June 15, 2022 at 5:39 p.m.

Alternating parenting

Alternating parenting
Alternating parenting

By Ben Sonnek- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

LaVois raise their family around work schedules

When both parents are working outside of the home, that usually means daycare is a family necessity. For Brent and Jody LaVoi of Sauk Centre, though, their jobs are during different times of the day, so someone is always home for the children – Brianna, 10, and Jackson, 8. Although the arrangement can present some scheduling difficulties, the LaVois make the most with the family time they have, especially as changing career circumstances allow for more of it.

“Kids come first, and whatever situation we have, it has to work for the kids,” Brent said. “We found a way that works pretty well for both of us. It’s not the cookie-cutter ideal situation, but it works.”

Brent grew up on a dairy farm in Mahnomen; after attending college in Crookston to study agriculture and dairy science, he moved to Albany in 2000 and started breeding cows. Jody grew up in Brandon, studying at the College of St. Scholastica before going to the University of North Carolina for pharmacy education. She met Brent when she returned to Minnesota in 2006.

“We just started dating,” Brent said. “Two years later, we were married, and the rest is history.”

While they were dating, Jody was working retail pharmacy in the Alexandria-Elbow Lake area; she and Brent both wanted to have children while maintaining their careers. They moved to Sauk Centre, a location that was an easy commute for their jobs – a commute that got easier for Jody when the person they bought their house from recommended an opening at the Coborn’s pharmacy in town, and Jody got the job.

The LaVois joyfully welcomed their two healthy children a couple of years apart. Each birth was its own life transition; when Jackson arrived, the LaVois were moving to a different Sauk Centre home, so Jody and Jackson stayed with family until the move had finished.

Sauk Centre is not close to either Brent or Jody’s extended families, so they could not easily call them to watch the kids. However, with Brent’s work occurring in the early morning and Jody’s in the mid-morning, there would almost always be someone at home.

“He gets up early and is gone at like 4 or 5 in the morning, so then I would deal with the mornings,” Jody said. “At Coborn’s, I would work until 8 (p.m.), so he would have them until 8. We’re always single-parenting.”

Before Jody started working at the CentraCare-Melrose Hospital pharmacy, there was more overlap between the parents’ workdays, so then they would have to get the help of daycare or some other means.

“There’ve been times that I’d have to come home in the middle of the day, pick them up and go back out to finish out the route, say, if daycare was closed or school got out early,” Brent said. “Jody’s in a job where she can’t leave, so I pick up the slack when needed.”

Nowadays, Jody’s workday with CentraCare-Melrose has her coming home earlier in the evening, so everyone can have a family meal where they talk and get caught up. Another thing that makes the LaVois’ parenting experience easier is cell phones.

“If I had a terrible morning with the kids and don’t know how to approach it later on, I’ll tell Brent what happened,” Jody said. “Oftentimes, I think one way and he thinks another way I never thought of; he brings a different perspective to how we can go about things.”

For the LaVois, weekends are a moving target; Jody works one out of every four weekends, and Brent works two out of three. The result is a lot of planning ahead for family or summer activities, seeing when events fit for everyone. When the stars align, though, the LaVois enjoy going to hotels and swimming at pools, water parks, camping and spending time with their extended families, especially in the summer.

The LaVois’ parenting payoff is the involvement they have in what kinds of people their children are becoming; Brianna is more reserved like her parents, but Jackson is the family’s outgoing personality.

“You want them to be good people,” Brent said. “You try to instill values and beliefs in them, and to see them carry it out, that’s the things I really get joy out of.”


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