THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 74: Alysa Bajenaru, Dietitian and Writer

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

BY THE WAY…

  • Looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT, the novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
  • The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
  • Fortune ran a feature about The Balance Project.
  • Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.

No. 74: Alysa Bajenaru, Dietitian and Writer

Age: 35
Where I live:
 Gilbert, AZ
Job: Freelance Dietitian, Writer, and Photographer
Kids: A daughter, 5, and a son, 7

profileIs the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
Before having kids I picked up odd jobs here and there as my husband and I traveled the country for his professional baseball career. I went from being a clinical dietitian to selling beer at baseball games and working in a golf pro shop (it was pretty fantastic, actually). Since having kids I have worked hard to grow and develop my own freelance business in a way that allows me to be a flexible stay-at-home mom.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think trying to “have it all” only leads to guilt at the end of the day.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
The hardest part for me is wanting immediate results from my hard work. So I do way too much checking of email and social media.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at taking time to rest. Regularly taking time to step away from work and play with the kids or read a fun book.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? My friend Alli Worthington reminds me to say no to the good things so I can say yes to the best things.
From your mother? 
My mom knows how keen I am to jump into any new thing that I get excited about. She is great at reminding me that I can’t do everything, so I need to choose wisely.
From your kids? 
My kids remind me to shut down my “work mode” and play. To appreciate the little moments and be fully present.

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Reading.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Life is an adventure, stop worrying so much!

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
I hope I’m able to finish each day and be done with it. To find peace in the way I live my life.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cleaning. And laundry. (Can I have two things?)

Whose job do you wish you had?
I daydream about being a humanitarian photographer.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I went to college on an engineering scholarship. I’m so glad I let myself out of that!

Favorite books?
One of my favorite recent reads is Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. It’s all about simple living and balance.

What are you reading right now?
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s one of those books that I can’t believe I never knew about. Absolutely fantastic!

Biggest vices…
Activity? 
Working (just a little tweak here, and an improvement there…).
Food?
 Coffee.
Website? Twitter/Facebook.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8.

What do you read every morning?
Instagram.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: overthink most things.
I wish I: gave myself more grace.
My kids: fight sometimes. I say that because people tell me how perfect they seem through Instagram. They are amazing and get along well, but they’re not perfect.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” —Mother Theresa

Anything else you’d like to add?
Beware comparing yourself to anyone else, especially in this age of the social media “highlight reel.” The world doesn’t need another copy. The world needs you.

PastedGraphic-2PastedGraphic-2fhbannerAbout Alysa:
“I am a dietitian by trade, a freelance-at-home mom, a tenderhearted justice advocate, a sometimes photographer, and a loyal-to-a-fault friend. Oh, and I happen to have celiac disease. My husband is a professional baseball coach, so we are somewhat of a nomad family. Right now we are homeschooling our two kids, but don’t ask me what we’ll do next year. Things are always changing.”

Find more about Alysa here:
www.inspiredrd.com
Twitter: @inspiredrd
Facebook: inspiredrd
Instagram: @alysabajenaru

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One Comment

  1. Alisa @ Papercuttts April 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I loved reading this interview. And your friend’s advice – say no to good things to say yes to the best things – that is one I need to write down. I’m better about that these days, but sometimes I still feel guilty about saying no.

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