FAMILY: Balancing business and family Q & A

We hear from busy mom Karen Kobayashi about her work-life balance

UVic professor Karen Kobayashi and son Kaelan

Karen Kobayashi, sociology professor at the University of Victoria, strikes a careful balance between teaching, and family time with husband, Cary Hayashi, and their son, eight-year-old Kaelan.

Q How do you find time for “you” outside of being a “mom”?

A I have a wonderful group of close friends both on campus colleagues and off-campus “parent” friends, who I actively seek to spend time with throughout the week. Given our busy lives, we oftentimes find ourselves combining social time with physical activity. For example, I regularly meet a group of female colleagues for runs during the week.

Q What are you reading right now? What about with your son?

A I am wading through a stack of peer-reviewed journal articles on “emergent family formations” and “the timing of the transition to parenthood” in preparation for the revision and submission of two manuscripts. With my ever-curious third-grader, we are currently reading “fun stuff” like books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series with a recent smattering of historical books on World War I.

Q What is your favourite family activity to share together?

A Sitting down to share a meal with people we love. On weekends, we mine the Internet for interesting (and colourful) recipes, shop or forage for the necessary ingredients, and then “go wild” in the kitchen. Everyone has a role to play from prep chef to head chef to pastry/dessert chef.

Q The part of your day you look forward to the most?

A My son’s hockey, soccer, and kendo practices often prevent us from sitting down to an evening meal together during the week. Our family pre-bedtime ritual is “catch up” time. We do homework, have a snack, and talk about the events of our day before getting ready for a bath and bed. It is the perfect time to reconnect with each other after a busy day.