Meet a parent you should know in Frederick County. Jennifer Gerlock is the vice president of marketing and communications at the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, and she serves as the executive director of Leadership Frederick County.
What’s the hardest part about juggling parenthood and your career?
Making hard choices about my time and priorities. “Balance” is almost a ridiculous concept. I’ve never met a mom who felt she was truly successful at it. I’ve personally left jobs that made prioritizing my children impossible. It sounds drastic—and at the time it was—but I’ve never regretted stepping into a new role or a new company in order to make my family work the way it should.
What makes trying to balance both easier?
I have a supportive husband and a sister with a strong work ethic who I trust and lean on for wisdom and assistance.
What do you love about being a parent?
I love watching my children experience life. There is something truly incredible about seeing life through their eyes and discovering new interests because of them. Also they have the sweetest hearts and truly care about other people. They make me a better person.
What’s your biggest parenting fail?
I could write a book! The one that comes to mind is not listening sooner to my youngest when he was expressing burnout due to sports. He had been involved in soccer leagues for many years and was constantly training and traveling as a result. He wanted some time off, but the rest of his team was pushing forward, and his father and I were worried he would fall behind in his skills. We should have listened to him.
How has your family been handling the pandemic?
Everyone has been really good about it despite the circumstances. We’ve actually experienced a lot of loss—family members, jobs and pay cuts. But I believe we’ve gotten stronger as a unit, and we continue to work very hard to support each other and keep a positive atmosphere at home.
What’s the one thing you hope your children learn from you and your career?
That they can accomplish anything! I also truly hope they learn the value of service. I’ve volunteered a lot over the years on boards, committees and the like. I hope they see that the value of their contribution to the world can be measured in more than money.
Family Meal: Steak! My boys are carnivores and they love steak. We joke that we need a second job just to pay for their food consumption.
Dessert: Vanilla cake or carrot cake is always a winner.
Book to read together: Harry Potter! The boys grew up on these books and we visited Universal Studios to see all of the theme parks in person. It has filled their childhood—and my adulthood—with magic.
Way to spend a weekend with your children: We like to play games and have experiences together. Whenever we can fit in a little getaway we go for it—usually road trips around the DMV area. Movie nights are also a favorite.
Vacation spot: We’ve loved our cruises to the Caribbean, but our bucket list vacation is definitely Hawaii.