Congrats to the winner: Amanda
Let me start off by writing that I don’t believe that work/life balance exists. (That’s ironic since I’ll be a panelist on the Blog/Life Balance panel at Blogalicious09.) However, I do believe that you can “have it all” – just not as much of it all at the exact same time. Rather than balance, I think of life (family/work/etc.) as a juggling act. (Some area is always up in the air.) My aim is simply to be a great juggler! So who is better to give advice on “juggling” than a mom from a circus family?
I had a great time speaking on the phone with Jodie Urias of Ringling Brothers’ “Urias Family” last week. She’s currently performing in The Coney Island BOOM A RING circus. It was really interesting to hear her take regarding being a mom as well as a performer in “The Greatest Show On Earth”. I’m a sap for a good love story, so it was fun to hear how Jodie and her husband Erwin met. It turns out that Jodie was already in the circus doing a trapeze act. Now, she is in the same show with her husband whose family has had a long-standing global motorcycle act. I found it funny that Jodie initially “couldn’t stand” her now husband. (My husband and I didn’t like each other at first either!) However, since Jodie was friends with Erwin’s mom, he won her heart over time (awwww). Fast forward to 2009 and they have been married for 17 years and have two children (ages 8 and 5).
I asked Jodie to share about some of the unique challenges and rewards of being a part of a circus family. I know that performers travel a lot, so I was wondering how she handled it all. For starters, her kids are home schooled and there is a teacher that travels with the show. That helps on the child education side. Circus performers aren’t paid like major celebrities, so Jodi also shared how they use the Internet beforehand to search for free and low-cost family activities in every city that they visit.
Next, I asked about couple time and “me” time. My husband and I agree. We can never work together in close proximity. We would drive each other crazy. (That’s why he has agreed to be my “consultant” in my upcoming business rather than my business partner!) Fortunately, the entire Urias family really enjoys one another’s company, because they don’t get a lot of individual free time. I like how Jodie creates small “me time moments” by doing things as simple as walking to the supermarket by herself. Finding “couple time” is equally tricky because they live and work together as well as travel together in a RV. Erwin and Jodie do make time for one another though by using help from family (one perk of being in the family business…)
The thing that I liked the most about speaking with Jodie is that she owned her life choices. As she said, “We wanted it this way. We chose this lifestyle.” How refreshing! I also found that Jodie’s mindset in regards to priorities were similar to my own. For her, career is not first. God and her family are. As such, while acknowledging that her lifestyle can be draining at times, she believes that the rewards are greater than the sacrifices. As she said (and I totally agree), “Kids remember what you put first.”
As a special treat in connection with this chat, one lucky Mom in the City reader is going to win a Family Four pack of tickets and complimentary Program Books to any performance of The Coney Island BOOM A RING that they choose through Sept. 7th. This is the circus that Jodie and her family are currently a part of. Jodie raved about how parent/child friendly the Ringling circus company is and shared how she had been receiving such great feedback from audience members –young and old. (The shows are Wednesday through Sunday and you can see the schedule for all performances at www.ringling.com/coneyisland. If the winner does everything, the experience will be about three and a half hours. You don’t have to do everything though if you think that it will be too much for your little ones. They have an Animal Open House which starts 90 minutes before each show where families can interact with the animals and trainers, take pictures, ask questions, etc. There is also an interactive pre-show adventure – where you can try various circus acts (like juggling), take pictures, get autographs, try on costumes and more. Finally, the actual show is two hours.
To win, please share one of your parent “juggling” tips in the “Comments” section below by August 24th.
For an additional entry (and to help me out), please fill out this super-short survey regarding my upcoming local parenting guide site. (It’s only 1 question!) Thanks in advance.