Conference Days & White Space

September 26, 2019

I was sooooo looking forward to a relaxing ‘white space’ evening in my hotel room last night. Probably with room service. Definitely with a sheet mask somewhere in the process. Nothing to do and no one to answer to.

But then airport delays happened (plane maintenance issues) and I ended up arriving at 10pm. I will say that airport delays are really much less of a big deal when you are traveling solo. I tried to just relax in the airport instead of my hotel room and while it wasn’t quiiiiiite the same, I did make the best of it. A glass of sauvignon blanc and some truffle fries (dinner of champions?) helped. I read an advance copy of Jennifer Petriglieri’s Couples that Work on the plane, and really enjoyed it. A more formal review to come, but I felt like the author’s method of systemically studying couples and identifying patterns allowed her to come to some deep and powerful conclusions about what makes two-career couples thrive throughout the lifespan. As you might imagine, she is an ideal guest for BoBW and we are planning on having her on the show!

As mentioned in the book — it is so hard to carve out white space in this phase of life, both as couples or as individuals. I try but then something else has to be shoved in (a dentist appointment, finishing up a work presentation, the kids’ flu shots, school conferences, a work event, etc). It’s full and it’s fun but I am just craving a day or two of just doing things on my own agenda, and I am missing that couples weekend that never came to fruition earlier in the summer! Thankfully, Josh and I arranged to have our nanny cover for an upcoming Friday & Saturday, and we are going to stay home and putter around and just hang out together. I am looking forward to it (and I even ended up bookending it with days off from work so that I can really REALLY have some white space. Assuming nothing messes it up . . .).

Okay, now time for CONFERENCE MODE – very excited for this one (though it is very short!).


  • Reply gwinne September 26, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Enjoy the conference! I love (most) conference travel for exactly the reasons you mention.

    I’m struggling with lack of time right now, and no amount of time ‘management’ is going to help in a meaningful way. I think I need about eight more hours/week to feel on top of my work. There’s just no where to get it from, except for sleep…

    • Reply KGC September 26, 2019 at 11:11 am

      THIS. I’d love a post, or even a BoBW episode on how to handle the lack of time. I’m in a similar position in that small tweaks to time management strategies may be helpful moving forward, but they won’t help me dig out of my current hole (which was somewhat formed by a 3-month maternity leave and then coming back to work at 80%). I really need a week where the rest of the world stands still so that I can get on top of things, and THEN I’ll feel like I can implement strategies to avoid the same situation in the future. But where to get that time (other than sleep, which I’m not always willing to sacrifice more than I already am)? I actually voiced to my husband the other day that I feel like I’m never ever ever going to catch up, which is a really frustrating/disappointing feeling. Would love thoughts from SHU and LV!

  • Reply CBS September 26, 2019 at 9:30 am

    I love conference travel although I suspect I should do more networking and less novel reading.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 26, 2019 at 9:33 am

    The free time thing is tough. One thing I’ve started to do is take a day off a couple of times a year for what I call a “shouldless” day. On that day, I only do things I want to do, nothing that I ‘should’ do. So I typically get a haircut and go out for a leisurely lunch. I can hang around our house since our son goes to daycare but that obv wouldn’t be an option for you since your kids are home with the nanny. But you could try a shoudless half day. I highly highly recommend it as it’s very luxurious to only do what I want! I was planning to do one on 10/8 but we finally found a house (after 2 years of looking!) so we are in the process of getting our house ready to list so a shouldless day just isn’t happening! But hopefully in Q1 of 2020 I can plan one!

    That book sounds really interesting. I’ll be curious to hear more about it and it sounds like something I would like to read. We will always be a 2-income household as it’s just what works best for us. It’s nice to see a book about that topic!!

  • Reply Gillian September 26, 2019 at 11:02 am

    As someone how some how managed to sleep with at least of one of my 4 kids under the same roof EVERY night since 2015, I hear this. My husband are good at taking time together with date nights and individual nights out. We are not good at getting away for extended periods of time. It is sorely needed.

    I am actually staying an extra night at a board retreat I am going to in a couple of weeks. A night sleeping someplace without any responsibility for my children promises to be amazing!

  • Reply MommyAttorney September 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I try to consider my time in the car or bus commuting to work as “me” time, since I get to listen to whatever podcast I want. But it’s not the same, of course. I look forward to your review of the book. My husband and I have taken turns with who has the most demanding career at any given time (it’s mostly me right now), but what we didn’t factor in is how much more complicated our children’s lives become at the same time. We constantly discuss how to balance out the load better to serve all of us.

  • Reply Amber Nash September 26, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Huge fan of BoBW and had to come say hello! This book sounds amazing and I can’t wait to hear the author as a guest. Thank you for putting so much great information out and having a great space to share about working mom life for us working moms. You are Laura are the best.

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