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That Life/Work Balance

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You know what makes my husband happy? College football season.

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He is eating, breathing, sleeping, dreaming college football right now.  All football, all the time.

 

We’re going to Miami for a few games and to, of course, tailgate our little hearts out at our annual Ultimate Tailgate.  We’ve upgraded a lot of our tailgate gear, and since everything just arrived in the mail, it’s been living in our dining room.

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…Plus a random ladder.  Because I still haven’t finished stenciling the bathroom.

 

So – our home kind of looks like a football bomb went off, which is driving me a little crazy, but it’s all in good fun.

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A few people have recently commented that they want to know how our work/parent schedule has worked out.  If you remember, we planned to flip-flop stay-at-home duties with Henry so we both could maintain their career.  Our plan was that Kristien would work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I’d work Monday and Friday, and we’d both play catch-up when possible on nights and weekends.  We have a very unusual situation in that we both own small businesses, so I hate to give blanket ‘advice’ on how to make it work because not many people are in our position (which, by the way, has both major perks – namely, flexibility – and serious drawbacks – it can be 24/7, we pay self-employment taxes and for our own health insurance, etc.).  This is less ‘advice’ and more like my own reflections on our experience…

 

I found the work-from-home/parent split to be extremely difficult… in fact, for me, it was pretty much impossible at the rate I initially tried to work. Having a job from home without childcare assistance is a killer – I don’t know WHY I thought it would be any different!  The upshot is that you have to wake up early to work, work through naps, and work after bedtime to somehow cobble together the hours, which is very draining, especially considering my maid and personal chef never show up to work.  Hmmm. Winking smile 

 

I felt like by trying to ‘do it all,’ I wasn’t doing anything very well.  I also felt like I wasn’t intelligently allocating my time and energy.  I became obsessed with time management for a while, and then I realize that time management wasn’t my real issue.  It was just that I was doing too much, period.  We decided that I would become the primary caregiver, which made me extremely happy and also freed up time for Kristien, who could ramp up his work without going insane.  We considered daycare so I could keep working at the same rate, but you have to look at the opportunity cost of those things – I could earn less money and keep Henry at home, or I could earn more and put him in daycare.  I have no qualms with daycare, but it wasn’t the choice that I wanted to make, and I feel reaaaally lucky that I had the budget flexibility to choose to take a pay cut.

 

We do still swap off parenting duties throughout the week, mostly so that I can get some work done. It’s not the neat Monday-Friday v. Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday splice that we imagined, but it is functional and effective.  It’s definitely not a 50-50 split, either, but that’s perfectly fine now that we’re doing it (although I know Kristien wishes he had more time at home…. but what parent doesn’t?).  We rarely get outside childcare help, but sometimes, I ask family to help out with Henry if I have a deadline and Kristien is at work – I’m so thankful for their help at those moments!  I still end up working a lot of early mornings, late evenings, and always on the weekend.

 

You read these stats about how women who take time off to raise their children seriously hurt their career options and earning potential… It’s scary.  Those facts may be true… but I try to remind myself two things.  First, you never know what the future holds. Maybe, in five years, I’ll be doing something totally different, and the time off wouldn’t matter.  Second, I can never get this time back with my beautiful son, and as I mentioned, I feel really blessed and lucky that I have this option at all.

 

The best part about our arrangement?  Kristien gets to spend so much time with Henry, which I know he really values.  He often goes into work at 11 or 12 and stays until 8 or 9 PM.  It sucks that he gets home late, but it also means that he gets to spend all morning with Henry – they both love that.

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There’s so much pressure on women, huh?  To ‘lean in’ and do it all.  I definitely feel that, too.  If I’m not careful, I can waste a lot of time worrying whether we’re doing it right – for Henry, for our careers, for our family’s future.  I try to remind myself that all that matters is we’re all stable, happy, and healthy.

 

Yesterday, I gave a talk to a group of state employees; my segment was called “Finding a Fresh Focus.”  It’s so easy to get sucked into the “What if?” thought process and second-guess yourself… When that happens, we worry away all the awesome parts of life!   These are the three things that I’ve personally been trying to refocus my thoughts on.  I find that the more positive, hopeful, and thankful my thoughts are, the happier I am.

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…Not all the things you want.  Things are pretty awesome if you slow down and savor each moment.

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Have you ever heard of the negativity bias?  People are more likely to remember – and get distracted by – negative experiences than positive ones because negative emotions are more powerful and require more attention than happy ones.  Kind of sad, right?  But when you’re aware of the negativity bias, you can intentionally refocus your energy on acknowledging positive things.  If you’ve got big dreams, identify how you can achieve your goals and, when things go awry, focus on how far you’ve come instead of what went wrong.  You’re more likely to stay on track if you can keep it positive.

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I read this little nugget of wisdom on a random website a few months ago, and it really stuck with me.  Give what you want to receive.  So simple, right?  Want friends? Be friendly. Want to live in a nicer, more accepting world?  Do volunteer work.  Want to be content?  Do things that make others smile.

 

I guess this is my roundabout way of saying…  Things don’t always work out exactly the way we envisioned, but that’s okay.  There are so many big (family!) and small (football!) things to make us happy.  Life is busy, and it can be stressful to successfully juggle it all, but as long as you focus on the things that really matter… it will all be okay.  More than okay, in fact!  Pretty damn awesome.

 

How do you achieve your own version of a life/work balance?

{ 61 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Rachel August 29, 2013, 1:34 pm

    I have struggled so much with being happy as a full-time employee instead of a stay-at-home mom. There are many times that I wish so badly I could be at home with him- even part time- but there are also moments that I know me working is what’s right for our family. It gives us the financial security we need, gives my son the ability to form relationships and learn social skills at day care, and makes me a much better mom when I am with him. I just wish that I could stop wishing that I could stay at home. I KNOW that this is the right plan for us, I just don’t FEEL it. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It’s hard not to feel jealous of you, but then you share how hard it can be some days and that reminds me that there’s no perfect plan for anyone.

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 29, 2013, 1:40 pm

      The perfect plan is winning the lottery! LOL still working on that one.

      Reply
      • Katie August 29, 2013, 1:58 pm

        I hope you kept the “wealthy tipping point” web address! I love this post, I’m glad things are coming together! Out of curiosity, do you still have family member(s) living with you?

        Reply
        • Caitlin August 29, 2013, 1:59 pm

          Nope!

          Reply
  • Sarah August 29, 2013, 1:58 pm

    I’m still working on that balance and I relate a lot to what Rachel said above. My son is 3 months old and I work full-time outside the home. It is what’s right for us but I still feel like I’m missing a lot. And when I get home, I am so tired from work and waking up at an ungodly hour. I live for the weekends and holidays! Thank you three day Labor day weekend coming up! I’m also struggling to find time (and energy) to fit in fitness and a social life. But I know it will come, I just have to be patient and make priorities and definitely not try to do TOO much.

    Reply
  • Kendra August 29, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Great tips to focus on! I appreciate how you said you are “lucky” to have the choices you’ve made. But there is no shame at all in telling the real truth here… You and Kristein worked your butts off to get to this place and there is no “luck” involved with that. It seems to me as business owners you have to be very driven and determined and consequently you are responsible for your own success. So yes, you are lucky to be able to make these choices for your family but you also worked hard to be able to do so. Good for you and what a great lesson to pass down to Henry!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 29, 2013, 2:03 pm

      Thank you for saying that.

      Reply
  • Ali August 29, 2013, 2:09 pm

    This post is extremely timely for me as I sit here on my lunch moment (hah). I took a new job last summer and have consistently found myself working 90 hour weeks for the last 14 months. I don’t have time for family or friends and while I don’t have a husband or children, I don’t have time to ever consider having a family as an option for me. I’m 31 and all of my friends are married and either just had a baby or are pregnant (not even joking) and are so happy. I’m not. I worked so, so hard via both education and working so many extra jobs to get to this point of having a house, car, and an amazing job and now I no longer want it. I want a family and a life. I’ve been really, really struggling with this lately and I haven’t made decisions yet but things definitely cannot stay where I currently am. I don’t have balance! And, well, I am devastated when my niece and nephews call me sobbing because they haven’t seen me in months. :( It’s nice to see how other people are managing it. I just need to get there too…someday.

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

      Awwww that is so tough. What a position to be in! What field are you in??

      Reply
      • Ali August 29, 2013, 2:17 pm

        That’s the tough part – I’m in educational outreach and I LOVE my field. I love making a difference in people’s lives so often but I don’t love (or even like) my life.

        Reply
        • Megan (The Lyons' Share) August 29, 2013, 3:32 pm

          Ali, hang in there! I completely relate to this. I don’t quite work 90 hours/ week (more like 75-80), but I travel 4 days/ week and, even though I enjoy the work, the lifestyle just isn’t working for me. I think it’s important (and a big step!) that we realize it, admit it isn’t working (which is hard!), and are even thinking about what we need to change to make it work. I love Caitlin’s points that you make adjustments based on what works for YOU, and you keep striving and changing until you find the right balance!

          Reply
          • Ali August 29, 2013, 4:40 pm

            Thank you, Megan, I really appreciate the advice and support! I have been starting to think about how I can change things in the immediate term to make it a little easier and then also about where I want to go in the future. I’m going to keep working at it! :)

    • Cassie August 29, 2013, 9:20 pm

      Do you want a husband and family because YOU want them right now, or because everyone you know has them right now, and you feel like you don’t fit in your circle unless your family unit resembles theirs?

      Most of my friends are in long-term relationships right now and have great careers (or are happy in grad school). I, on the other hand, have been single for 7 years, and work in a field with no job security (research, which depends on getting attached to funded projects). Sometimes I feel like total crap. Sometimes I hate that I’m single, and that my career isn’t where my friends’ are.

      I recently read something online that reminded me that I can’t measure myself against other people, even if those people are my close friends and are similar to me in many other ways. There is NO timeline that dictates where you need to be at any certain age. You make your own timeline. I wish I could find the URL to link you!

      Reply
      • Caitlin August 30, 2013, 7:37 am

        Great comment Cassie!

        Reply
      • Ali August 30, 2013, 10:21 am

        Thanks for your thoughts, but no. No, I want a family because I, personally, want a family. I watched everyone around me go through that faze where people were in a relationship so they wanted to be as well. I’ve always known what I wanted and gone for it 175%. I’ve only ever wanted a family (with adopted children as I cannot have children for medical reasons), it’s been my ultimate life goal since I was a kid (I was the five year old saying that I would adopt a kid one day, way before I knew about the medical issues). Seeing my friends being successful in this area only makes me realize how far away I am. I’ve focused on my education and career first thinking that I wanted to accomplish these things before I was “tied down” with a family and that someday soon I’d be established in my job (which I am) and then I’d start my family. My friends are awesome and include me and support me no matter what my station in life so I don’t feel left out or out of the circle (just when work doesn’t allow me to see them for months on end). I’m extremely lucky.

        Reply
  • Amanda August 29, 2013, 2:16 pm

    Caitlin,
    This post was so perfect for me to read today. I’m nearing 38 and we’re hoping to start our family soon. We have pressure though, for me to switch jobs (a job that was a necessity after losing my job last fall, but doesn’t seem to be a good fit). I don’t want to be the woman coming into a new job pregnant, or the one who ends up pregnant a few months in, but the clock is ticking! We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, don’t we? Thank you for sharing your thoughts–a reminder to embrace the awesomeness in our lives right now and learning to find balance!

    Reply
  • Tara August 29, 2013, 2:18 pm

    I figured out pretty fast after going back to work full-time after my first son was born that there was no perfect work/life balance. Of course, I always want more time with my kids. My hubby and I would both love an extra 10 hours of the day to just hang-out with our boys, however, we both work full-time so our time with our kids is limited. I’ve learned to be thankful for the times I do get with my kiddos and focus on the positive things that come with us working full-time. I love how every evening we make dinner together, play games, snuggle, etc. We dedicate our weekends to family time. When we are home we are 100% focused on them, because we know that time is precious. Plus I love where our kids go to daycare. They have friends, have built great social skills, and are exposed to lots different experiences. When I was on maternity leave with my second son, my first couldn’t wait to get back to daycare to see his friends. It makes it so much easier on us knowing that they like where they are at. It’s not a perfect balance, but it’s a good balance for us and that’s what matters the most. Finding what works for each family.

    Reply
  • Amanda K. August 29, 2013, 2:18 pm

    i quit my job when my son was born, and hoped to pick up a few freelance writing jobs to do during naptime. it all seemed so simple BEFORE i actually tried it. naptime isn’t always guaranteed, it isn’t long enough, and it’s hard to juggle the rest of the household tasks. now that i have two babies, i just turn down assignments because they just stress me out, and the money isn’t worth the stress.
    i’m thankful that i can stay home, and keep reminding myself that it’s a season.
    finding time to exercise, be social, and go to the grocery store create even more challenges!

    Reply
  • Emily @ The Good Era August 29, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Great post, Caitlin! I just posted on this the other day about how I chose a different education path to achieve a work-life balance and I am so glad that I did! Now a few years later I’m finally starting my masters while working full-time and juggling a husband, a house and a dog (and hopefully babies some day soonish).

    For me, finding the balance is about prioritizing and not stretching myself too thin too often! You need a break so you don’t go crazy. Also, I’m starting to realize that when truly pressed for time, it’s amazing where you can find it! A few months ago, I couldn’t get up early to go running to save my soul. Now knowing it’s my ONLY shot at a work out for the day, I can’t miss it. Funny how that works ;)

    Reply
  • shazza911 August 29, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Our family has made a lot of sacrifices to have one parent always available for the kids. It isn’t always easy, but it sure is nice to know that most of their influences come from one of us. This year they will both be in school so the husband can work a little more now (he made the biggest sacrifices)… but truly, you do what works for your situation. Some people don’t have the option, and kids in daycare turn out just fine too… truly… so many different ways to go about raising kids… Love your thoughts and perspective… thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  • Lauren @ The Highlands Life August 29, 2013, 2:46 pm

    I totally know how you feel. I was a crazy work horse before I delivered my baby 11 months ago. I’m a RN and would work 52-60 hours weekly. When I returned back to work when my babe was 14 weeks old, I started back just two 12 hour shifts a week and I’ve slowly dwindled from there to going to once a week starting in October. It’s just too hard to worry about logistics, not to mention missing out on certain things too. But I’m super thankful to have a husband who watches him when I work (he works all the other days) and my babe doesn’t have to go to daycare either. Thankful.

    Reply
  • Shannon August 29, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Love this post – love the honesty, love the positivity, and feeling inspired. Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply
  • Kelsey @ Ramblings of Change August 29, 2013, 3:04 pm

    My work/life/school balance starts up next week, and it will be interesting to see if my plan will end up working out. Right now, I’m going to be taking 20 credits to finish my final semester at my college. I will also be working two jobs; one about 20-24 hours per week, and the other, about 11 hours per week. It is going to be insane, and I’m hoping to feel like I still have a life through it all. I just started blogging, and LOVE it, but I’m even finding it tough right now between two jobs, so hopefully I’ll find my balance.
    I’m inspired to take a step back to see what truly matters and see if working one job will allow me to pay for my bills (rent, medical, car, etc.) but still allow me to put focus on school and just being happy. Lots of thoughts racing through my mind about it! Your thoughts just hit home today – its been a stressful week.

    Reply
  • Jessica August 29, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Loved this post! I had a baby in June and am headed back to work on Tuesday. I’m dealing with a lot of mixed emotions right now and am stressed about how my life including a baby and work will play out. It’s always good to hear how others handle this situation and is comforting to know I’m not alone!

    Reply
  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed August 29, 2013, 3:23 pm

    Oh my… I have NO idea what I’m going to do in a few years when I head into this situation. Being a woman in civil engineering, I think it would impact me negatively to take a few years off… but it would be so amazing to be home with my future little ones before they head to school. I guess I don’t have to figure it out quite yet, but I think you’re doing great! I have enough trouble balancing all of my activities right now (hence the post I just wrote about being completely overwhelmed!) and I can’t imagine adding a baby to the mix. You rock, don’t forget it :)

    Reply
  • Ali August 29, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! It was exactly what I needed to read. I’m also an acupuncturist that’s trying to open my first small practice and I have a 6 month old son. My husband works a full time job from our home for a company and we don’t have childcare at all. I’ve felt so stressed to “do it all” – be a wonderful stay-at-home mom and start a business from the ground up. There simply is not enough time in the day to do both well. I have started to re-evaluate my priorities, but it’s been hard. It’s difficult for women who want both, but you put this into perspective for me. I do want to spend as much time with my son as possible and I feel lucky to be able to do that. On the other hand, I went to school for a long time and worked hard to become an acupuncturist too. There’s a lot to think about, but right now I’m savoring the time with my son!

    Reply
  • Elyse August 29, 2013, 4:24 pm

    Love this post! I was just going to comment somewhere else asking you to write about how this all worked out, so your timing was perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Cgirl1 August 29, 2013, 4:41 pm

    Amen! Love this post. Thank you Caitlin :)

    Reply
  • Alisha August 29, 2013, 5:23 pm

    A lot of churches in Texas do “Mother/Parent’s Day Out”, they are usually 1-2 days a week w/ hours from 9-12 or 9-2. A lot have loose curriculum, snack, maybe naptime. Maybe when now or when Henry is a little older you could do 1 day a week, he could get some play time/socialization time and you could have some dedicated work hours.

    Reply
  • Lesley August 29, 2013, 5:39 pm

    I’ve heard a lot about “work life balance” over the years. Th best thing I’ve read yet is the fact that it is a myth. (Reference here: http://www.tlnt.com/2013/05/14/work-life-balance-its-a-myth-we-need-to-quit-worrying-about/)

    We put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve something that is frankly not possible – I could definitely not put 100% effort either work orlife and life and be satisfied – and if I try to balance it out 50/50 I’d be mediocre in both. I like the way the article phrases it as “work/life alignment” – because at times it’s about aligning the one that can’t be the most important at a moment in time with the one that has to be the most important.

    Reply
    • Cassie August 29, 2013, 9:26 pm

      Agree. I don’t have a spouse or kids, but I still don’t get to do every single thing I want to do. There are only so many hours in the day, only so much money I have, etc. I can’t go to a documentary screening tomorrow because I have a volunteer event I’ve been committed to for a month.

      It’s disappointing that people like to pretend that work/life balance is only an issue for parents or married folk. Not getting to do everything you want is not exclusive to any one group of people. It’s just life.

      Reply
      • Caitlin August 30, 2013, 7:37 am

        I didn’t say this is a problem exclusive to parenting. I wrote extensively about this same topic before I had children.

        Reply
  • Kim August 29, 2013, 6:31 pm

    great outlook! I can only imagine how hard it is to find balance with a little one in the picture. I have a couple of theories on life… not quite work/life balance, but more on perspective. First, I find that things happen in three’s; good luck or bad luck. I also find that for every up there is an equal down. Things might not happen right in a row like that, but basically I believe that life balances itself out to status quo. So, if I’m having a string of bad luck, something is bound to be around the corner to balance out all of the stuff that isn’t going the way I’d like.

    Reply
  • Nicole August 29, 2013, 6:57 pm

    I’m a work-at-home mom as well but part-time and it was much harder when my little girl was Henry’s age. Now that she’s 3 she’s in pre-school a couple of mornings a week and it is seriously the greatest. She loves to go and has her own set of friends and environment which is nice. But we still have a couple of days a week just the two of us. I’m glad that I stuck with my job because otherwise we couldn’t afford pre-school! It’s ever changing though we re-evaluate every 6 months or so how much I should work and my husband and daughter usually spend part of Sunday just the two of them. It’s amazing sometimes how parental roles have changed just in a couple of decades!

    Reply
  • Rebecca August 29, 2013, 7:02 pm

    I know a lady who was going to work from 4am until noon and then take her kid to some sports camp thing. Her husband works two hours away and leaves at 4, and she wanted to be at practice or whatever to watch, so she made work fit in around sports. I thought it was crazy, but that was what she said she was going to do. Have no idea how it actually worked out for her.
    When I was growing up, both my parents worked full-time so my sister and I went to daycare before and after school and all day in the summer until I was in 6th grade. I made lots of friends at daycare, and I still had time with my parents after they finished working and on weekends. Now that we’re older, we don’t need Mom and Dad around all the time (my sister’s away at college and I live at home for the moment), but it’s nice to have family time. This fall my parents are going to be home later two nights a week so I’m on my own for dinners, and I’ll be gone two other nights a week retaking a course I didn’t do very well in. (I guess that makes Fridays probably the only nights we’ll all be home for dinner???) I’m a little nervous about scheduling group project work and things when I’m commuting two or more hours one way (circumstances), but I’ll make it work. If I need to stay over a night because of schoolwork or weather, I’ve got friends and family in the area whose couches I’m sure I can sleep on! :)
    And as far as I know, after next week I’m jobless so the work part of the balance is iffy.

    Reply
  • Summer August 29, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Are you guys going to the Thursday night Miami game in CH?? Can’t wait!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 29, 2013, 7:28 pm

      Yes I am! We’ll be tailgating there.

      Reply
  • Vanessa August 29, 2013, 8:05 pm

    I’m still struggling with finding work/life balance.

    At the end of the day I am just so exhausted! We’re sharing a car so I take the bus to work and the extra long commute is draining. Once I get home, the hours just fly by and next thing I know, it’s time for bed- so I can wake up and do it all the next day.

    Reply
  • charity August 29, 2013, 8:52 pm

    We deffinitely do not have balance. I am the day time parent and my husband is the night time parent. He works 7 am to 330 pm and we have 15 minutes together and I work from 5pm until 1:30 am. He goes to bed usually around 10-11 and is up at 6 to get ready for work. I go to bed at 2 am and get up at 730-8am. We are both usually tired, and rarely see each other. We do have our days off together so we get to see each other (one reason I’m glad for winter coming is that we’ll have less weekend commitments) Our relationship is a bit strained because of it. BUT Alexander always has one of us around. He bonds with both of us. We don’t have the expense of child care (600$ pre month). We are saving for our first house so this is important. Saturday mornings are my mornings to sleep in. Hubby gets Sunday mornings. We will be doing this for atleast another year. We do cherish our time together more now because its so rare. I no longer work holidays to get extra $$ I prefer to spend time home with my family. My values have changed. Right now I’m happy with going to work and doing my job and coming home. I’m not striving for career advancement yet, maybe in the future. I like my job and love my family. It’s not perfect but it’s what’s working right now.

    Reply
  • Whitney @whitneydrew.com August 29, 2013, 9:04 pm

    I wish my husband and I had the flexibility like you guys do! I’m pregnant with our 1st and it kills me that I have to go back to work full time once the baby gets here. I’m the primary breadwinner and our household/income lifestyle wouldn’t survive if I stayed at home.

    Reply
  • Ashley m. [at] (never home)maker August 29, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Great post, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Heather August 30, 2013, 9:15 am

    Great post and I am glad you have found a balance that works for your family! I think people that are down on the saying or that think it is a myth need to realize you (and others that use the phrase) aren’t meaning that the balance needs to be 50/50. At least, I haven’t known anyone that meant that and it doesn’t mean that to me. I think the work/life balance is about finding a situation that works for you and your family, it is about finding your peace and joy. Those things are different for everyone.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth August 30, 2013, 9:58 am

    That’s awesome that your husband gets to stay at home until 11 or 12 each day! Can you use that time to work? I’m sure you’ve thought of that but it just jumped out at me. I think you said Henry naps his long nap starting at 10, so maybe that affects things…I don’t know. Other people’s schedules confuse me! I started staying at home in March with my three year old and one year old and it definitely changes all the time but it keeps me flexible and on my toes! Best of luck as you navigate the waters, you’re doing great!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 30, 2013, 1:05 pm

      Yes, I already use it to work!

      Reply
  • Ashley August 30, 2013, 10:47 am

    Thanks for this post! I was one of the people who requested this update, so I was glad to see it!
    One thing my husband & I have done is get a babysitter for 1 day/week. That way I have one full, uninterrupted day that I can do whatever I want. Generally I go to a coffee shop and work, but sometimes I’ll run errands that are difficult to do with babies, go to a doctor/dentist/hair appointment, or if its a rare day when my husband ends up being off work – instead of canceling the sitter we’ll have a little “day date.” We pretty much NEVER go out at night (like….once or twice in the past year. I’d like to change this, but it is what it is). Instead, we’ll have a whole day-date where we’ll go to lunch, go shopping, watch a movie, or even run some errands together sans babies.
    If you have the ability, I would highly recommend it. As much as I love parenting, it’s kind of incredible to have a set “breather” day where I can get tons done and have a bit of a “break.”

    Reply
  • kristin August 30, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Your “Finding a Fresh Focus” message resonates with me, and these are great words to live by. For the past 3.5 years, my husband and I have been trying to start a family. I came to a breaking point a year ago, after 2 years of disappointment and loss, that I realized that I have given 2 years of my life to this struggle. These were 2 years I won’t get back. So, I decided I wouldn’t let it control me anymore. I would focus on the good things in my life (there are so many), and continue to put hope in my dreams of having a family (in whatever form that may be), and to love on my friends and their children (because that is what I want for everyone)! The past year has not been easier– there have been more pain and loss, and no successful pregnancies. But, for me, refocusing has helped me to handle what life has given me. It has helped me to re-align my life balance (not so much work/life… more just life) . And in the end, we only get one life— so we need to figure out how to handle what we are handed so that we can enjoy what we do have.

    Thank you for your words, Caitlin :)

    Reply
  • Emily J August 30, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Awesome. Thanks, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Nikki August 30, 2013, 3:07 pm

    I go back and forth on whether I will continue to work when we have kids. The big question in our family isn’t “can we live on one salary” but “is it financially and parentally responsible to cut one income, incase something happens to the other spouse” (not divorce wise, but catastrophic event wise). When we have children, it’s awesome and incredibly lucky that we could survive on my husband’s salary, but if god-forbid anything happened to him, I need to be capable of sustaining the lifestyle and family by myself. As much as I (think I will) love to stay at home with my kids, I think the responsible choice as a care-giver is to maintain a second source of income.

    Reply
    • Sara September 1, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Given that you’re fortunate to have a husband who makes a lot of money, wouldn’t great life insurance and disability insurance be a better solution here? If you are working primarily to have an income in case anything catastrophic happens to him, solid insurance might be a better solution.

      Reply
  • Noelle August 30, 2013, 4:00 pm

    Great post! You said it exactly right, doing it all, really well, is hard, especially the first year when you’re still getting used to a major life change.

    Reply
  • Kristin August 30, 2013, 9:47 pm

    YES! THIS: “I became obsessed with time management for a while, and then I realize that time management wasn’t my real issue. It was just that I was doing too much, period. ” I so agree, 500%. I have really been thinking about this alot lately.

    Reply
  • Mary August 31, 2013, 9:38 am

    Excellent post! Glad you are still finding the time to blog with all your other responsibilities. Keep up the good work when you can!

    Reply
  • Linz @ Itz Linz August 31, 2013, 3:17 pm

    Our husbands are so the same! Last night we were at my grandma’s and my husband only came because he knew he would be able to turn on the Miami game! And for his birthday I have him a Miami tie!

    Reply
  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) August 31, 2013, 4:34 pm

    That chalk wall is so cool!! Fun!!

    Reply
  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 1, 2013, 9:12 am

    Work/life balance is something I used to really struggle with. I was working in music and had a full-time office job, a part-time job at a retailer to make a little extra income, and I was independently managing a band – all at the same time! I worked 24/7 and the only break I took was to sleep or workout. I don’t have kids so that wasn’t an issue but I was definitely overworking myself into the ground. Now my situation is a little different but as I’m working to get back into music again, I know this is something I’m going to have to be careful about. I’m at my best when I’m busy, but I don’t need to be so busy that I’m constantly exhausted!

    Reply
  • Diane T. Your Auntie. September 1, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Loved this blog ,particularly the “focus” part! Muuch needed and appreciated by me at this point.
    When are you publishing a book of Healthy tipping point recipe with thewonderful photos make even me want to cook.

    Reply
  • Lauren September 2, 2013, 9:33 am

    Hey Caitlin! I’ve been following your blog for quite a while, and you’ve been like a friend to me, in that strange way that internet blogs and websites can make you feel close to someone even if they are far away and you’ve never seen them. I’ve even emailed you a few times for personal questions/dilemmas and you are so wise and give great advice! I think your decision to spend as much time with Henry as possible is a great one. Not many people are as fortunate, and as a pre-k teacher myself, I know how hard it is for those parents who come to pick up their child and realize that their son or daughter shares more things/time with me than they do with Mom or Dad at home. You have a beautiful son. Statistics aside, work will always be there. It may not be the same kind of work, or work in the same capacity as before, but it will still be there. Treasure this time with Henry, because he will NOT be this age forever, and I’ve heard that it goes fast. Continue to enjoy your lovely life. All the best! And thank you for your blog, and letting us all in a little bit. :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 2, 2013, 11:12 am

      Thank you sweetie <3

      Reply
  • Blythe September 3, 2013, 3:10 pm

    I love that this is becoming a new normal for husbands to be so involved. I also feel so lucky at how our situation as turned out with our now 1-year-old. My husband and I decided that as the breadwinner I should return to work, and we were prepared for him to stay-at-home. But, when it came down to us talking with his husband/wife bosses, they offered to let him work from home doing graphic design (because he’s crazy talented). Even when life turned upside down in February when I lost my job, then I got another job in April but moved 6-1/2 hours away, his bosses STILL wanted to keep him and he became free lance. Sometimes I wish he did more housework on days, but then I tell myself to shut up because he works part-time, cares for Eleanor and deals with our psycho cats; and still is able to enjoy it and send me videos of her dancing to ‘Stayin’ Alive’.
    Long story short, I love hearing the perspective of the one who cut hours to spend with their child. And, like I tell him, when she goes to school he’ll have all the time in the world to build his business, but now babies don’t keep.

    P.S.- Totally stealing that chalk paint idea for his office because she love to draw.

    Reply
  • Jocelyn September 4, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Thank you for being so honest. That is true courage in my book. You were honest with yourself, what you wanted, and what your family needed. I think there is so much pressure these days to be a woman and figure out how to do it all, but frankly, I think it’s impossible to do it all well at the same time. I also think that when moms (and women in general) are truthful about the hard decisions and struggles that we face, we all become more empowered. Thank you!!

    Reply
  • Laura September 11, 2013, 9:32 pm

    Great post! I literally cried while reading it! I just had my first baby, just finished grad school (so I am staying at home right now), just bought a house, and I am experiencing unexpected, complicated, health issues stemming from my delivery. Great reminders on how to live more presently and mindfully!

    Reply

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