Friday, September 6, 2013

The Having It All Project: Danielle Barnsley-Cervo

I can't remember which session it was when I first met Danielle at BlogHer, but we kept bumping into each other at more sessions after that. Clearly, we had similar ideas on what we wanted to get out of the conference, and so I figured we could become friends. I had no idea what a tough, resilient woman she was until I got home and started reading more of her story. Danielle maintains two blogs, and I recommend you check them both out. Here's how Danielle is having it all. 

Briefly describe your life and what you think makes it unique.
I'm a work at home mom who has three children, one of whom was relinquished in a forced adoption when I was 18 years old. When I'm not wrangling the kids, I'm writing content for, maintaining my two personal blogs, and writing my novel. This is a new venture for me, as I used to work part time in customer service, and had been in that industry for years. This was an adventure that I was dedicated to taking, where I put my writing, and my dreams in the front seat with me, rather than in the trunk of the car, waiting for the right time. Now is always the right time. 

What are some of your favorite tips and strategies for coping with the chaos?
Make time for you. Always make sure that you are taking care of yourself because if you lose yourself, which I have in the past, it makes it hard to juggle all the different balls that come with motherhood, and career. It's easy to think that we can have it all, but it comes with sacrifice and hard work, and the realization that sometimes you won't get it all. 

Please share a moment where it all broke down, and how you got through it.
Last year, in June, I was in the middle of a personal crisis of sorts. I'd been dealing with a lot of stress at work, at home, and also dealing with my mental health through therapy but was avoiding medication. I was on a back country road, and I had a plan to end my life because I was so overwhelmed with all of the chaos that was surrounding me. It really felt like it was the only option. I spent hours watching the sunset, and planning what I would do. As I was doing this, my loved ones were frantically attempting to reach me. Do you know when you are so far gone from reality where it seems like everyone else is moving in slow motion and you are invisible to them? That's how I felt in that moment, like I could reasonably disappear and no one would notice, care or mourn. 

It was my best friend who got into the proverbial water with me, and told me that I had to be the one to make the changes. I had to be the one to pull myself out, that I could only get so much help from others before it was on me to take control of this life and make it mine. She talked me through the drive home, and has been a huge support for me on this journey of healing and getting better. 

It was a hard situation to comeback from. Realizing that there were still many demons in my life to overcome, knowing that I still couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and understanding that I did have more of a choice in managing the chaos than I originally thought. 

Do you have any balance role models? Anything you try to avoid because it wouldn't work for you?
I don't think I do, honestly. I learn from my own errors, and know what my limits are. I take one day at a time, one crisis at a time, and know that it's okay to say you are having a bad day. As well, knowing that the next day will bring new opportunities and new perspective. 

Think back to your 18th birthday. How is your life different from how you expected it to be then?
When I was 18, I was a much different girl, with much different goals. I'd like to think she'd be happy with the way I have lived my life, but I know that she'd have much sadness for the choices she'd made then, and the lifelong impact that they have on my life now. Where I thought I would be career wise, and the like is much different than where I am in actuality. I'm okay with the detour my life has taken and even though it's not what I imagined it's still pretty great. 

Note from Cheryl: If you're having a hard time, there are many resources to help you remember that you matter. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Relate to what Danielle is saying? Leave her some love in the comments. Read other posts from The Having It All Project here. Want to participate? Send me an email at


  1. Love Danielle so much! She's an inspiration :)

  2. Thanks so much for having me! Much love to you for doing this fabulous project!