We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Whitson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Juggling a career and a family is difficult. Throw in a pandemic and it’s practically impossible. In fact, as I write this between meetings, I have a two year old napping nearby, a four year old in arms distance, and Scooby-Doo playing in the background. Early on the pandemic we were all in new territory. Our family of four went from spending more than 40 hours away from each other each week, to everyone under one roof 24/7. Our 1,800 square foot home started to feel like a pressure cooker knowing that someone might blow their top at any given moment. Almost a year later, things have mellowed and I can reflect on lessons learned. I’m the type of person who in the past probably took on too much. I thought, I’ll just do it because I know it will get done and get done right. It took being almost being buried to realize I needed to let things go. It’s all about prioritizing, just don’t let go of something you can’t get back – like time with your children or precious relationships. There are always things that can wait and it’s okay to ask for help. I’ve had to realize that things at work that I am meticulous about and spend too much time mulling over, may not be THAT important after all. I heard something during the pandemic that really resonated with me. We’re all juggling too many balls and at some point you are going to drop one. You just have to realize that not all balls are created equally. Some can survive the fall and bounce back. Some are fragile and will break. You just have to learn which ones are okay to let drop. This past year gave me so much more time with my kids at such fun ages. Even with all the added stress, it was a gift. I saw my daughter go from recognizing just a handful of images in her books to being able to point and verbalize just about everything a few short months later. Reading with her every day was a great way to take a break and tune into just her. I’ll even cherish the extra time with my dogs. My oldest dog just turned 14 and we know she won’t be with us much longer. I’m grateful to have been able to give her the extra love and rubs this past year. I also feel like the pandemic gave us all a little grace. My story isn’t unique. While I was praying that my kids wouldn’t wake up during a zoom call, it was likely someone on the other side was hoping for the same thing. And 99% of the time a kid cameo on yet another zoom meeting was a welcomed treat. I feel like we spent more time asking friends and coworkers how they were doing, and self-care became a buzzword for good reason.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I fell into working for nonprofits early on. My first ‘real-job’ post college was in fundraising and I was hooked. It was all about connecting with people to improve communities. Every job I’ve had since has been in nonprofit. I love that at the end of the day I’m making a positive impact on people.
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?
Well, obviously the Katy Trail is a must… and so is the Katy Trail Ice House. We’re big fans of the Dallas Arboretum. The hill over looking White Rock Lake is the perfect spot for a picnic. When it’s time to ditch the kids and have an adult night we are usually taking in some live music at The Granada, Deep Ellum Art Company, or The Kessler. I’m a Fort Worth girl so Joe T. Garcia’s will always be my favorite patio in the metroplex… maybe even the planet. We also try to get out to the country as often as we can, about once a month. Being outdoors and seeing the stars is a great way to reset your brain and rid your anxiety.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband! He’s really hands on with the kids and has picked up just about all of the grocery shopping and cooking this past year. I absolutely love to cook – and to be honest I do a much better job in the kitchen – but it’s been a huge help to have that time to spend elsewhere.