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 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.”
2015 marks the second full year of The Balance Project! And there’s lots in store: First, The Balance Project is celebrating its first birthday. Read all about how it got started and what I’ve learned from it here. Second, my second book, THE BALANCE PROJECT: A NOVEL, will be published in April. It’s women’s fiction and it was inspired by these interviews. More about that here. Third, in preparation for the launch and because these interviews have received such tremendous response, I will publish new interviews two or three times per week, not just on Fridays. Thank you for your continued support!
No. 48: Amy Tara Koch, Style Expert, Author, Journalist and TV Gal
Where I live: Chicago
Job: Style Expert, Author, Journalist and TV Gal
Kids: Two girls ages 8 and 12
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
NO. I worked in fashion/beauty marketing before kids. I always wrote on the side though and dreamed of writing books.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Supermom is a myth. I discuss this in my next book called Five Minute Fixes. You can never have it all. It is a constant battle to gain balance.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I never have enough time. There is such a docket of to-dos on my mom list and my professional list. I am always disappointed in myself for not doing what I set out to complete each morning. But—it is impossible.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I say “no” to everything that is not essential, especially events at night and meetings.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? “Find your center.”
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?
I would spend it doing yoga (haven’t done this in 10 years!) or sit in a quiet place and reflect.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That I didn’t have to stress so much. To enjoy the moment.
What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
That it was all worth it! I hope to have more contentment just being versus achieving.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
I outsource quite a bit. Organizing the kids’ extracurricular stuff is really hard.
Whose job do you wish you had?
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
What are you reading right now?
The Dinner by Herman Koch.
Activity? Social media.
Website? None. I’m so busy writing that I just don’t have time.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
What do you read every morning?
I read The New York Times and The New York Post later and watch MSNBC in the morning as I get dressed. CNN at night and Charlie Rose.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have the life that I imagined: exciting, vibrant, and filled with passion.
I wish I: had more hours in the day and knew how to relax more.
My kids: make me extraordinarily happy.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
The harder you work, the luckier you are.
Anything else you’d like to add?
My biggest pitfall is frustration. I know I can’t do it all, but I feel resentful that I can’t because of limitation on my time imposed by motherhood. I love being a mom. But, I also love my career. But—I must have dinner ready, take kids to stuff, etc, and therefore have a fraction of the time I used to have. But—the alternative of farming this stuff out and being an absentee mom isn’t an option for me. I want my kids to remember all of the meals together, etc. Balance? It’s a constant struggle and source of conflict. But—we all just keep trying to come to a happy medium.
Amy Tara Koch is a style expert, author, journalist, and all around fashion aficionado. She is a style expert for People, USA Today, She Knows, The Bump, Vogue and Parents Magazine and has appeared on CNN, TODAY, Steve Harvey, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD, FOX and the CBS EARLY SHOW. Koch is the local expert for Travel & Leisure and contributes to Marie Claire, Huffington Post, American Baby, People Moms & Babies, The New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Town & Country, Departures, American Way and Self. Koch has a monthly column in Today’s Chicago Woman and a weekly segment on Good Day Chicago, the local Fox affiliate. She has served as columnist for the Chicago Tribune and style expert/editor for iVillage. Koch’s first book Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into The Ultimate Style Statement was published by Random House/Ballantine in March 2010 and was immediately touted as the “must-read” pregnancy style bible by outlets from The New York Times and Glamour to ACCESS HOLLYWOOD. An avid “mom” blogger, Koch creates content for her own sites as well as SHE KNOWS, Hollywood Hot Moms, Social Moms and Parents. In addition to her media presence, Koch is in demand as a speaker, brand ambassador and consultant. From satellite media tours to large-scale speeches, she has collaborated with Bank of America, Ameriprise Financial, Pampers, Intel, Brooks Brothers, La-z-Boy, Viacord, Tide, La Croix, Frederic Fekkai, Kraft, Unilever, and Duracell. Amy Tara Koch lives in Chicago with her husband Peter Gottlieb and daughters Isabella and Brette.
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 2: Veronica Beard, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 3: Emily Liebert, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 4: Lyss Stern, Mom-trepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 5: Lauren Slayton, Nutritionist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 6: Elizabeth Moyer, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 7: Annabel Monaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 8: Holly Gordon, Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 9: Jill Salzman, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 10: Jennifer Levinson, Jen’s List
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 11: Jenny Hutt, Media Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 12: Angela Santomero, Kids’ Media Creator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 13: Carola Donato, Yogi
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 14: Tiffany Washington, Pastry Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 15: Emily Giffin, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 16: Alana Sanko, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 17: Cara Lemieux, Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 18: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Authors
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 19: Nikki Mark, Author & Foundation Director
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
Indra Nooyi on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 21: Jill Bryan, Comedian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 22: Cindy Callaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 23: Stephanie Hirsch, Artist
My Times of India Interview on Work-Life Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 24: Whitney Dineen, Author/Baker
AmEx’s Sobbott on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 25: J0-Laine Duke-Collins, Dessert Stylist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 26: Whitney English, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 27: Jennifer Gooch Hummer, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 28: Melissa Amster, Book Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 29: Nigel Marsh, Author and Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 30: DayNa Decker, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 31: Amy Selling, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 32: Heather Sonnenberg, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 33: Allison Winn Scotch, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 34: Bibi Kasrai, Entrepreneur and Chef
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 35: Karen Sutton MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 36: Samantha Ettus, Balance Expert, Author, TV/Radio Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 37: Pam Yudko, Holistic Health and Transformational Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT| No. 38: Nancy Huang, Nonprofit Outreach Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 39: Mary Laura Philpott, Writer, Editor and Illustrator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 40: Towanda Long, Marketing Communications Specialist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 41: Kristyn Kusek Lewis, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 42: Tracy Pollan, Actor and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 43: Christianne Phillips, Fitness Consultant and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 44: Susannah Lewis, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 45: Kimi Culp, Producer, Author and Creative Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 46: Traci Bild, Entrepreneur
The Balance Project Interview Series Turns 1!
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 47: Laura Vanderkam, Journalist and Author