Working Daughter Interview: Petrina Hollingsworth

PetrinaPetrina Hollingsworth juggles her job as a technical science editor, her role as a mother to two sons ages 8 and 12, and her responsibilities to her mother who moved to a senior living facility after the death of Petrina’s father.

She is a full-fledged member of the sandwich generation, telling me, “More than once, I would be hanging up the phone after having had a lengthy conversation with my mother’s doctor only to get another phone call from one of the boys’ schools.”

Where and when do you feel most competent? I feel most competent when I’m explaining things to my kids, especially the eight year old. My husband and I have always tried to answer their questions clearly, using simple words to convey complex concepts sometimes, however, I may over explain. It’s gotten to the point where my eight year old will say, “Okay, I got it,” just so I don’t continue on and on. Whenever my kids ask me questions, I get a thrill because they’re being critical thinkers. It also keeps my brain agile.

With what do you struggle? I struggle with time management and procrastination. I also spend way too much time hanging out on the Internet late at night when the kids are in bed, my husband is on a business trip and the house is quiet. “Let me just check one more thing,” and then (sigh) it’s suddenly 3 hours later.

What one thing do you wish you had more time for? I wish I had more time to spend with my children doing spontaneous, silly things. What with working around taekwondo and scouting schedules, church commitments and other volunteer stuff, I wish I could have more unstructured play time for not only the kids but myself that doesn’t include electronics.

With what do you wish you had more help? I would love to have someone who could drive the kids and my mom around when I need to be two places at once and someone who can unload the dishwasher and do the grocery shopping.  I would love to have someone who could drive the kids and my mom around. Click To Tweet

Where do you find support? I have a wonderful support network of dear friends, some of whom will drop everything when I am in a bind, and many who I can talk to when I need to bounce stuff off or who will shoot the breeze when I need someone to reach out to.

What is your best habit? We have a no-electronics hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day for the entire family. When we first started this my husband and I had the more difficult time remembering and adhering to it. It’s a great time for us to have some quiet time, read or have conversations.

If you knew then, what you know now… When I was growing up, in college and even partway through graduate school, I was in awe of teachers and professors. I didn’t want to bother these busy professionals, so I didn’t take advantage of office hours or even engage them in a meaningful way. However, being married to a professor, I realize now just how much teachers love to talk to earnest students about their research and the things they teach. If I could go back in time, I would go and talk to every single one of my professors, not about what was on the test or in preparation for

What is your dream retirement? In a fun city with live theater, awesome restaurants and many bookstores.

What would you like to see employers do more of to help caregivers? Provide more flexibility for workers and value part-time workers as much as they do full-time.

What would you like to see medical professionals do more of to support caregivers? Provide more resources, such as suggesting respite care for caregivers, and let them know what types of services are out there for the elderly. Help caregivers and the elderly be better informed.

Who are your heroines? Julia Child, Jodie Foster, JK Rowling, all creative women.

What do you admire in/about other caregivers? Their capacity to give and be I am acompassionate and their ability to hold it all together. What I admire about other #caregivers: their ability to hold it all together. #workingdaughter Click To Tweet

What is your motto? I live to eat

What is your superpower? Appreciating people and giving hugs

Caregiving: a blessing or a burden? Both

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