I’ve always been an ambitious girl. In the first grade, I decided I was going to be a business executive before I even knew what it meant. I also had dreams of being a lawyer. I changed my mind after my mom’s coworker, who was studying for the bar, let me borrow a law book she was using in school. The large encyclopedia-esque book full of cases intimidated me. I read a novel in which the main character was a public relations pro. From the age of 15 I decided that would be my career. I worked actively toward it, teaching myself as much as I could about it.
In school, I’ve always been the hardest on myself. My fourth grade teacher gave me all 4s (equivalent to As) and 1 3 (the equivalent to B) to make sure I wouldn’t slack off. I worked vigorously at everything I did. Although I wasn’t a brainiac (I only got straight A’s once, in my senior year), I was smart, and hard working. I was an overachiever, especially in high school. Honors, AP and college courses. 0 period and multiple extra-curriculars along with executive board positions. I applied for multiple colleges. I held a job. I wanted to be above average.
I worked feverishly to attempt to get the career I always wanted, the recognition I longed for. I was an intern for more than 15 companies, the majority being non-paid. Then a family death, a bout with depression, and inevitable burn out left me to crash and burn. I then focused more on my relationship, and on myself, trying to figure out if the things I originally worked for were really things I wanted.
I always wondered if you really had to choose whether you were going to be married to your spouse or married to your career. I didn’t understand why people just couldn’t do both. My parents worked and seemed to be in happy relationships. Looking back, I now realize they weren’t married to their work. With the exception of my stepdad, my parents couldn’t bring their work home. My mom is a police dispatcher, and my dad and stepmom are both police sergeants. Crime keeps going, but when you’re home, you’re home. My stepdad, a computer engineer, often brought work home, and introduced me to the computer, Internet, and all it had in store. But he wasn’t exactly married to his job. He always made time for us.
Fast forward, and I’ve found that I can make a career into what I’ve always been passionate about: the Internet. I’m on the computer between 8-14 hours a day. It’s not only for leisure, but it’s also my way of making money. As an Internet entrepreneur, it’s hard to get much work done unplugged. I try to explain this to my husband but don’t think he quite gets it. Diving into my work is a way for me to stay busy, and it’s really a habit now. I’m not addicted to the computer like I was when I started my first blog at 9 years old. I can turn it off and forget about it for hours at a time, but I do stay on it for double that time.
My husband has been making a joke the past few years that the computer sucks me in. He hasn’t said it, but I know he sometimes feels I spend more time on the computer than with him. I sometimes feel its unfair because it’s not like I’m on Farmville or breeding zombies or whatever the heck people are doing. Sure I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ but it’s not just for fun; it’s my job. I’m a social media coordinator. My job involves social media. I’m a freelance writer. I type much faster than I write. Just like he has hours at work, so do I. Sure, I can alter mine, but I’d like to go to sleep when he does. So while his shift is 6am-2pm lately, Frankie wakes me up at 7am, and I work until I can’t work anymore. I agree, I need a shut off time but does it have to be when he wants it?
I’m finding it hard to find a balance being a newlywed Internet entrepreneur, giving myself and my husband what we both need, which is time with each other. How do you balance work and marriage (or relationships)? Post originally published July 12, 2011.