Magazine article Working Mother

This Is How She Does It

Magazine article Working Mother

This Is How She Does It

Article excerpt

A vice president in private wealth management in the New York City office of Goldman Sachs, Jennifer manages assets for the global financial firm's individual and family clients, as well as for several foundations. "It's pretty fast-paced," she says. "You never look at the clock because your eyes are constantly on so many markets and portfolios. I'm always shocked when it's the end of the day."

When the end of the workday does arrive, it always seems there are more numbers to be evaluated. And a couple of hours after the final bell, usually by 6:00 p.m., Jennifer has hopped into a cab and is headed home to have dinner with her husband, Rick Lemer, and their two children, Jack, 4, and Annabelle, 1.

The demands of a job such as hers could easily become all-consuming, but both Jennifer and Rick, who's also a Goldman Sachs private wealth management vice president, have made protecting family time their first priority. "We're committed to having dinner at home at least four nights a week-every week," Jennifer says. "We sit around the table as a family, playing word games like This or That-where someone will call out two things like vanilla and chocolate, and we all yell out which is our favorite."

To make sure things run smoothly, Jennifer keeps her household as well hedged as her clients' portfolios. Their trusted babysitter arrives every day at 7:30 a.m. to take Jack to preschool and then play and read with Annabelle. Jennifer also calls upon her sister and mother-in-law, who both live within several blocks of the family's two-bedroom Upper East Side apartment. In fact, she pays her sister, a documentary filmmaker in her twenties who can use the extra money, to do activities with Jack. She also works with him on reading and other elementary skills. "I call her my 'co-parent,'" chuckles Jennifer. "She loves Jack as much as I do, and I get to see her more often as well." Recently, she also upped her housekeeper to two visits a week. "I felt like, 'Gosh, how can we afford this?'" she says. "So we cut back on takeout dinners. It's so worth it to have help. The dirty clothes pile up, and the house gets trashed pretty fast because we're all in a small space, and my husband's and my careers keep us so busy."

The babysitter usually leaves at dinnertime-unless Mom and Dad get hung up at the office-and the next few hours are all about the kids. They may have a bath, and then Jennifer and Rick will sit down and read to both childrenfavorite board books for Annabelle and classics like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Stuart Little for Jack. "Even if we're home a bit late, we do the stories," Jennifer says. "They're so important."

After the kids are asleep, Jennifer and Rick divide the housework and the bill paying. "He really does 50 percent," she says. And to save precious time, they do nearly all of their shopping on the Internet-even ordering Annabelle's diapers through an online grocery store. When chores are done for the night, they read together or talk politics-they met working on the Clinton transition team in 1993-before Jennifer turns in at about 10:00 p.m. "We never turn on the TV, because there's no time," she adds. "So when people at work chat about Desperate Housewives, I'm clueless!"

The family also circles its wagons on weekends, visiting the zoo or the park or the beach together (though Jennifer does check her BlackBerry several times to make sure there aren't client questions that require her immediate attention). She and her husband try to carve out some private or couple time, as well as ease stress and stay healthy, with earlymorning runs. …

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