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. Finally, check out the article Fortune ran about The Balance Project. Thank you for your continued support!

No. 56: Nicola Kraus, Author and Creative Coach 

Age: 40
Where I live:
 Brooklyn, NY
Job: Creative Coach and co-author of 10 novels, including The Nanny Diaries
Kids: A daughter, Sophie (5)

581306_10150964461769445_1524328868_nHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
I unwillingly gave up the sweet hours—5 to 8pm, the time of day when the email went quiet and I could pound out those last 1,000 words until my husband got in the door. Now I drop my work mid-sentence at 4:50 to dash to pickup. Next year it’ll be 4:20! But my daughter has promised she’ll play in her room for forty more minutes while I finish my work. We’ll see . . .  The upside of having been a nanny is that I have a visceral sense of how fast it all goes, so I try to remind myself that pretty soon she’ll get home later than my husband.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think it’s a funny concept. No one has it all. I don’t have a yard. I don’t have a brother. My best friend never knew her father. We all choose experiences and miss out on other ones. Working outside the home is a driving force in my blood. It was never in question. Is it hard to feel that constant pressure to perform as a mother and as a provider? Yes. Today I cried outside school when the teacher sprung on me that I was supposed to be there when they passed out the cupcakes I baked from scratch the night before. NEVER move the finish line on a working mom.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I wish I prioritized date nights more. I get out with a girlfriend at least one night a week. But we don’t go out, the two of us, unless we’re invited somewhere. It’s so important. Maybe you are inspiring me to make this my new year’s resolution.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I don’t think I’m getting better, my daughter’s getting older. And she LOVES housework.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance from a mentor/co-worker? My agent said, “A happy woman is a happy mother is a happy home.”  I.e., put the mask over your own nose and mouth first. I never forgot it.

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?
Meditation. And reading something substantive and nourishing.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
What a credit score is.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
What a credit score is.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cooking! I learned how to cook this year. But if little elves did it for me, I’d much rather spend that hour playing with my daughter.

Whose job do you wish you had?
Tina Fey’s.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Barack Obama’s.

Favorite books?
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker.

What are you reading right now?
Money—Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins. I am trying to grow up.

Biggest vices…
 Wine and pudding.
Website? YouTube, old talk show clips.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8 or I die.

What do you read every morning?
The New York Times on paper. Til the day they stop printing it.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: can help.
I wish I: had a massage booked.
My kid: is the light of my life. Especially when she says, “Oh bugger.”

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“It’s a start.”


PastedGraphic-2PastedGraphic-2finishedthoughtAbout Nicola:
Nicola Kraus is the co-author of the #1 International Bestseller The Nanny Dairies and nine other novels. Her next, How To Be a Grown-Up, will be out on July 28th. She is also the co-founder of The Finished Thought, personal trainers for your creative process.

Find more about Nicola here:
Twitter: @NannyDiaries
Facebook: EmmaAndNicola
nstagram: TheRealNannyDiaries

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