11 May Work/Life Balance
I am asked all the time how I do all the things that I do. I am a full time academic, active in the community, a runner, and manage to spend quality time with my boys (e.g., tonight is pizza and a movie night – and we always eat dinner together as a family). I am high energy, but I also know how to take some down time (this afternoon’s nap), and I try to be very efficient with my work time. On both the work and the home front, when I am engaged and passionate about something, nothing can stop me from doing what I want to do. This is something my husband learned early on. He is incredibly supportive, and has no problem taking care of the boys when I need to travel, or do work in the evenings (he has always been in charge of bedtime, since he doesn’t get home until dinner is on the table). We have a fairly even trade off on household duties, although I tend to do more shuttling of the boys because I have a more flexible work schedule. My husband and I are very much in sync, we enjoy taking long family vacations, which are sometimes related to my work, such as our 6-week trip to Europe 2 years ago, while I was conducting research, or pleasure, such as our 3 week trip through the southwest national parks last summer. This summer the boys will be joining me in DC where I will be for two months on a fellowship at the Wilson Center.
In the last few years, what has thrown a wrench in things are family issues, like the passing of my parents and my brother-in-law from kidney cancer. I am very close to my family, so these events weighed heavily on me, and I have had to think about ways to take care of myself during these difficult times. It is also important that I show my boys that I’m not always on top of things, and that I need to slow down. I have entered the phase of my life where I’m dealing with my children on the one hand, and ailing relatives on the other. This is going to be a challenging time going forward, and I will need to develop new strategies to maintain my balance. Running will always be part of that, but I’m learning that it’s not enough. Going forward, I will be relying on friends, family and when needed, professionals to help me through this thing called life. But the one constant will always be my boys 🙂