How I find balance — May 2014

Keeping an open line of communication with your partner can be the key to finding balance.

Matthew Solvason, 40, business tax adviser, Winnipeg

To me, the biggest [secret to finding balance] is open communication with your partner, especially once you have a child (our daughter is nine months old). If you're not talking to your partner about what's going on in the day, your schedule, what you've got coming up, it'll slap him or her in the face. If he or she is anticipating your being home at a certain time [but you say,] "Guess what, I forgot to tell you I had this meeting," that can cause stress.

I also have to know my partner, Anabela's, schedule. Even though she's on maternity leave [from] the University of Manitoba, she has a calendar up on the fridge with all the important dates on it — when doctor appointments are or when she has a massage scheduled, for example — so that I or someone else can be home with our daughter. Some days there are deadlines I have to meet, but for the most part, I can work around that.

For instance, I've been to all my daughter's doctor appointments — Anabela wanted me there, and I'd rather be there, too. It's not that hard; I just block off an hour and a half or so, and work around that. Of course, during tax season it was a bit different, but we've got good support — Anabela's mom, my mother and some good friends. That circle of support is important.

— As told to Wendy Haaf