It's very much in vogue to talk about "work-life balance." And if ever the question of that balance was most important – and difficult – it's when babies and kids enter the picture. This week we interviewed Mike Stommel, who seems to have figured this out pretty well, to tell us what worked for him and his family, what didn't, and how it's evolved over time. And as an added bonus, your hosts had a thinly veiled fight on-air about how it's working (or not) for them. What more could you ask for?!
"I try to follow routine. I think for us is about trying to find the balance between work life and spending quality time with the kids during the weekdays as well," says Mike Stommel, founder and principal of Lucky Break PR firm, a hard working dad. "I think that when they were newborns it was much easier. As they get older you have much more responsibility for their activities."
Mike says that after the age of 6 it's really important to keep a balance of trying to put the phone down, put the computer away and focus on "not-in-front-of-screen" activities, like cooking dinner, working with kids on homework or working on after school activities.
"My 10 year old is acutely aware of how much time I spend on my phone or my computer," he says. "I think that for the longest time she'd like to say that I didn't work, I just stared on my computer all day… and I'm like, 'honey that is work, I work for my computer.' so I think for her she's always asking why I'm always working and I feel like when I give her response it sometimes it's something like my parents would say. ('you like nice things don't you?!). I do feel a little bad, I think again It's finding balance and making sure that I take time off, I disconnect from electronics, I do dinner, I cook dinner pretty much every night, I sit down, do homework with them…"
Mike shares his hard work on finding the work-home balance. "Kids are taxing," he says, "it's difficult sometimes it's exhausting. It's also extremely rewarding. It's about finding a balance, it's about getting someone to watch your kids so you can go out and have drinks with friends and actually have adult time and balance out baby time. I think it's all about prioritizing and having that support system. Friends and family it's hugely important."
"If you are two parents and you are raising kids – get on the same page and never let the kids see you separated, especially as the kids get older. Especially it's about managing the kids and being consistent."
About Mike Stommel: Founder & Principal, Lucky Break Public Relations. Mike is a seasoned media professional with nearly two decades of experience leading high-impact PR campaigns for some of the nation's most established and respected brands. A coastal Virginia native, Mike grew up in a rural area with his parents and three sisters. Following his graduation from Virginia Tech, Mike moved to Los Angeles, California eventually meeting his now husband of 17 years. Mike enjoys a healthy balance of work and family life as a husband, father of two young children, and the founder of a thriving national communications firm. A frequent traveler for both work and leisure, Mike maintains an active lifestyle whether it is hitting his local CrossFit gym or supporting his children on the sidelines of weekend youth sports leagues, enjoying a family day at the beach or riding bikes around Los Angeles. Mike is an avid supporter of LGBTQ causes and is passionate advocate for LA's homeless youth.