Ticket to Ride
by Michael Belfiore
It’s 7:00 a.m., Monday morning, and I’ve just finished my yoga
practice. Right on cue, the baby calls out. Time to get her up. Time to
get Mamma out of bed too. This week, as I did last week, I’m helping
Wendy get to the office early while I prep the kids for the day. She’s
leaving on a two-week trip to India on Friday, and there’s no time to
lose in getting her ready to go, including finishing work obligations.
Next month I’ll take off on a meditation retreat for a week and a half,
and our roles will be reversed.
It’s all part of our project to live for our dreams in 2011, which is
in turn a natural extension of our commitment to share equally in
the trials and joys of family life. Wendy and I started our lives
together sharing everything, and after the kids came along, we saw no
reason to change. Call it greed. I want to experience parenthood as
fully as she does. And we both want fulfilling, rewarding careers. In
short, we want it all.
We’re both writers, setting our own schedules. Some of our work is
interchangeable, making it easy to switch off on each other’s jobs and
provide each other’s childcare. We do have some babysitting help,
lately some eight hours a week for our two-year-old. One of us meets
our kindergartener at the bus after school, and we switch off work and
childcare according to our deadlines on any given day. All of our
checks get made out to both of us, so that the one who happens to be on
child duty gets paid the same as the one in the office.
Our lives together are a work in progress as we continually seek
balance and the optimal way of getting it all done. But we’ve learned a
few principles that help us on this winding path.
Everything Is Temporary
Kids grow and gain skills, work obligations wax and wane, and our goals
and dreams change over time. What has remained constant is our love for
each other and our children. It helps a lot to keep this in mind when
we hit the inevitable rough spots, whether it’s a hard day or a long
dry spell in our work.
Counting to Ten Is for Grownups
Small challenges often seem huge until you step back from them. When I
can remember to breathe through tense moments (“I’m
huuuuuuunnnnnngrreeeeee!”) they often resolve themselves without a lot
of needless anguish (see above).
Work Can Always Be Done More
Working more quickly gives us more time to spend with each other and on
our individual pursuits (see below). Simply working in our own office
rather than someone else’s cuts our work time in half. Evolving work
methods and technologies continue to pare down the time we spend at our
Taking Time Out for Fun Is
It’s easier to stay motivated to work hard, whether at home or at the
office, when we prioritize fun. Each weekend we try to build in time
for family fun as well as time for us parents to have our own fun.
Lately I’ve been learning to fly a flight simulator in preparation for
actual flight lessons. And our big live-for-our-dreams project has us
You can follow along with our adventures at our blog, Party of 4.
©Copyright 2011 Marc and Amy