How does she do it?: Michele Gilbert

Target buyer Michele Gilbert tells us about how she juggles her career and raising four-year-old twins.

Photo: Vanessa Heins

Name: Michele Gilbert
Age: 38
Marital status: Married to Tyrone Solomon for seven years.
Kids: Talia and Serena, 4

Shopping for a living may sound like a dream, but it’s actually a lot of hard work — especially when you’re scouting for the most hotly anticipated store openings in Canada.

On career
What’s your job status?
I’m a buyer for Target. It’s exciting. We’ve been counting down to our spring opening. I buy over-the-counter products like vitamins, diet and nutrition products.

What do you do for child care?
We have a babysitter who picks up the kids from the bus, but she’s only there ’til 6 p.m. and then it’s me and Ty.

On parenting
What’s your parenting philosophy?

A lot of positive reinforcement. I try to always point out the good things my kids are working on, how smart they are, how much they’re learning.

Do you face any challenges raising biracial kids?
People are always talking about their hair! Never in a bad way, but the girls say, “Mummy, you have straight hair; we want straight hair.” I always tell them, “Your hair is beautiful. You’re perfect the way you are.”

What’s the most unexpected thing you discovered only after you became a parent?
What busy really means. You have a whole new appreciation for multi-tasking.

How do you put your kids to bed at night?
I still need someone to teach us that. It usually involves some policing.

What is the one parenting tool or trick that you can’t do without?
Take all advice with a grain of salt.

What are some of the challenges of raising twins?
There’s a lot of “Me, too!” and “Why does she go first?” We have a rule: There is no first and second. We just do.

What’s the best part of having twins?
Experiencing the unique relationship between the girls. It’s amazing to see them play together — they have a built-in best friend. You see the two of them learning and practising together and helping each other out.

On relationships
What’s your secret to a happy relationship?
Try to be respectful. You get pushed to your limits when you work a lot and have two kids.

On food
What is your no-fail, go-to meal that everyone in your family will eat?
Chicken wings and French fries. I’m a vegetarian, so that makes it difficult, but I eat the fries and they like the wings. Everyone is happy.

How would you describe a typical dinner in your home?
The only word I can think of is mayhem.

On downtime
What is your favourite me-time activity?
Shopping. I’m a buyer in my professional life and my private life.

What’s your preferred way to exercise?
Does chasing kids count? And once a week I take a karate lesson. What do you do that makes your kids say, “You’re so much fun?” When Ty has to work late, we have a picnic. We’ll get dinner, eat on the floor, have girl talk, and then turn on the music and have a dance party.

A version of this article appeared in our April 2013 issue with the headline “Michele Gilbert,” p. 58.