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Cover Story Ecole internationale de la PĂŠninsule college, I’m shocked at how quickly time goes, so I really cherish every moment. I quit a very fun high school head-coaching job as varsity boys basketball coach at Pinewood after 4 years because I just couldn’t sacrifice any more time with the family,â€? he said. The most challenging aspect is that there is physically an enormous amount of work to be done every day, he said. Lisa said it took a month to get the kids all settled in at school, as she had to attend every back-to-school night, she said. Also, there are eight totally different personalities under one roof, Jason said. Trying to attend to the needs of each takes some creativity and much thought. It’s tricky, he said. “We are just crazy about each child. Each one really has us wrapped around their finger. You’d think with shared genetics there would be more similarity, but they are completely different. We try to do lots of one-on-one time, doing overnight trips, even if it’s just to a local hotel. The kids love it, and there are always good memories. ... The most rewarding thing is just being together. My happiest times are when all eight of us are together — doing anything, no matter what it is,â€? he said. He and Lisa regularly touch base about each child, he added. “We try to spend a lot of time together early every morning just talking about the kids and how we can do better,â€? he said. The couple has learned to coordinate the work of child-rearing, with flexibility being one key. “My husband and I have learned to divide and conquer,â€? Lisa said. “Sometimes he takes the big ones, and I take the littles. Other times we may switch.â€? If Lisa attends the older daughter’s volleyball game, Jason may concentrate on the little ones, she said. “I think in both cases we both had parents who put family as their unquestioned No. 1 priority,â€? said Jason of his and Lisa’s parents. “There was never any doubt to us whether family or work came first. It was family,â€? he said. Jason’s brother Dave and sisterin-law Lillie Peery also live in town and have five children. The oldest is 7, and the youngest, August Steele, is 6 weeks old. Lillie described Dave and Jason as “incredible spouses. That is key to having a large family. You have to have a strong marriage,â€? she said. Dave will see when she needs something — a helping hand or space for herself — and he will see that she gets it, she said. On the recent Friday that Brady and Ben rambled through the sitting room with light sabers brandished, Lillie reflected on what she has learned from her brood. “I’m no longer under this false impression that I’m in control of anybody. I changed with each child,â€? she said. With the first child, who had an easy-going personality, she thought she had more authority than she did, she realizes now. “When more children came with different personalities, I realized that I didn’t really have control — just a small amount of influence but no control.

The children “have a certain amount of independence; you’re not necessarily all over them. But it’s not like I leave them to the wolves. There’s a certain amount of space that you naturally give them because there’s only so much energy,� she said. Lisa agreed. “People say, ‘How do you manage?’ Well, I don’t manage. I gave up on child No. 3 on having to always have the kitchen clean,� she said. Dave said there are challenges for

work; you have to put things in place at the office so there’s room for some of that, without leaving everything in a lurch. I truly believe that no professional accomplishment will compensate for, or justify, my failure at home,� he said. Dave said he feels that any family is in constant competition with an ever-growing list of opportunities worth pursuing: boards to be on, projects to undertake, various things anyone could justify taking part in. “So at some point you have to draw a boundary around your fam-

Ironically, Sally Kadifa’s toughest parenting challenges haven’t come from within the family but from the Palo Alto school community. ... The volunteer opportunities — and what is expected — are set up for parents of two kids. a father and husband in balancing work and family. “I wish I could say I’ve figured out the work/life balance issue. I constantly feel that if I excel in one area of my life, the inevitable my performance will be sub-par everywhere else. Then I think, well maybe I should get up earlier, or stay up later, or not watch a movie. But you’re human, and there’s obviously a limit to what each person can accomplish before completely burning out. “Being present with my kids requires the acceptance that things might slip through the cracks at

ily and make sure absolutely nothing encroaches. The moment you make an exception, it becomes very difficult to protect precious family time and relationships for things that are worthwhile, but not most important. Once you’ve given up territory, it’s hard to get it back,� he said. Lillie’s mother had 10 children in 13 years, and she remembered her mother didn’t have much time to focus on each child. Older kids helped with the younger kids, and she and her siblings understood that (continued on next page)

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Palo Alto Weekly 10.19.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the Oct. 19, 2012, edition of the Palo Alto Weekly.

Palo Alto Weekly 10.19.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the Oct. 19, 2012, edition of the Palo Alto Weekly.