease of my mornings now!
What is the biggest challenge?
There are actually a lot of challenges. Men and women are just wired so differently! My biggest challenge was accepting that Eric wasn’t going to necessarily do things the way I would do them (gasp….can you imagine!!). I try not to focus on the fact that Allison wore snow boots to circle time at the library in July, that the bun in Samantha’s hair for ballet class isn’t perfect, or that they are watching the Barney’s Christmas Star DVD when I get home from work one day in May (I mean, really, Christmas movies should be reserved for Christmastime, right??).
What do your kids thing about dad being at home?
They love it!! It’s their normal now and they couldn’t be happier!
Do people ever say insensitive things about your arrangement? Stay-at-home dads are more and more common these days, but it is still a new trend.
Most people really support the decision we’ve made and we haven’t had to deal with too many insensitive comments. There are a lot of situations that make my husband feel uncomfortable though. Some of them are small things, like at pre-school when the teacher calls out “OK, Moms you can come and get your kids.” Some of them are bigger issues, like Eric not being able to help with the dance recital because men aren’t allowed back stage. But, overall, we make it work. I think it would be great if more stay at home dad groups were formed for play dates and meet-ups at the park. It can be awkward at times when he’s the only man with a cackle of women!
What is one piece of advice you would give to a stressed out working mom?
It’s all about finding the right balance….which is so difficult. I try to focus on quality time and not quantity time. When I get home from work there may only be an hour or two left in the day until the kids are going to bed. I try to spend that time on the floor with them doing puzzles, watching the “shows” that they like to put on, talking to them about their day, etc… Even though it’s not a lot of time I try and make those few hours ALL about the kids. I also try and schedule one night a week to go out with friends, go shopping, or do something for myself.
Favorite lunch spot sans kids?
Kabob Grill….I’m a sucker for middle eastern food!
Favorite place to score kids clothes and shoes?
My sister’s house! I am very fortunate that my sister had girls just before I did so I get all of her hand-me-downs. Of course, I love the consignment sales too. It’s like a contest to see what I can find!
Favorite place to take the whole family to dinner?
I like hitting Blakeney in the early summer. We can eat on the patio of one of the many great restaurants there and the girls can plan on the playground or in the spraygrounds. And SAS is right across the street so that serves as wonderful bribery (i.e. “if you’re really good maybe we can stop and get a cupcake on the way home.”).
I went to see Horrible Bosses a few weeks ago and thought it was the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. I also came away from the theater with a slight (OK, maybe not so slight) crush on Jason Bateman!!
Best birthday party you’ve attended/hosted?
One of my favorite venues for kid’s birthday parties will always be My Gym. They do such a great job and it’s so easy. We’ve also had one at the Creative Playthings showroom. That was great because the kids got to play on all of the play sets and trampolines but we didn’t have to worry about weather since it was indoors. It was a great option for a party with kids of varying ages. My all time favorite, though, was Allison’s second birthday. We had a Lollipop party at our house. It was lollipop everything…I made the invitations and cake in the shape of lollipops, had lollipop decorations and made a “lollipop bar” for the kids to make their own goodie bags.
Favorite Smarty phone app?
I am an app junkie! I love Yelp, Shazam, Fandango, Tag Reader, AppZilla, I Heart Radio, I could go on and on… I like to ask people who have Smart Phones what their favorite app is. It’s an easy way to expand my app library without doing the research in the app store!
I could not live without my…
Gina is the best! She is one of the SMARTEST women I know. I am proud of her and all her accomplishments, especially her family.