THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 147: Nicole Waggoner, Author

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. 147: Nicole Waggoner, Author

Age: 34
Where I live:
 Norman, Oklahoma
Job: Author, Manuscript Coach, Literature Criticism Teacher
Kids: A son, Noah (8), and a daughter, Maya (5)

AFIMG_0291Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Teaching will always be my first love. Any former student of mine will attest that I ran a fast-paced, inclusive class often dubbed “stand-up comedy English.” There is something truly validating about holding a class of teenagers’ attention and helping them to unlock the power of the written word as critically thinking individuals.

In 2007, I was pregnant with my first child and planned to take the following year off to stay home with him full time. What felt like the right decision for my family left me torn between the desire to give this new chapter full of unknowns all of me and an ache at leaving behind the career I loved. The week before I delivered found me mutually guilt-laden about leaving the 155 students who were also “my kids” and fielding well-meaning inquiries about how much I was needed and would be missed. I worked until the day my son arrived and took my leave.

A few weeks into my “new normal” of euphoric love, bleeding nipples, and navigating a level of fatigue I never fathomed, my phone rang. It was my principal saying that he had just come from a meeting with the superintendent in which he, my colleagues, and several students’ parents made a case for me to be offered a part-time position (teaching three morning classes). I’ll never forget standing in the kitchen listening to his message, feeling a spark ignite inside at the idea of having both mornings with my students and afternoons with my son, and whispering to myself, “You can do this.”

I’d like to tell you my beloved newborn cooed at my words as I nuzzled him and told him we were a team and would figure it out. I did nuzzle and he did blow a diaper. I kept that schedule for three years, then parlayed my reputation into a private position that required two full days a week teaching formal writing and literature courses as I welcomed our second child.

There were thorns and roses. Days when drop-off was brutal and the mommy-guilt whispered through my day. Days when the reality of completing a full-time job in part-time hours with part-time childcare hit like a hurricane. Days when I peeked through their classroom windows in awe at all they were learning from their teachers. Days when they beamed with pride when mommy’s students talked about her or she won an award. Days when I felt like both of my purposes were being fulfilled. Days when I felt like I was failing at both. It was a juggling act of compartmentalization that would eventually manifest itself into the characters of my novel Center Ring and the many different roles they play.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think it’s realistic to have everything you need, but I think the concept of having “it all” is a facade. There’s a missing piece in everyone’s puzzle no matter how things look from the outside.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Sleep and exercise. I haven’t slept regularly since my son was born in 2007, and have an on again/off again relationship with the gym.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
My writing schedule. At the beginning, I was writing early in the morning, between classes, late at night, and during nap times. I still write every day, but in three-to-four hour windows depending on the stage (organic, self-edit, bridge, tuning).

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?
Aside from the calendar on my phone, the Listopia app is my BFF.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? “You will always make time for the things you care about.”
From your mother? 
“Think before you speak, but don’t speak all you think.”
From your spouse?
 “Work for what you want, so you’ll want what you get. Do what others won’t.”
From your kids? My kids are my biggest cheerleaders. We have a lot of family mottos I call “Waggonerisms.” My favorites are “I can only get better.”; “Give more than you get.”; and “Happy hearts can’t lose.”

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?
In theory, exercising. In reality, curled up plowing through my to-be-read list or cooking to music in my kitchen.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
To be patient. That I’ll know it when I see it.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
How to be comfortable in my own skin and to be at peace with the changes in my body, then and now.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Laundry!!!! Every time I start a load (and often have to re-wash it once it’s orphaned), I remind myself I could be living in a washboard-and-lye-soap era. I may or may not have had to wear black swim bottoms as underwear last week.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I would like to be a professional resort critic paid to enjoy food and wine at the world’s best beaches and locales.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I am glad I am not a politician or in any profession requiring a working knowledge of north, south, east, and west.

Favorite books?
I have too many to count so I will type until someone yells “Mommy”—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, Something Blue by Emily Giffin, The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, The Beach House by Jane Green.

What are you reading right now?
The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda.

Biggest vices…
Activity?
 Netflix binges.
Food? Wine.
Website? Facebook. All. The. Way.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
On average, 5 to 6 hours a night.

What do you read every morning?
theSkimm! I feel about theSkimm like most people feel about coffee.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have more stories to tell about women becoming a sisterhood of the tightrope and supporting each other.
I wish I: could give women and girls all over the world access to a safe education.
My kids: are unconditional love personified.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“If not now, then when?” And “Don’t wish for it, work for it.”

518n39xJ-3L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_About Nicole:
Nicole Waggoner is the author of the Circus of Women Trilogy. Book One, Center Ring, debuts April 26th, 2016. In addition, Nicole is a decorated teacher with 12 years’ experience teaching upper-level English and literary criticism courses. She is proud to call her husband and children her biggest fans. The other loves of her life include green tea, great conversation over vino, all things theater, women’s health, and a fanatical commitment to live her belief that love is a verb to be paid forward.

Find out more about Nicole:
www.nicolewaggonerauthor.com
Twitter: @nicoleCDFauthor
Facebook: NicoleWaggonerAuthorCircusofWomen
Instagram: @nicolewaggonertheauthor
Pinterest: nnwaggoner

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

Related Posts
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
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 54: Chatón Turner, Attorney and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 55: Joanne Wilson, Investor and Blogger
T
HE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 56: Nicola Kraus, Author and Creative Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 57: Shiri Sarfati, Marketing Expert
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 58: Audrey McClelland, Entrepreneur and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 59: Jessica Lahey, Writer and Teacher
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 60: Lindsay Bressler, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 61: Marie Claire Lim Moore, Banker, Author and Speaker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 62: Stacey Ballis, Novelist and Cookbook Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 63: Amy Hochhauser: Co-Founder, JoyRide Cycling Studio
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 64: Molly Sims, Actress, Author and Humanitarian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 65: Colleen Oakley, Writer and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 66: Nichole Montoya, CEO of Cheddar Up
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 67: Eileen Palma, Author and Instructor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 68: Adina Grigore, Founder of S.W. Basics
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 69: Dana Pollan, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 70: Melissa Hawks, Owner, The Well Appointed House
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 71: Emily Greenspan, Art Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 72: Michelle Hodges, Software Executive and See Girl Be Founder
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 73: Kendra Basner Mallen, Attorney
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 74: Alysa Bajenaru, Dietitian and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 75: Anita Shepherd, Founder of Anita’s Yogurt
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 76: Dana Marlowe, President of IT Consulting Firm
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 77: Jill Royster, Marketing Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 78: Debra Olshan Cooper, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 79: Zainab Zaki, Technology Product Manager
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 80: Marisa de los Santos, Novelist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 81: Kamy Wicoff, Writer and Publisher
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 82: Kristy Woodson Harvey, Writer and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 83: Jane Green, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 84: Meredith Schorr, Author and Paralegal
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 85: Melissa Marks Papock, Founder of Cabana Life
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 86: Cindy Chupack, TV Writer/Producer and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 87: Betsy Ames, Founder of Mindful Style
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 88: Erin Baebler, Author, Writer and Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 89: Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin, Founders of theSkimm
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 90: Heather Bauer, Dietitian and Founder of Bestowed
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 91: Jennifer O’Regan, Teacher, Coach, Book Champion
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 92: Debbie Major, CEO of Zylofone and Performer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 93: Dorie Clark, Marketing Strategist, Author, Speaker, Professor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 94: Peggy Davenport, Attorney
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 95: Terrianne Patnode, Attorney
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 96: Jillian Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 97: Gillian Zoe Segal, Author and Photographer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 98: Pauline Nakios, Apparel Company Owner
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 99: Jessie Rosen, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 100: Reese Witherspoon, Actor/Producer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 101: Elyssa Friedland, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 102: Lisa Reichmann and Julie Sapper, Running Coaches
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 103: Jackie Kolek, Communications Executive
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 104: Stacy Sukov Blackman, MBA Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 105: Nancy Easton, Wellness in the Schools Executive Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 106: Lisa Sugar, POPSUGAR Founder and Editor in Chief
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 107: Bobbi Rebell Kaufman, Reuters Anchor and Reporter
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 108: Jennifer Berson, PR Executive
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 109: Jo-Ná Williams, Attorney and IP/New Business Advisor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 110: Susan Ascher, Author, Coach and Speaker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 111: CC Minton, Author and Health Advocate
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 112: Sara Blakely, Founder of SPANX
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 113: Courtney Nichols Gould, Co-Founder & Co-CEO SmartyPants Vitamins
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 114: Kristy Wallace, COO of Ellevate Network
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 115: Kimra Luna, Personal Branding & Online Business Strategist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 116: Jenna Segal, Producer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 117: Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, Media Specialist/Career Expert
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 118: Khanh Nguyen, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 119: Sarah Marie Martin, Investment Banker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 120: Julie Fasone Holder, Management Advisor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 121: Georgene Huang, Founder of Fairygodboss
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 122: Jordana Holovach, Branding Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 123: Lindsey Mead, Executive Recruiter
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 124: Kelley Spoljaric, Co-Founder and CMO of ComfortCam
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 125: Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 126: Ria Ruthsatz, Film Producer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 127: Jennifer Rispoli Hildebrand, Tax Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 128: Noelle Smith, Tax Manager
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 129: Loredana Pfannenbecker, Tax Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 130: Cherylanne Skolnicki, Life Design Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 131: Melissa Plaskoff, Host of Carpool Talk Show
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 132: Monica Reccoppa, Finance Manager
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 133: Jenna Blum, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 134: Cristina Alger, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 135: Katie Brown: Founder/Owner of Fashion Line KBLA
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 136: Aidan Donnelley Rowley, Novelist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 137: Kimberla Lawson Roby, Author and Speaker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 138: Karma Brown, Author and Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 139: Maria Adcock, Writer and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 140: Randi Zuckerberg, Entrepreneur and Radio/TV Host
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 141: Olivia Lane Lovejoy, Wellness Educator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 142: Phoebe Tisdale Andrews, VP Production at FOX
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 143: Kate Leroux, Geographic Information Systems Analyst
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 144: Saira Rao, Co-Founder, In This Together Media
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 145: Yukimi Momose, Co-Founder of MOMO Dressing
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 146: Lynn Smith, HLN Host 

2 Comments

  1. Melissa A Friday, March 11, 2016 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Great post! I like the resort critic idea. 🙂

    • Susie Schnall Friday, March 11, 2016 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Melissa!!! xo

Leave A Comment