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YPN Blog: July 2018

Posted By Shawna Tillery, Greensboro Parks and Recreation, Thursday, July 12, 2018
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2018

Juggling Family, Work and Life

Hi! I am so excited to write a blog post to fellow young professionals about what I like to call the balancing act called life. Let’s be real; being a wife, full-time working mom of two children, and dog mom makes for a very full plate.

To give you a little background on myself in my current role in Parks and Recreation, I serve as the Planning and Project Development Manager for the City of Greensboro’s Parks and Recreation Department. I took on this role in November 2016 while I was seven months pregnant with my second child. It was a bold move, but I am so happy for the opportunity to enter the parks and recreation world. My professional background has been in community development and city planning, so parks and recreation is new to me. Being that my experience was not in parks and recreation, it has been so enriching  to get to be involved in planning from the parks and recreation realm and learn about all the cool equipment and techniques for improving the quality of life for community residents (and my kids) in a different way than I have done in the past. It has also been challenging to juggle family, work and life.

I am consistently in-between work projects, supervisory responsibilities, after-hours work commitments, kid activity scheduling, household duties, and making time for my husband and family. Over the past two years, I have tried hard to make the transition of managing both my professional life and my personal life the best I can. It has had its difficulties, but I am so glad to have the opportunity to provide insights into some tips I have used for both my professional and personal life.

For my professional life, here are a few tips that have made the juggling act easier for me.

1)      I spend Friday afternoons getting prepared for the next week’s work schedule. I still use a paper calendar as well as Outlook to keep together my schedules and to-do lists. There is just something about writing my to-do list that is therapeutic for me and of course crossing off anything on my to-do list!

2)      Delegating is necessary. By knowing the strengths of your staff or co-workers, it gives you the ability to know who will be able to accomplish certain tasks with ease. For me, having a new fully-staffed team has been so refreshing. This has allowed me to feel more rounded when focusing on project development and management.

3)      Leave your office. There are some days when I get so busy and haven’t taken the time to take a break. It’s necessary; do it. Refocus yourself to be more productive, even if it’s for 10 minutes.

For my personal life, this has been hard because being a wife and mom you always have some type of guilt. I have worked hard in the past year to devote time to myself in order for me to be the best wife and mom I can be. Here are a few tips that have been beneficial for me to try and juggle the balance.

1)      Scheduling is key for my personal life. My husband and I share a calendar and each Sunday we attempt to review what is ahead for the week. This team approach helps to divide and conquer the week.

2)      We get babysitters. As a mom, you are always carrying guilt, but I have worked hard to not feel guilty for taking time for myself and marriage. Everyone deserves to get out! I have started to revamp my babysitter list since a lot of mine graduated. It’s essential!

3)      Take some time each week for yourself. Even if it’s going to the grocery store alone, it’s necessary. Do it.  We have recently started a new routine in our house called “free pass” night.  My husband and I choose one night a week or every other week where we don’t pick up the kids after work and have a few hours of just personal time - so far, so good on this. I would definitely recommend trying it and figuring out a schedule that works for your house.

Juggling family, work and life is one of the hardest things to do as a working professional. If any of you out there are able to use some of my tips to help you, then please do it. For me, I have worked hard to figure out the formula that works best for my life. Keep plugging along until you are able to find a formula that makes you feel like you are not being spread in 50 directions! 

Meet the Author

Shawna currently serves as the Planning and Project Development Division Manager for the City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department. In this role, she manages the departmental efforts in the areas of strategic and long-range planning, Capital Improvement Program, Capital Life Cycle Plan, and recreational bond referendums with regards to open space, greenways, trails, parkland and facilities.

Shawna completed her undergraduate degree at the University of NC at Wilmington majoring in Political Science with minors in Spanish and International Affairs. Shawna moved to Greensboro a year after completing her undergraduate degree to complete a Masters in Public Affairs at the University of NC at Greensboro.

After graduate school, Shawna worked as a Redevelopment Assistant for the City of Greensboro for three years - working with homeless grants, redevelopment area projects, and staff for the Redevelopment Commission. After working in Greensboro, Shawna moved into the position of Community Development Administrator for seven years at the City of Burlington. In this role, she managed two federal grants, which included both housing programs and community development projects.

Shawna is an active member of the Junior League of Greensboro, having served in several leadership roles for the past seven years. She lives in Greensboro with her husband, two children, and furbaby.

Shawna can be contacted at or 336-373-7808

If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at or 919-832-5868.

Tags:  work-life balance  young professionals  ypn 

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