Like most moms of young children, Lissette Guerra wishes she had a few precious moments more of sleep in the morning.
“The alarm goes off, and I’m the one delaying it every five minutes until I can get myself moving,” she says with a shy grin.
Once she’s up, she’s running.
Her day typically begins between 5:30 and 5:45 in the morning with a quick coffee and small breakfast after a snuggle session with her 6 month old son, James. Her daughter Isabella, 9, and partner, Clint McGovern, sleep in a bit longer before their day together begins.
Out the door an hour or so later, she makes the quick drive to the office she manages in Palm Bay for First Choice Orthopaedics and gets to work as Clinical Director and Physical Therapist. Most days, she is working with outpatient clients following surgical referrals, helping with low back or neck pain, sport injuries, gait, balance, and sometimes, even vertigo. On average, she sees 30-40 clients each week, filling time when she’s not with clients with administrative tasks, reporting and assisting other duties as needed.
This working mom is in good company among other moms who work. According to information from the Pew Research Center in 2019, seven in 10 moms with kids younger than 18 were in the labor force in 2015, up from 47% in 1975. And, as in this case, in 46% of households with both a mother and father, both parents are employed full time. Lissette’s partner is a full-time software engineer.
The clinic has been open about 18 months and has seen a steady increase of clientele during that time. Guerra is grateful for the flexibility of working so close to home and the ability to actively participate with each of her children’s lives.
During the week, she heads home to feed and play with her son during lunch when time allows. She is blessed, she said, to have the full-time help of her partner’s mother, Kathryn McGovern, with the baby Monday through Friday.
Later, after ending at the office around 4, she picks up Isabella from after-care and they spend the drive catching up on the day’s events. Once back home, Guerra heads straight to the bath for a quick shower – what she calls “me time” and what all moms can relate to: a few quiet moments to get centered and regroup. This ritual helps her shift from working mode to “mommy mode,” and for the next four hours, she shares and divide time with her family as a whole, and with her partner and each child, individually.
“We all try to sit together to eat dinner each night, and we work our schedule with prepared meals that Clint coordinates, or order take out when we need to,” she said.
After dinner, she prepares James for bed and then spends time with Isabella in conversation or quiet play time. By 9:30 most nights, both kids are tucked in and, except for waking up to feed James, the night is done. If she’s not too exhausted, Lissette makes time for evening devotionals or, maybe, a little reading. Then the house goes quiet with sleep and dreams and rest and recharging.
On the weekends, they shift time between activities for Isabella (soccer, roller skating, books, board games, and walking their Pomsky puppy) and family time together. Sometimes, Lissette admits, “we don’t schedule anything at all,” instead opting to stay home together and chill out, doing a whole lot of nothing, or spending time at the community pool.
Also on the weekends, Guerra’s parents chip in, offering to sit for the kids so that Lissette and Clint can have alone time together for a dinner, or maybe a movie, or even a laundry date.
“Everything follows a basic routine and it works for us,” she said. Quoting from a friend, she adds, “It’s beautifully chaotic,” and, “I wouldn’t change a thing about it.”