THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 131: Melissa Plaskoff: Host of Carpool Talk Show

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 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 all 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.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 131: Melissa Plaskoff, Host of Carpool Talk Show

Age: 40
Where I live:
 Dallas, TX
Job: Host of Carpool Talk Show; Business Development, Real News PR; most important job: MOM!! Also I am a driver, therapist, cook, nurse, school tutor, and diaper changer!
Kids: Two sons, Hudson (10) and Parker (8), and a daughter, Annabelle (2)

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 3.11.05 PMHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
I was working full-time as an employee benefits consultant before I had my first child. I was lucky enough to be able to choose between work and being a stay-at-home mom when Hudson was born, and I made the decision to stay home with my son. I believe my “on-the-job” training has helped shape me into the woman I am today.

Hudson had some struggles in preschool (I know, it sounds so silly now—he is 10 and is thriving!), and it was very stressful for me. My mom, Jackie Waldman, author of The Courage to Give series, sat me down and said, “You need to get a job, volunteer, or let it go… it will be okay.” A week later, there was an earthquake in Haiti and Hudson asked me if we could have a lemonade stand and help the victims. I thought about my conversation with my mom and immediately said, “YES!” After receiving local media attention, we created the organization Lemons to Aid. Lemons to Aid teaches kids about the power of giving back and helping others. My Lemons to Aid experience set the foundation for my speaking and media appearances which allowed me to easily transition into a podcast host for The Carpool Talk Show.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think it depends on your definition of “having it all.” I believe having it all is when you have a balance between work, family, your relationship with your spouse, and personal time. When you can achieve, or come pretty close, to finding that balance, it’s a good feeling! I think it’s impossible to maintain a “perfect balance,” but having simple expectations and being in the moment make it easier.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
 I think it’s a daily challenge to fit it all in. I don’t know if I will ever answer every single email or respond to every voice mail, but I try and do those things when my children and husband are not around. Grocery shopping and cooking dinner are a HUGE challenge for me. My family has learned that any type of food served at dinner time is something to celebrate!

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I try and make my time really “count.” I spend time with real people (and it’s a pretty small group of women), and I really try and be present when I am with my family and husband.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
This will sound crazy, but I have my therapy session set as a “weekly appointment.” It’s important for me to get a weekly review from an unbiased person to help me manage life. I have found this extremely helpful and I have grown from each session.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? 
“Have fun and enjoy what you do. When work isn’t fun anymore, it’s time to reassess what you are doing!”
From your mother?
 “Happiness begins from the inside out. When you are truly happy with yourself, you can take care of others.”
From your spouse/partner? “If you are having a bad day, leave those feelings at the back door and enter the house happy.”
From your kids? My 8-year-old son Parker’s relief when his clothes are set out the night before makes getting dressed in the morning a simple process. His love for organization and structure showed me how important and easy organization for all of us is!

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 would love to take a nice, long walk and listen to music or podcasts or have a massage.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Just RELAX and BREATHE!

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
I hope I have raised kind and genuine children who are following their dreams and passions.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
DINNER!!! I wish I could have a cook make dinner every night with a yummy dessert!

Whose job do you wish you had?
This will sound silly, but I love my job (professionally and personally) and the flexibility it gives me. I would love for my show to be LIVE on the radio! BUT… if I had to pick one person it would be Howard Stern’s job. LOVE LOVE LOVE him!

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Politician or physician—especially doctors who work with patients who are not well. I can’t imagine taking care of sick or terminally ill patients.

Favorite books?
Children’s book: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. I also love Sophie Kinsella! I love a quick escape and a simple read. And my mom’s books: The Courage to Give series.

What are you reading right now?
Bossypants by Tina Fey and The Balance Project—I can’t put it down 🙂

Biggest vices…
Activity? 
Chasing my 2 year old.
Food?
 Sushi and coffee!
Website? 
Amazon.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8. I have to get sleep at night or I can’t function in the morning!! I like to get up around 5:30am each day.

What do you read every morning?
theSkimm—are you surprised?!

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have grown and learned more about myself in the last 5 years. There is something about turning 40 that allows the brain to become very clear.
I wish I: had more hours in the day.
My kids: are my heart and soul.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
It sounds cliche, but “Everything happens for a reason.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 12.51.42 PMAbout Melissa:
Melissa Waldman Plaskoff has been a teacher, realtor, employee benefits advisor, non-profit founder and a mom. After sitting in two different carpool lines for her two oldest children, she decided enough was enough. After sweating in the car in the Texas heat and being miserable, there HAD to be a way to connect with other parents and the carpool community who were going through the same horrible experience. Listening to Howard Stern each day was fun, but once Melissa was caught up on the show, she wanted to hear more, learn more, and laugh more! Melissa created The Carpool Talk Show and moms, dads, nannies, and anyone else stuck in the carpool line can now actually enjoy the long line! Melissa and her husband, Bart, live in Dallas with their three children, Hudson (10), Parker (8). and Annabelle (2).

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 3.17.48 PMFind out more about Melissa:
www.carpooltalkshow.com
Facebook: carpooltalkshow
Twitter: @carpooltalkshow
Instagram: @carpooltalkshow
YouTube: Carpool Talk Show
Available on iTunes

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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