Once a year, parents like to bring their children to work with them to give them a taste of the work world. But some parents live where they work, making virtually every day “Bring Your Child to Work Day.”
Eastern serves as the permanent home for resident directors Theresa Noye, Heidi Birtwistle and their families.
If you think it is a challenge to be a student on campus, try being a parent. Both women are married and have two children. Noye has a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter, while Birtwistle, whose husband, Mark, coaches the women’s volleyball and golf teams, has a 14-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.
Raising children on campus is not always the easiest thing to do.
“Sometimes it is hard to live in a ‘fish bowl,’ but I think it is positive for the most part,” Birtwistle said.
In dealing with the pressures of work and family, both women make sure to set boundaries for their personal and professional lives and make it abundantly clear that family takes precedence over all else.
Noye gave an example illustrating that if one of her resident assistants needs to speak with her while she has to get things for her family, she will bring the RA along with her if necessary. She likes to call it “integrating things.”
While Birtwistle agrees that being an RD and a parent is a “balancing act,” both she and Noye feel that it is beneficial to live on campus. There is a great support system among the RDs and RAs.
“I have found my fellow RDs and my RAs to be wonderful supports and a source of encouragement,” Birtwistle said.
Living on campus can be a hard task for a mother, but Birtwistle and Noye are never in need of a babysitter or yard space. Noye, who is very busy with matters ranging from her normal job as an RD to being director of the Chapel Worship Team, often finds a lot on her plate. She described the many babysitters as a “big benefit.”
Not living in a normal home would seem taxing for some families, but these families enjoy every moment of it.
While the Fall Festival was taking place during homecoming weekend, Noye’s daughter was in the middle of a play date when her friend said, “This is the best, biggest back yard party!”
Even though the living arrangement may be awkward at times, these special families make it work almost seamlessly.
As of now, they do not feel that their professional lives are a burden on their families’ lives or vice versa, and as long as it continues that way they will be glad to live on campus.
“Eastern is a wonderful place for my kids to grow up,” Birtwistle said.