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. 54: Chatón Turner, Attorney and Blogger

Age: Old enough to have the wisdom not to answer this question.
Where I live:
 Pittsburgh, PA
Job: Attorney and Blogger
Kids: A girl (4) and a boy (10 months)

Smith Family Portraits_0174Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I’ve been promoted since becoming a mom, but it’s a similar role.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think that depends on what you want. Generally, when people refer to “having it all” they mean that somehow you manage to look like a super model, have well behaved kids, a clean house, provide your family with gourmet meals, volunteer with the PTA, and celebrate the holidays Norman Rockwell style. They don’t think about how much work it takes to make that life a reality. They don’t think about sleep and taking care of yourself. You can make that dream come true, but there’s a steep price. There’s little reference to cultivating a great relationship with your spouse either. If you manage your expectations, you may be able to do it all, but I think it’s nearly impossible to excel at everything without losing your mind if you work full time.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I find it impossible to get my laundry done. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at accepting that done is better than perfect. I think it’s made me more productive.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? It’s a tie. One said, “Devote one part of your day to your kids where they get your undivided attention.”  Another said, “There are few problems that can’t be solved with new shoes.”
From your mother? “Don’t let those people get you down.”
From your kids? “Smile mommy!”

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?
30 minutes working out. 30 minutes cleaning my house.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
At 20, I was pretty resigned to remaining childless. I wish someone had told me, in a way that I could understand: “Having children is an amazing gift. Include it on your bucket list.”

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
I hope to have the blessed assurance to trust my judgment.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
The damn laundry!

Whose job do you wish you had?
Savannah Guthrie’s.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Toss up between a fast food worker and a janitor.

Favorite books?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Getting to 50/50: How Working Parents Can Have It All by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober, and A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life by Bethenny Frankel (more for the message than the writing).

What are you reading right now?
I read a lot of children’s books. I’m reading Secrets of The Nanny Whisperer by Tammy Gold for a book review. I just read Get the Behavior You Want… Without Becoming the Parent You Hate! by Deborah Gilboa MD for a book review.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Shopping too much. 
 I like chewy fruity candy but my teeth don’t.
Website? Mindlessly surfing the net.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7-8 hours. But with the baby waking up, it’s like 10-12, 12:30-2:30, 3-5, 5:30-630.

What do you read every morning?
My Facebook page and Twitter accounts. However, I’m thinking that the Bible would have sounded more grounded. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t have been true. I need to work on that.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have an ability to connect with people and I value that.
I wish I: were better at time management.
My kids: are amazing!

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Life is to be enjoyed not endured.”

Anything else you’d like to add?
Corporate America could do a lot more to support working moms who have administrative jobs. Providing paid leave, flexible schedules, and wellness benefits would go a long way in creating a more loyal workforce. They would also go a long way in helping moms have it all without going insane.

Smith Family Portraits_0149About Chatón:
Chatón lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along with her husband, tenacious toddler, and incredible infant. In addition to being a mother, an attorney for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and a public speaker, she has also been an avid blogger since 2007. Since having her daughter she turned into a “mommy blogger.” Chatón writes about her quest for balance in stilettos and is passionate about helping women make appropriate choices about child rearing, employment, and finances in Chaton’s World: A Working Mom’s Quest for Balance in Stilettos©. She is also passionate about transforming the workplace so that women can make heartfelt choices instead of imposed ones. She has achieved success as a blogger including being profiled in Pittsburgh is Kidsburgh magazine as one of Pittsburgh’s new mommy bloggers and being part of the Verizon Moms Voices Program (VZWVoices).

Find more about Chatón here:
Twitter: @ChatonsWorld
Facebook: chatonsworldpage
Pinterest: chaton1
nstagram: chatont

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