I just spent a four days as the spousal "tag along" to my wife at the Frankfurt Book Fair. She goes every year and spends non-stop days, mainly with UK Publishers, to purchase North American rights to publish books from her imprint, tiger tales.
I did have a role to play, albeit a more subtle one. I was there to better understand and help assess the market for digital books for our new company, mytales digital.
Every meeting started with: "This is my husband. He recently retired after 32 years at IBM and he's joining me on this trip". (I occasionally got the "He's the technical one to help us with digital books", but I refuse to have this stereotype discussion!) I was graciously invited to all of her dinner meetings - - every night!
Work-life? My wife's work-life balance was firing on every cylinder. Taking the train out of Frankfurt each evening, we arrived at our suburban hotel no earlier than 11:45pm. And then:
- connecting to the internet and doing some of the days work (she had far more than I)
- connecting with family, particularly my daughter who was in the middle of job hunting and working on cover letters, job applications, etc.
- completely failing to get even close to the 6 or 7 hours of sleep I want (and need!)
I was impressed - 24 hours a day. I learned so much and with each learning I couldn't be prouder of what my wife has accomplished and how she did it (and does it).
We did take a full day life break from work and drove 3 hours each way to visit some dear family friends in southern Germany. (Right thing to do schedule-wise, but we really must be crazy!)
And - rounding out that balance thing? I should add that most nights, she was connecting to and chatting with my daughter well after I gave my short, but sage advice and went to sleep. In some things, the male will always come up short compared to the female.