Like most mornings, it's hectic at the Vose household. Everyone is up and getting ready for another day of school and work. Packing lunches, making sure homework is in the backpack, uniforms in the duffle bag, feeding the pets, answering rapid fire meaning-of-life questions from an eleven year old, and handing out 10 dollar bills like an ATM. It looks and feels like a typical Wednesday morning for wife and mother-times-three, Heather. Probably many of you can relate as you balance being a wife/mother with working and volunteering. It's an around the clock job with very little free time!
With the holidays around the corner, time is even more precious. Addressing Christmas cards, attending school fundraising meetings, and driving kids back and forth to practices, it's hard to find time to get it all done. It seems like time is slipping away. But this particular Wednesday, Heather has taken the day "off" for the annual family shopping trip. For the last twenty years, the women of her family (up to 15 of them), mostly hailing from Cutler, have set aside one day during December to venture to the big city of Ellsworth or Bangor to spend time together and maybe get a little shopping done. "This annual trip is a priority for the women of my family. It's a time to enjoy each other's company, share what's going on in our lives, and stay connected in a hectic world. We laugh until we cry. We disagree on where to eat. But in the end, we are grateful for the time spent together. It doesn't happen often enough."
Like most part time employees, a paid day off is a luxury. Heather has worked for Machias Savings Bank in one capacity or another for the past twenty seven years. As a part time employee, Heather is using eight hours of her allotted family flex time to make the annual trip even more enjoyable.
Danielle Caricofe, Senior Vice President of Human Resources explains, "All employees are given 16 hours of family flex time each year to spend time with family. This looks different for each employee. It may mean time off to take your pet to the vet, an elderly parent to their appointments, or a day hike with kids. Employees can use the time in two hour increments or all at once. Family Flex time is over and above the accrued vacation hours." Family flex time is just one component of the bank's Family First Philosophy. "We maintain a flexible work environment where employees are encouraged to have a healthy work/life balance," offers Danielle.
In this crazy hectic word with technology at our fingertips, some family traditions are starting to go by the wayside. Not in Heather's family and hopefully not in yours. "I look forward to the day that my daughter is old enough to accompany me, my mom, aunts and cousins on our annual family shopping trip. It will be a day she remembers for the rest of her life," states Heather.