Our Day-to-Day Balance of Working, Parenting, and Playing

For the first ten-ish months of our trip, Brian and I split schedules so that we could both freelance part-time and hang out with Theo part-time.*  Most days looked like this:

7:00 am (ish) – Theo wakes us. We try to convince him that it is time to relax and snuggle, and he tries to convince us that it is time for breakfast. After 10 minutes or so, Theo wins.

8:00 am – Parent 1 watches Theo for the morning while Parent 2 works (or sometimes explores solo.)

12:30 pm – Lunch, often together and generally cooked by Parent 1.

1:30 pm – We put Theo down for his nap or quiet time.** Sometimes, he stays in his room! Parents work.

3:30 pm (ish) – Theo wakes up and Parent 2 watches him while Parent 1 works or explores.

7:00 pm – Dinner together, generally cooked by Parent 2.

7:45 pm (ish) – We put Theo down for sleep. Sometimes, he stays in his room! We work, play, or read until bed.

Activities with Theo vary pretty dramatically depending on where we are located, but include a healthy mix of playgrounds, play dough, drawing, cooking, beaches, chores, and getting lost in new cities.


While we’ve visited some beachy locations, generally our workplace is the more mundane desk, sofa, or kitchen table, with an occasional cafe thrown into the mix. (It’s hard working in the elements, as we’ve found already in Costa Rica. More about that in a later post.)IMG_0080

The above schedule was pretty standard for Sunday through Monday. Saturday has been our traditional “family day” where we hang out together and often go on adventures of various sorts. Saturday is also our Internet Sabbath, which we’ve observed for years, since our professional lives are so computer-oriented.

A challenge for me, both with this schedule and on this trip as a whole, is balancing working/parenting versus exploring. Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by the number of sites I’m not seeing: the castles left unexplored in Ireland, glaciers that I didn’t trek in Iceland, and the nifty museums not visited almost everywhere. And I worry that I’m probably not going to wish, on my death-bed, that I had spent more of my two-year-trip-around-the-world working.

And yet, as I remind myself (often), our goal on this trip isn’t to try to see all of the sites. (That would be exhausting, even if we weren’t working.) We’re traveling more slowly, more residentially, and with an extraverted toddler who rarely wants to sit still – all of which make it harder to do more lots of traditional sightseeings, but also give us fascinating peeks into the lives of the people who live where we stay. And, we definitely do manage have splashes of sightseeing. It’s sometimes just hard to determine the right balance.

* A week ago, we were joined by my sister Joanna who is going to be hanging out with us during the summer and nannying Theo during the weekdays. Hooray!

** A few weeks ago, Theo mostly abandoned naps. While he was perhaps ready for this step, we certainly weren’t.