Reading Travel

From the Air

September 21, 2023

Podcast Q&A Requests?

Laura and I are planning a Q&A ep – if you are a BOBW listener, please post them in the comments or send me an email. Also, feel free to also send topic requests, and if there are any for BLP – those are of course welcome, too!

I am on my way to Boston for a quick ~48 hour adventure! Among other things, I am excited to get to hang out with Vickie – one of my college BFFs and possibly the reason I sit here writing this today (I only started a blog in 2004 because I was entertained + inspired by hers . . . and I still miss it, V! You should bring it back).

As the kids get busier and older it actually feels a bit harder to get away, not easier. BUT from time to time I really do enjoy it. I feel like I just gain some space to think more clearly and truly rest away from the usual routine. Plus, it’s so wonderful to connect in person with old friends. Interestingly Josh does not seem to crave this kind of time! I actually wish he did — not because I want to send him off, but because I would love to be able to give him this gift that I appreciate so much.

That said, if any feelings of guilt arise, I can always channel Laura who would remind me that of the 365 days in the year, I spend the VAST majority of them at home (or traveling!) with the kids (and Josh). Even a generous 15 days away (which might be about right – when including work conferences, trips with Josh, etc) means 350 days at home, or 4% of the year away. Probably okay in the grand scheme of things.

Nonfiction Up + Coming

Arthur Brooks has been lighting up the podcast scene lately because he has a book coming out – that he cowrote with OPRAH! I guess his podcast tour worked, because I do plan on reading (and ordering) this book. I’ve always found Brooks’ work interesting — his life is very different from mine and I appreciate his perspectives.

Plus, you know. Oprah. I am looking forward to this as a morning read pick in October.

I do feel like in many ways I have built the life I want but I’m still very interested in what he has to say about having a life that is feels enjoyable, satisfying and meaningful (those seem to be his 3 pillars) in the long term. There is so much to worry about in the world (climate crisis, human rights, you name it) that individual efforts can just feel futile, yet making small impacts (the ones I hope I have at home, at work, and through my writing/podcasts/etc) still feel worthwhile. At least from this vantage point.


  • Reply ptrish September 21, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    As a kid, my mom traveled WAY more than 4% for work. Our SAHD made it fun, mostly because we had “special” meals that she didn’t like, or that he wouldn’t serve her – fish sticks, sushi, anything spicy, and sometimes we even ate *on the couch* (gasp). In retrospect maybe he made it too fun, because we definitely looked forward to those trips!

  • Reply vsh September 21, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    2 ideas for questions:

    1. I’m another Montessori mom- we have 4th grade, K, and infant. Can you both talk about how you’ve managed school choices in the context of bigger families with kids who may have different needs? I believe one of Laura’s kids applied to a special program

    2. If you had all the money in the world, what would you / have you done to make life easier with 2 big jobs and lots of kids? I.e. what type of outsourcing / childcare / etc has been a great investment in your happiness

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 21, 2023 at 2:20 pm

      these are awesome questions – thank you!!!

  • Reply Vidya September 21, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Two random questions that came to my mind …
    1. Did you make time for hobbies and sleep with two small kids? With a 1 year old and a 5 year old, I often find myself trading off between time for sleep and time for reading after completing the necessary tasks for work and home. I do manage to read upwards of 40 books a year but I never feel like I’ve “read” in a day because it has to fit in 10 minute chunks OR I have to stay up late reading.
    2. Do you ever struggle with feelings of privilege that leave you disconnected with the village around you? I am lucky to have parents who are very involved with my kids. Living in an area with lots of immigrants, I often get the throwaway “oh you are so lucky, you can do everything cuz you have access to family help”. While that is true, it does have its own drawbacks and problems (ex. arguing with your mom about the right way to do something and she constantly points out that she raised two awesome successful kids already (you and your sister)). I know that I have something that others don’t easily have access to but that doesn’t mean all my problems are magically solved.

    • Reply Omdg September 21, 2023 at 4:07 pm

      I don’t think anyone believes having family around magically solves “all” problems, but I will humbly suggest that almost nobody with help in any way appreciates what it is like to have nobody — at all — to call even if there is a crisis. Just imagine that were your situation. You probably can’t or won’t, but try.

      • Reply Daria September 24, 2023 at 7:27 am

        That is me! No family at all in the country. Thank god for the neighbors.

    • Reply Alyce September 22, 2023 at 12:11 pm

      Consider ring theory, which basically says that you can complain to people who are less impacted by a crisis than you are. An immigrant parenting without a familial support network around them can complain to you as someone who does have that support network around them, but you can’t complain to them about your caregiver challenges because you are less impacted by the caregiving crisis facing parents – even if your own situation isn’t without challenges. You get to complain to people less impacted than you – it’s people with more support or it’s people who don’t have children, etc. That’s just the way that it goes if you don’t want to be the asshole.

      • Reply Vidya September 22, 2023 at 2:58 pm

        I’m not even complaining about my caregiver situation to others. I know that I am privileged but I guess I am frustrated with all my other problems/complaints even unrelated ones being seen as less valid because I do have this privilege.

    • Reply Florence September 22, 2023 at 3:51 pm

      I agree with the comment on ring theory; I think everyone has their challenges no matter their privilege but hard to complain to someone who has it harder. In our case, family is several hours away, but they are available if asked in advance. It’s better than my friends who have no one in the country to help them. Definitely, being 2 high income earners is a huge privilege…I complain a lot about my job but have to be careful to not tick off my friends who earn less and who would gladly trade places with me.

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns September 21, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    I must live under a bit of a podcasting rock as I have not heard of this book or the author!

    I did my first girls trip since having kids in august. My husband did a guys golf trip the following weekend so that did really assuage my guilt. I do travel for work. I’m wrapping up my 10th trip of the year and I have 4 left. They are usually 3 days so that means I will probably be away 35 days if the year so about 10%. I do feel some guilt about it but it’s part of my job and I try to set limits and not travel more than once/month unless something really important comes up (which seems to happen every other month on average). Neither of my parents traveled but they ran a very demanding business and had 5 kids. So I think I have way more one on one time with my kids than I had with my parents. Maybe that is just me justifying being away. But it does make it harder for me to feel like I can take time away for personal travel.

  • Reply Amanda September 21, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    Something I’ve been curious about – do you and Laura make your bed every day? Frivolous question but I feel like I could see it going either way for you both – like, no it’s a waste of time or yes because you like how it looks.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm

      I do it maybe half the time … I wish I did it daily though!

      • Reply Grateful Kae September 21, 2023 at 5:29 pm

        My husband makes our bed every single day. I’m the first one up and he’s still in it when I exit the bedroom, so…. not it. 😉

  • Reply L September 21, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Question for BOBW. Laura casually mentioned in her time management series that she had a house manager. I would love to hear more about that person’s role in her household. What do they do? How many hours do they work? All the details. It’s sounds fascinating.

    • Reply Florence September 22, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      Me too! I want to know this. My issue is not really childcare but random house stuff. Meal and snack prep. Fixing curtain rod the kids pulled down. Inflating stroller tires with air. Reorganizing drawers. Booking and changing appointments. Etc.

  • Reply Elizabeth September 21, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    Questions for BOBW: you and Laura are both very positive about the working and family conversation, dispelling myths that it is impossible to be your best self in both work and at home. I have greatly benefitted from this! But I’m curious 1) what specific narratives you’ve had to dispel. For example in my world as an academic people like to say you write one less book for every kid you have 😉 and then 2) if/how you have thought through or reckoned with “costs” you’ve experienced. Another question! What do y’all think about the “parenting at work” convo? Like the idea of trying to make your identity as a parent public at work or in professional contexts where it’s unusual or not something people are open about it. Love BOBW!

  • Reply Amanda September 22, 2023 at 6:32 am

    Question for the show- I recently quit drinking alcohol after realizing how it impacted my sleep and headaches. I know you’ve mentioned alcohol before on your blog but would love to hear both of your thoughts on alcohol consumption- seems like lots of non-alcoholic options are more and more popular these days!

  • Reply Jaimie September 22, 2023 at 9:17 am

    I feel like my question might be better suited for BLP but I’m wondering what sort of special planning/goal setting you did, if any, for the year you turned 40 (or any other milestone year). My husband and I both turn 40 next year and I’m feeling a lot of pressure to make it special and set some more meaningful goals.

  • Reply Lisa September 22, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Question for BOBW: I have 3 children (10, 7, 4) and my eldest has ADHD + learning disabilities. Would you consider hosting a guest who is an expert on parenting a child with ADHD? Someone like Penny Williams, Debbie Reber (Tilt Parenting), Tina Payne Bryson, Mona Delahooke, Dan Siegel, Edward Hallowell? I’ve had to leave my full-time job in academia to work part-time so that I can take my son to therapy after school, five days a week. Each week, he has speech therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy, social skills group, vision therapy, and adaptive sports. How do you get the best of both worlds with two busy careers, a child with special needs, + two other (neurotypical) kiddos? We have a part-time nanny and my husband drives a lot, too. Thank you for your consideration!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 22, 2023 at 2:43 pm

      Literally we were just talking about finding an expert for this topic! I will take note of the names you provided!

      • Reply C September 23, 2023 at 1:33 pm

        “The childhood collective” has a whole podcast devoted ADHD parenting and the 3 hosts are all very nice and approachable – they might be a great option as they are 3 working moms

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 23, 2023 at 2:55 pm

          awesome Carolyn!

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