My awesome, beautiful, and amazing son was born in October 2014.
The past two years have been amazing! I have no complaints, other than the fact that he’s a picky eater. However, for the most part, we’ve been pretty lucky, if I may say so. He doesn’t seem to have the famous boy-urge for bringing the house down, he’s kind and patient, he sleeps 10-12 hours a night (thank God!), and he’s happy and healthy.
Despite all the bliss, there is one thing I have struggled with since he was born: work.
First, I’m married to a Chef, which means he often works nights and weekends. Don’t get me wrong — I love my husband, and he helps a lot more than the vast majority of husbands, boyfriends, and fiancees out there. But it is still a struggle, and very tiring and time-consuming, when your family doesn’t have a normal work schedule, one that everyone is together at night around the dinner table or enjoying the weekends in each other’s company.
Second, before my son, I had all of the availability in the world. After my son, not so much. That’s OK. That’s how it’s supposed to be. However, I found it difficult to deal with the fact that I had to leave a few things behind (for a while, at least) and focus solely on translating.
My blog was left to the flies, my weekly e-mail with language tips to clients became a monthly thing, I fell behind on my reading, and I was tired all the time.
It’s bittersweet because, even though I know it had to be that way, I was sad about not having the time to do everything I did before. I love my job and have always enjoyed all sides of it, not just translating.
I guess my problem was that I wanted to have it all. All the time I could with my son and my husband, at least 8 hours a day for translations, and all the necessary extra time for doing all the other tasks: social media, blogging, accounting, courses, reading, etc.
So, the first year was about struggling with the idea that one simply cannot have it all. But, the second year, was about acceptance.
After a year of my son’s birth, I finally realized the obvious and moved on to accepting the new work format I had to implement into my life and the black belt time management skills I had to learn.
I say black belt because even though I know I was pretty good at it before having my son, his birth made me realize that there was a lot more to learn, develop, and implement.
With that in mind, I divided my days into time slots, accommodating the specific things I had to get done and at what times. I used my knowledge of Parkinson’s law to plan my days backward, building natural deadlines into my work (learn more about Parkinson’s law here). I learned to ask for and accept help, and I set priorities, which meant that, if I was going to fall behind a week with our laundry, so be it!
All that planning and organization allowed me to take control of my life, get my work done every day, plan for a week vacation in Brazil to visit my family (I live in Missouri, in the United States), plan time off to attend the ATA Conference, where I was also a speaker, and take a few courses throughout the year.
Now, 2016 is coming to an end, and I feel I learned my lesson and accomplished a lot this year.
My goal for 2017 is to reintroduce my marketing initiatives, such as social media posts, blogging, and language tip e-mails to my clients back into my workday. Stay tuned!
I look forward to the new year and all that it will teach me, and I look forward to many years of love, joy, bliss, unexpected events, plans falling through, other ones being developed, and lots of life lessons with my husband and our son!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
PS. The past two years also included moving internationally, from Brazil and back to the United States. Then, 9 months later, moving from Florida to Missouri. And then, 7 months later, moving from Wentzville, MO to St. Charles, MO. I’m done moving!
August 2017 update – and then, moving from St. Charles, MO, to Connecticut/Greater NYC Area.
Planning and organization, key points! Thank you for the tips and sharing your journey! Hope to take control of my life again!
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Thank you, Grazi, for your comment.
It’s definitely not something that we learn and then we’re done!
It’s a process and it’s continuing education, for sure. Life is always changing, which means that our planning and organization are always changing as well.
Olá Melissa!! Que bom tem boas notícias de você! Parabéns pelo bebe. Que Deus abençoe vocês!!!
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Um grande abraço para você.
Great article! I went through all this some years ago and now I have finally found the time to resume many extra activities related with my translation work. Anyway, most of us who love our professional always feel motivated to do more and more things and time is limited unfortunately. Good luck for 2017!!!
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That’s true, Maria Eugenia. Balance is key and we simply can’t do/have it all. Good luck to you too.