Friday, July 5, 2013

Work/Life Balance Blog Hop, Hosted by Fresh Stitches and While She Naps

A rare double post today at Busy Since Birth, but I'm honored to join a blog hop hosted by Stacey of Fresh Stitches and my friend Abby of While She Naps, and to welcome their readers and those of the other blogging participants here.

I hope those of you visiting from elsewhere aren't immediately let down by the fact that I'm not a craft blogger. Unless you count killer landyard making skills from my summers at overnight camp, I don't have a crafty impulse in my body. But like the others in this blog hop, I'm trying to figure out how to balance work, life, and the extra business of blogging (though in a completely money-free way - I have yet to make a dime from anything blog-related). I'm actually fairly obsessed with the concept of "having it all" and all that goes with that - so much so that I run "The Having It All Project" here on my blog, with guest posts appearing each Friday. My personal belief is that while it may not be easy, we actually have a lot of "all" going on in our lives, if we just choose to see it that way. So each week I share a new perspective on the issue, and hopefully create a supportive environment where people can share what "all" means for them, and how they're achieving it.

So what about me? Well, as the sidebar says, I'm a married mother of two, living outside Boston and working full-time as a product analyst at an investment firm. I work in my office four days a week, commuting about an hour each way taking two trains that I catch about a quarter mile from my house. The fifth day of the week (actually Tuesdays) I work at home because of my daughter's schedule - a child care gap from about 12:45 to 3:45 pm each week due to school early release followed by religious school later in the day. The days I'm downtown, I work from 8-4 so that I can get home in time for pick up. For the last six months or so, I've been waking at 5:45 am and starting my day, and then get home with the kids around 5:45 pm. Then I'd begin what many refer to as "the second shift" of being a wife, mom and managing the house alongside my husband. Marc and I are fairly closely divided when it comes to childcare and domestic stuff, though all of that equality doesn't usually happen on the same day. Sometimes I work late, sometimes he goes to work early, some days there's laundry (me), some days there's yard work (him).

Just like many of you who may have home businesses, because it's still so easy to work from home, it can be hard for me to turn it off too. I work with a lot of international clients, and when they email me during the evenings (their mornings), it's often hard for me not to respond. I do spend too much time on my phone and computer, but I think I can put it aside too. I think. ;) But I'm very grateful for the accessibility that technology has brought us - I'm happy to work a bit more in the evenings because it also allows me to work from home that one day a week too.

I've learned that it's not finding the balance in each day that matters, because there can be some extreme days and weeks even, but the longer-term balance is most important. I love writing here, but as it's not my paying gig, it can get pushed to a lower priority than I'd like. But if it gets too low on the list, I realize how much I crave and need to write, so I have to elevate its priority in the list again, often at the expense of something else. The same thing is true with making time for friends. I *wish* I felt the same way about exercise. :)

My favorite resource on figuring out how to manage it all? It doesn't exist yet, but it's the book I've written here on the blog, in the Notes app on my iPhone, and in my memories of the last ten years spent in pregnancy and parenthood.  Maybe it'll exist in print some day, and I can send you the link to buy it on Amazon. But in the meantime, look to others for help. Find ways to connect to other people, in real life or online, who are going through something similar to your life, or something completely different even, and talk it out. Spending an hour or two over good conversation always seems to do wonders for me (sorry, but I'm not one to recommend yoga and meditation - I don't think I've ever been able to quiet my mind for more than a fleeting moment!).

So that's my life in a nutshell. What about you? If you'd like to explore the topic further, take a look at the Having It All Project page, and let me know if you'd like to have your story featured here too. Please check out the rest of the fabulous bloggers in the hop, and, for me, take a moment today to acknowledge all of the "all" you're having every day. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll be back.


  1. Cheryl,
    Love your thoughts on this! I empathize with you a lot in the "second shift" aspect, and the even-yet-uneven split of responsibilities with my husband. It is so true that that balance shifts from day to day and week to week depending on how crazy things are, but I agree that as long as things seem to even out in the end and we're okay with that, we've been successful.
    Great post!

  2. I admire the way you and Marc really divide the household and parenting duties. Marc cooks and takes on childcare duties, and that allows you to travel, for example. I think that's awesome.

  3. Abby, I think it's awesome too! I couldn't do a lot of the things I do without Marc's support. I feel very lucky to have found him.

  4. I am a big believer that balance is closely related to sharing of responsibilities. And then acknowledging that somethings make more sense for one person to do versus the other. The concept of "having it all" I think is much like "work/life balance", it is going to look very different to each person!

    Thanks for sharing along with us!