Friday, May 3, 2013

Mother's Day Blog...How I balance family and career

BAY CITY, Mich.- As a mother and business owner, I am writing this blog with respect to all the mothers in today’s world to reveal my thoughts, feelings and how I balance family, work, health and fun. While I know we all lead different lifestyles and are at different points in our lives, I wanted to put this out there with the hope that I may be able to help someone in some way.
A short background I am a mother of 3 children ages 17, 15 and 10; two older boys and the youngest is a girl. I have been married for close to 20 years and have been in the workforce for 30 years, with 25 of them at the dealership. But to give you an example of the direction of my motivation, I didn’t spend a long time away from work even when my children were young. We have two biological sons and we adopted our daughter when she 10 months old. I was away from work the longest when we adopted our daughter, which was two weeks. With both boys I was back to work within a week and a half. Fortunately I am blessed with a very supportive family and a husband that helped with midnight feedings, sick babies and everything else that comes with a family of 5.

Clearly my philosophies aren't for everyone, however we all deal with very similar balance issues no matter what our parenting and work styles are. My workweek can range from 45 hours to 70 hours, and with a family of 5 our lives can get quite hectic at times, especially with the pressure on families today. At this point I feel I may lose some of you who are reading this that may have differing opinions. But as a mother of 3 children I am a firm believer in education, no matter what their personal skills are. Our children are not rewarded for getting A's and B's in the classroom, it is expected. All sports are secondary in our house, we encourage art, music, culture and work. And we believe leading a healthy life is very important so we teach our children how to eat right and exercise. Not to say sports are discouraged in our household, but our children must maintain A's and B's in the classroom if they would like to participate in a sport. Since we spend a lot of hours at work, Sundays are more about being home as a family. On Sundays we will spend time together both outside in the yard and to prepare dinner for the evening, as well as preparing foods for the week. Like I said, we stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle and teach our children about eating right and exercise. For us it’s all about being active and trying to exercise as a family when possible, for example riding bikes. We strongly discourage any fast foods and stress the fresher the better. And while no one is perfect, it’s all about balance.

Part of that balance involves all of the technology available in today’s world, which can be challenging for families. Like with the sports, technology use is not discouraged in our household as long as your behavior remains positive and your technology use is balanced with other activities like exercise, reading and spending time outdoors. And while cell phones have become second nature, we don't advocate cell phones for our children until absolutely necessary. Phones, computers, and technology are considered a privilege in our home, and are received by following the rules and completing chores. We even made an acronym that helps us follow house rules: RULES FOR PRIVILEGES.
-Expect nothing material-Silent when told
-Remember manners
-In tune to your surroundings
-Volunteer (don't wait to be asked)
-Initiate positive behavior-
-Everyone accepts responsibility for themselves-Give help when needed

-End arguing
-Show gratitude

To go along with household disciplines, we don't use certain words within our household like “hate”, “stupid”, “idiot”, or any other word that you can't come back from. I teach my children to avoid the names and terms that are acceptable in our world today. I carry these same teachings with my dealership team as well.

While we do work a lot, we spend a lot of time together as a family while also making an effort to give our children individual attention as well. We even have them join us when hosting an event, whether it is a for-profit or non- profit event. Volunteering is encouraged as well in an effort to teach them that that we are only as good as our community is and what we put into it. We want them to be able to make good decisions on their own and this starts at a very young age. My husbands teases me now though because our children are very good at convincing us of their point of view when it comes to their privileges.

My mom taught me that the main job of being a good mother is to teach our children how to be independent and be responsible for themselves, even in their young adult years. As you can imagine, this can be a very difficult way to raise a child since as a mother, your natural tendency is to be there for them and take care of everything. However I have learned that it will create a healthier and happier relationship with my children in the long run, especially when they are out on their own.
At this point in my life, it’s obvious that both career and family are extremely high priorities, but I try my best to keep a balance. Balance for me is feeling accomplished in both family and career. To balance everything I have discussed while trying to be the best person that I can be, no matter what I choose to do. Importantly, I try not to judge others as I am a firm believer in you don't know what someone else is going through unless you walk in their shoes. My belief is to carry and conduct yourself in a way that you want to be treated. Don't judge anyone but yourself and only judge yourself if it is productive. I also believe you can't fully love anyone else unless you love yourself unconditionally which is especially hard for women in today’s world. Again, none of us are perfect, but I try to work everyday to love myself the way I am and work hard at being the person I want to be. I use my experiences and the way people treat me to determine who I surround myself with since relationships are very important in life at every level.

Overall, I am extremely proud of all of our children for several different reasons. One common reason among all 3 of them is that they push to be the best at whatever they put their mind to. Our life is far from perfect and we are going through the same behavior issues as many families, so some of this is tough to write because I can't always follow the rules and disciplines that we have set in place, which makes me feel a bit hypocritical, however when I really reflect on the past 25 years of work, life and family our base set of beliefs have allowed us to create a very well bonded family of 5 that I hope will continue flourish for a lifetime! As they say, nothing comes without hard work. It is an ongoing challenge.

In closing I am a mother and wife that loves her husband, children and family very much. I am blessed to have a solid career that I continue to enjoy and grow in. I work daily to achieve a healthy balance, teaching our children that we are a family and that means we love, respect and live as a family that is accountable for our actions. We are here to be each other’s support no matter what, with the belief that we should treat others the way we want to be treated, being loving and respectful to each other.

Happy Mothers Day!

Lisa Rechsteiner
General Manager
Graff Chevrolet, Inc.

Graff Bay City is located at 3636 Wilder Road, Bay City, MI 48706. For more information on Graff Bay City, or for any questions call us at (989) 684-4411 or visit our website:

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