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 Melissa Amster had to say…
No. 28: Melissa Amster, Book Blogger
Where I live: DC Metro area of Maryland
Job: Book Blogger at Chick Lit Central and Administrative Assistant for a Jewish Nonprofit
Ages/genders of kids: One girl (3) and two boys (6 and 9)
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
Thankfully, no! The job I had around the time my oldest child was born was the least ideal situation possible. I was pretty much chained to a phone 24/7 to handle facility management issues at plasma collection centers in other states. I was SO glad when that contract ended. I changed directions because we moved a couple of times since then and I also realized I wanted to work in the field of Judaism. I love where I am working now! I started blogging around the time I started my current job. I have a personal blog where I share my thoughts on various topics ranging from Judaism, to motherhood, to pop culture, and beyond. I started Chick Lit Central a few months later, in the spring of 2010. It’s like my fourth child in some ways, even though I started it before my third child was born. I wrote all about the experience at my personal blog.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Overrated. Something has to give in some area of life.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
How to keep organized both at home, at work, and even online.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
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?
Reading! Preferably in a bubble bath while listening to Jamie Cullum.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
All the changes I’d be making in my life as an adult.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Organizing! I’d love for someone to straighten up the messy areas of my home and find some semblance of organization. Perhaps Mary Poppins could swing by and snap her fingers a few times so that the basement finally gets straightened up? I dread attempting to organize my kids’ toys and games!
Whose job do you wish you had?
I’d love to be a best-selling author. I am not naming anyone in specific. I admire all authors for their hard work and for putting so much of themselves out there unabashedly.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
A job that involves doing anything that would potentially gross me out. Like mucking out sewage or handling bodily fluids. Also glad I don’t have to be tethered to a phone 24/7 anymore.
That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child. I love way too many of them. To keep it simple, I’ll share the last book I read that I totally loved, which is One Plus One, by Jojo Moyes.
What are you reading right now?
Best Supporting Role, by Sue Margolis (and snickering a lot), Just Friends with Benefits, by Meredith Schorr (cute so far), and just started The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender for my book club.
Activity? Besides reading?!? Binge watching TV shows (currently Orphan Black) and blogging.
Food? Normally it’s chocolate, but I’m trying to avoid it for now because I want to fit into my clothes again. The other one is Special K Vanilla Almond, which I MUST have for breakfast every day!
Website? Facebook, hands down!
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
About six, give or take.
What do you read every morning?
Whichever book I’m currently reading on my Kindle for PC while eating breakfast. I’ll also read my current hardback or paperback while exercising before getting ready.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.” (From Into the Woods)
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m Modern Orthodox Jewish, which means I keep kosher and observe Shabbat and holidays (as in no technology, driving, cooking, spending money, etc.). My Twitter handle, @eema2emma, is because “eema” means mother in Hebrew and “emma” is my three kids’ first initials with our last initial at the end.
Melissa Amster lives in Maryland (DC Metro area) with her husband, two sons, and daughter. When she’s not reading and interviewing authors, she works for a Jewish nonprofit. In her spare time (what’s that?!?), she likes to watch her favorite shows on TV, bake challah and desserts, and host meals and other gatherings.
Find more about Melissa here:
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
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