We had the good fortune of connecting with Bethany Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bethany, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
With two young children, work life balance is essential. Both my partner and I are committed to our full-time, outside-the-home careers, but we also want to be as present in our children’s lives as possible. It’s a tricky combination. When we were first married, we were able to both be “full steam ahead” with our jobs — working late, attending all the networking events, volunteering for extra projects, etc. We both enjoyed our jobs, so these opportunities were more exciting than they were “work.” We went from zero children to two children in less than one year (adopted one and birthed one), and things inevitably changed. The “life” part of “work life balance” now has a lot more variables. We are definitely still learning as we go, but I can pinpoint several factors that contribute to our being successful (or at least functional…most days!). First, both my partner and I have relatively flexible jobs. Therefore, it isn’t always on one person to take care of life responsibilities that take place during traditional work hours (such as kids’ doctor’s appointments). At the beginning of each week, we discuss the upcoming calendar and who will take care of what. We certainly can’t attend as many evening events as we used to, but we try to prioritize some (Happy Hours can be as impactful to your career as an official report or project!). Secondly, we enrolled our children in really high-quality child care during the day. This is a privilege that not everyone has due to the cost and availability of child care, and we do not take it for granted. Being comfortable and confident in who is spending time with my children while I am at work allows me to focus on my job and not be constantly concerned about the experiences they are having. Work life balance for me is only possible when I can be fully engaged in my job while I’m there, and then fully present with my family when I am with them (no work calls or emails from the time we pick the kids up to when they are in bed). This isn’t a reality every day, but it’s always the goal.

What should our readers know about your business?
I currently work as the Director of the Early Learning Alliance (ELA) in Tarrant County. ELA brings together child-serving organizations, philanthropic leaders, public officials, educators, researchers, parents, and caregivers to support Tarrant County families. Leveraging data and community connections, ELA works to understand the needs of local families and children from before birth through age five. We collaborate to address roadblocks in child development and advocate for better early learning systems. I am honored to lead an organization committed to the success of all children and families.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I spend most of my time in the western part of the metroplex. The Fort Worth Zoo is AMAZING! My family has season passes, so we can take our kids often and leave whenever anyone is tired. During the summer, the zoo opens an hour early, so we are often waiting at the gates as they open in an attempt to beat the heat! We have taken visiting friends without children to the zoo — adults love it, too! We often stop at Rodeo Goat afterward for some burgers (the best in the area, in my opinion).

By the way, I am currently typing this at a brand new coffee shop in Arlington called Nehemiah Coffee Co. It is really great and will definitely be one of my new go-to’s! My favorite coffee shops in Fort Worth are Race Street Coffee and Casa Azul Coffee. I’ve spent many WFH hours at each!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout most definitely goes to my spouse. One of the things that initially attracted us to one another was our mutual passion for our respective fields of study/work. We both had dreams of earning doctorate degrees and being lifelong learners, in addition to workers. After we were married and had children, it became apparent that we couldn’t both simultaneously go back to school and/or have nontraditional jobs. Without hesitation, he told me to chase my dreams and let him know how he could best support them. I would not currently be working on my Ph.D. or in a job that doesn’t offer benefits without his selfless choice to provide stability and predictability for our family. I love you, Ryan!

Website: www.earlylearningntx.org

Instagram: @earlylearningtx

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/early-learning-alliance/

Twitter: @earlylearningtx

Facebook: @EarlyLearningNTX

Other: Email: bethany.edwards@earlylearningntx.org

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.