Is It Possible To Maintain A Good Work-Life balance?

Written by: Andrew Jason

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Work-life balance. We’re all trying to achieve it but does it even exist? We talked with Mark and Alyson Bjornstad to see what their philosophy on this age-old problem is and some ways they’re trying to make the most of their lives together.

Philosophy on work-life balance

“I don’t know if we have a philosophy. We just try to find the balance that works for us. We both have careers that we’re really passionate about and we make sure that those careers allow us to have a family life that we want and provide us with professional satisfaction.” – Mark

“I would say it’s never going to really balance but you have to appreciate the time you have. Because they get up early, I try and make it a point that we sit down and eat breakfast together because we’re going to be gone all day. You find a little more appreciation in the time that you have when you’re busy during the day.” – Alyson

About Mark and Alyson

Married 11 years
Alyson: Commercial lender at Bell Bank
Mark: Nurse anesthetist and co-founder of Drekker Brewing

Favorite Beer
Alyson: Ectogasm
Mark: Involuntary Narcissistic Rage

Supporting Each Other

“We each have separate careers and career ambitions. I acknowledge what Alyson wants to do in her career and the goals she has for herself. Those are valuable and she needs to have the time and professional latitude to reach those goals. I need to support her on that. Alyson has been incredibly supportive of the extra time and what we do as a business.

“We’re each very serious about our careers but we have to be equally serious about supporting the other person’s career. There’s no time for one of us to be jealous about how much time I spend away or if she’s got a week where she has a couple client events at night. We support each other and our career goals.” – Mark

“Since our time as a family is limited, we don’t have time to waste it on the little things like, ‘You didn’t take the garbage out.’ Those little things don’t even get brought up because we have to save our time for things that are more important. If there’s something I think the kids should do, I’m just going to sign them up for it because I know he has 100 things going on here. It’s just trusting each other and knowing that we’re not the type that we run everything by each other.” – Alyson

Coming Home From A Stressful Day At Work

“At the hospital, what I do is ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the country. You have to compartmentalize that part of your life. You have to be professional and composed about what happens in the operating room and the stress level that goes on there. If there are days that are stressful or negative, debrief with yourself on what happened.” – Mark


The Bjornstads have some shoutouts for things they really appreciate and their kids enjoy. 

  • Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare
  • Swim lessons at the YMCA
  • Going to the Red River Market on the weekends: “To us, that’s a Saturday morning routine. Go there, get a snack or early lunch and grab some produce for the week and hang out as a community.” – Mark
  • Going for bike rides because Will has learned how to ride without training wheels
  • Weekend trips to Duluth and the Twin Cities

Mark: “We love those day trips to get out of town and have committed time to get away from the chaos in Fargo. If I’m in town, the brewery will suck me in. It’s the same thing for Alyson, she could always be working on other stuff.”


5 am Mark and Alyson wake up and kids wake up shortly after

5:30 am Mark heads to his job at Sanford while Alyson gets kids ready for the day

8 am – 5 pm Alyson works at Bell Bank

2 pm Mark finishes up at Sanford and goes to work at the brewery

5 pm Alyson picks the kids up from preschool

6 pm Mark gets home for supper

7 pm Their evening routine is bath time, watching music videos and singing songs, reading books and going to bed.  


Online grocery shopping
Amazon Prime
Reminders on her phone (For example, if the kids have swim lessons on Wednesday nights, she has a reminder to go off in the morning to pack swimsuits.)

He spends all day on his phone and computer so he makes a conscious effort to disconnect with technology at the end of the day.
Drekker’s new Brewhalla location at 1666 1st Ave. N, Fargo is a mecca for beer drinking. This former Northern Pacific Railroad shop was originally built in the 1880s and features a huge taproom, brewery and outdoor patio. 

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