Parenting is one of the most challenging tasks that unsuspecting adults can take on, and when combined with work and other activities, the challenge can become even greater. Balancing work and parenting responsibilities was a lead motivator in the creation of Parenting, one of the University Staff Advisory Council’s affinity groups.

Kim Powell, the primary contact for the group and administrative assistant in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, said she was attracted to the group because of the listserv. She was having trouble getting her 14-month-old to sleep through the night, and a tip offered on the listserv helped.

“I attended the second meeting and was asked if I wanted to be the leader of the group,” Kim says. “I told them I’d give it a try.”

There are about 20 University employees who regularly receive emails with tips and advice on parenting and information about group meetings. The group meets noon–1 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month in the Think Tank of Tyler Haynes Commons. They meet for brown bag discussions and speakers.

“We keep it pretty informal and bring in speakers to discuss specific topics,” Kim says. “For example, we received a lot of great feedback on the speaker who talked about work/life balance.” Upcoming sessions will include “Ask a Pediatrician” and “Navigating the College Process.”

“We are trying to get the word out about the group in general,” Kim says,” but also to let people know that our group is not just for new parents or parents of young children—we cover topics relevant to parents of older children, too.”

Kim says members of the group benefit from the meetings, but the listserv has proved quite valuable for sharing information. The greatest benefit to her personally, she says, has been the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone and into a leadership role where she also learns from others.

“I’m a first-time mom—I want to know it all and want to know it all now,” she says. “Just to connect with others who are going through or have been through the same thing is quite enriching.”

The group is open to suggestions and help in organizing meetings, Kim says. To sign up for the Parenting listserv, visit http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/usac-parents-list. For more information about the group, contact Kim Powell at kpowell4@richmond.edu.