In between showing houses and writing contracts, local real estate agent Angela Akiyama chauffeurs her daughter to and from gymnastics, and cheers on her son, who plays left defensive tackle for the Bluffton High School Bobcats.
Akiyama does her best to plan her schedule around the activities of her children -- Yerko, 17, and Michelle, 11 -- but it can be difficult at times.
Conflict has arisen when both kids have something going on at the same time. Since she can't be in two places at once, Akiyama said her husband, Erick, goes to one event while she goes to the other. But thankfully those situations are few and far between.
Question. Other than attending games and competitions, how else are you involved with the kids' activities?
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Answer. I try to help as much as I can with the football team. We have a really good team of parents who try to raise as much money as they can for the kids. We do activities. Last year we had a garage sale. We sell discount cards. We do different activities to try to support and raise as much money as we can ... We used to get together and cook for them. They're very special kids so we try to spoil them a little bit because they deserve it. Every event that there is, I try to be there with them.
Q. Why do you get involved?
A. Because it's a way to teach your kids to be responsible. They are in these activities, and there's always help needed. And it's a way to show my kids that you have to be there. Whenever people need you, you have to be there for your family; you have to be there for your community and for whoever needs you.
Q. What do you enjoy about your kids' activities?
A. One of the main things is that, first of all, that they know that I am there to support them ... and I enjoy the fact that every day they're setting goals, that they're wanting to achieve something. And that's a lesson for life, that you are always doing your best ... to achieve something. I enjoy seeing my kids being that way, that they are trying to achieve something every day even though it's hard. Even for me sometimes it would be easier to not take my daughter to a game or a practice, but she wants to achieve something ... I don't know if she is going to achieve it or not, but as a parent my duty is to support whatever she wants to do. And if she can achieve it, why not?
Q. Do you have any advice for other moms? How do you balance work, activities and everything else?
A. It's very hard to balance, but there's always a way to do it. Maybe sometimes you have to give up some things -- you know, like weekends not doing anything, staying at home. Instead, you have to wake up early in the morning, take your kids to practice. It's not always easy, but it doesn't mean that it's impossible. Even if you tried to help with little things, it's not like you have to always be there, but try to do as much as you can. That counts. And that counts for them because they like to see you there. They like to see that you're involved and that you care.
Q. What is something you struggle with as a mom?
A. I struggle with the time. Sometimes time management. Sometimes I don't have time to do everything that I want to do.