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)
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?
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Toss up between a fast food worker and a janitor.
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.
Activity? Shopping too much.
Food? 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.
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).
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
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 48: Amy Tara Koch, Style Expert and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 49: Cozy Friedman, Kids’ Hair Expert
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 50: Bobbii Hach-Jacobs, Music Promoter
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 51: Niketa Jhaveri, Game Creator and Web Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 52: Sheri Silver, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 53: Lori Pollan, Cookbook Author