A Day in the Life: Erin Engelke
I have lived in Edmond since moving to Oklahoma in 1996 to attend college. And while I had bold plans to move back “home” to the Northwest (Idaho or Washington), I found that this community was right where I needed to be…to work and to raise my family. I guess I can say I’m an Okie now! I have a wonderful husband who is an assistant principal in Edmond Public Schools and three children: a 13-year-old son and 10-and-7-year-old daughters. Here’s a peek into a typical day in my life:
No matter what time my alarm goes off, I’m never ready for it! I love to sleep, but I also love starting my day with a burst of energy, which in my case means a hard four or five mile run first thing when I get up. I drink a protein shake while I get ready for work and then whip up an egg white omelet before rushing out the door.
I hop in my car (hopefully without dropping my omelet, gym bag, work bag, purse and HUGE cup of water in the process) and make the 30-minute commute to my office. I recently transitioned to a new job as Executive Director of Calm Waters, a gem of an organization in OKC that provides grief support to children and families who’ve experienced a loss due to death or divorce.
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
There’s no one day that’s just the same at work, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! I spend time in meetings with board members, review grants, visit with donors or do media interviews. I also serve on three boards which means I am constantly juggling those responsibilities on top of my work and home life! Usually around 4 p.m. each day, once my kids have arrived home with our nanny, I get a phone call from one of my daughters, wanting to know how my day is or if I can stop at the store to pick up more flour so they can bake me brownies. So sweet!
Working out is fun for me (call me crazy!) but I enjoy it and try to find at least 30 minutes at the end of most days to lift weights. I recently found a new gym next door to my office so I pop in before heading to Sam’s (for the second time in the week!) to pick up our online grocery order. When you have a family of five including a teenaged boy, there’s never enough food in the house!
I often feel like a pack horse when I get home between all the groceries and “stuff” I take with me to be fully prepared for the day. So when I walk in the door with my arms full, I am almost always knocked off my feet with an exuberant “Mom’s home!” and a rush of three kids, fighting to get to me first. No matter how stressful my day can be, their hugs and excitement put everything right back into perspective. They’re what matters the most.
I’m a planner and work hard to meal prep for lunches and dinners most days of the week. I use my Crockpot constantly. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the same one I got for our wedding 21 years ago and it’s still working great. We eat clean—lots of healthy vegetables, fruits and little processed foods. I’m no short order cook so our kids eat what I make. If I were to ask them what their favorite meal is that I cook, they would tell you either salmon and brown rice or my meatloaf.
After dinner is cleaned up, our family enjoys sitting on our patio and talking, playing with our adorable new member of the family (Max, the Labradoodle) or simply catching up on our day. Because we live on some land, we have lots of wide open space for a game of baseball or kite-flying! We also have chickens, which are entirely the kids’ responsibility, even though they don’t always love feeding them. That rooster can be mean!
Winding down the day is the hardest. Our kids find every possible excuse not to shower, put on their pajamas and get to bed so we try to start the hounding early. My oldest daughter is super responsible and enjoys helping me in the kitchen so we pack lunches together for the next day or bake those brownies she didn’t get to make earlier in the day.
All three kids finally head to bed! Each of them likes to be tucked in (even my 13-year-old son!) and we say prayers together. They beg me to tell them stories, either from my childhood or about my day.
I fold laundry, pack bags for the next day, catch up on a few more work to-do’s and then decompress by reading a good book or just playing on Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes I need to do something mindless!
Editor’s Note: Erin gave a TEDx Talk on work/life balance a few years ago. See the video here.