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. Every Friday I’ll feature a new interview. Here’s what Cindy Callaghan had to say…
No. 22: Cindy Callaghan, Author
Where I live: Wilmington, DE
Job: Author and PR Consultant
Ages/genders of kids: 11-year-old daughter, 14-year-old son, 16-year-old daughter
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I have two jobs. Yes, I had the PR job before I had children, but it is very different now in that I am a contractor, not a full-time employee for a company. Being a published author came into play after I had kids.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Having it all comes with a price, I think. Either it’s not enough time with family or the cost of a village to help run your life. I feel like I “did it all” for a long time: high-powered job, lots of business travel, super mom etc. But, I was always tired, always at the doctor, always “on.” Being me was truly exhausting. When I had the opportunity to leave my job with a package, I jumped at it. BUT, I had lined up things to make that exit possible: 1. I had saved money for college, retirement etc. 2. Plan B was already in motion. I’d published my first book, the second was on the way, and I felt good about other projects. I also thought I could obtain some PR contract work.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
There was nothing left for me. I put everyone’s needs before my own. I liked making other people happy, but in turn I was left out. I lost touch with friends, family and my own sense of self. I got so used to this, that now, when my life is in better balance, I have to re-learn how to do things for myself. It’s uncomfortable and it’s been a process.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
With practice, I’m getting better at being okay with not being “on” all the time.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
- No one’s tombstone ever said, “She closed a lot of business deals.”
- “It goes so fast.” This is cliché. But, it’s so true. Thinking about how much I missed of my kids when they were little makes me cry. I can’t go back, but I can change it now.
- Bad advice: A work supervisor once told me “if you work hard and do a good job, the people who matter will notice.” This should be true, but it isn’t. Climbing the business ladder is as much about being a show horse as it is about being a workhorse. And being both is tough and takes a WHOLE lot more time than just working hard.
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’d go to a movie. I love the movies.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
To buy Apple, Amazon, and Google stock.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
That I was a good parent. I know I’m not good all the time, but I hope I’ve provided my children with the foundations they need to be happy.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Car crap. I wish someone would take my car, and give me a very fancy loaner, while they took mine and got it fixed, tuned up, detailed, filled with gas… gas that would never run out. I’m from Jersey, and we don’t pump our own gas. And I’d love a gardener. I hate yard work.
Whose job do you wish you had?
I always wished I was an author. And now I am.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8-10. I love love love sleeping.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: CAN! I think I can. I think I can.
I wish I: could fly!
My kids: ROCK!
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
Cindy grew up in New Jersey and attended college at the University of Southern California before earning her BA in English and French along with an MBA from the University of Delaware. Cindy is the author of five novels: JUST ADD MAGIC (’10), LOST IN LONDON (’13), LUCKY ME (’14), LOST IN PARIS (’15) and LOST IN ROME (’15). Her debut JUST ADD MAGIC is in development for a TV pilot with Amazon Studios. Cindy lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her family and numerous rescued pets. She loves hearing from fans, speaking at schools and conferences, and zip-lining.
Please share your own tips on balance and check back every Friday for another interview from THE BALANCE PROJECT.
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
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 20: Colleen Oakes, Author
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
Indra Nooyi on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 21: Jill Bryan, Comedian