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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

My Balance: Pilar Guzman from Martha Stewart Living

Pilar Guzman is the editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living. (She was also the former editor in chief of the amazing Cookie magazine; did you guys ever read it?) She lives with her husband and two sons—Henry, 8 1/2, and Willem, 6—in Brooklyn. Here's how she attempts to find balance...

1. What's your work schedule?
I drop my kids off at school and jump on the subway, get to work about 9:45 and leave by 6 most nights, which always creeps up. I sometimes work a bit at home after they go to bed. I speak at conferences and universities, which requires me to travel several times a year; I also have to travel for sales calls in L.A., Chicago and Detroit. These trips are usually a day or so, and I try to work it so that my husband is around. All is okay in my world if our boys get tucked in by and wake up with a minimum of one parent.

2. How do you handle childcare?
We have a sitter who picks up the boys after school, takes them to their various activities, playdates, lessons, etc. We found someone who was in school getting her PhD in bio engineering. She's a wonderful human being and role model. She essentially raised her two brothers, which means she gets the boy thing and can basically build a robot. I think of all of the influences of the people in my kids' lives and love the idea of their getting things that they don't get from us, like, say, a real understanding and love of math!

3. When do you typically hang with your boys?
We start early in the mornings and have long breakfasts—smoothies, omelettes, soft-boiled eggs and soldiers, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, green juice (sweetened for kids with apples and carrots). We live close to school so there isn't a terrible rush most days. I'm home most evenings (my husband is a magazine publisher and does a fair amount of client entertaining, so many nights it's just me). We eat dinner, read books, tickle backs, and I often fall asleep with one of my boys, hate to admit.

4. I love that you “tickle backs.”
Just this morning my little one, Willem, came into bed with us early as he usually does. He asked me to tickle his back. As I started to tickle his back in a half-sleep, he caught himself and said, "No, Mom, let me tickle your back." I'd like to think that all of the nights I've stroked their backs as they've fallen asleep have been internalized, and have turned them into people who are as happy to give affection as they are to be on the receiving end. Of course, some mornings aren't so sweet—with our boys taunting each other and driving us crazy!

5. Do you have any family rituals you enjoy all together?
Friday movie night with takeout sushi (sometimes pizza) is the highlight of my week.

6. What kind of movies?
The last one we watched was Dolphin Tale, a feel-good movie about a misfit boy and his relationship with a dolphin, who has to adjust to a prosthetic tail. Not a dry eye in the house.

7. What do you like best about your current setup?
We have lots of family around—my in-laws live in the neighborhood, we share a house with my brother-and sister-in-law, and my mom comes into town every six weeks. We have a lot of very close friends who live nearby. As cliched as it sounds, it's as close to a "village" as one can get in modern day New York.

8. How do you and your husband fit your marriage into the balance?
I wish we were better about date night, but both of us usually just want more family time when we're free. We have managed to take long weekends alone every year—Cabo, Miami, Paris, East Hampton, Great Barrington—which amazingly keeps its charge for a long time. The marriage is an ongoing project. You need mantras like "stop before you snip" and don't be passive aggressive—either be aggressive and have the confrontation or let it go. Sarcasm (passive aggression in joker's clothing) is death to the marriage; we are trying to excise it from our home. Not easy. Nice underwear, a regular(ish) wax.

We're also fans of the day (vs. night) date. Nothing like walking around on a Saturday to make you feel unencumbered. There's a lot of pressure at night not to yawn.

9. Do you have time for yourself?
Not much. There's usually a small person breathing though the crack of the door while I'm in the bathroom. I find it at night once the boys are down and my husband is out of town.

10. Who handles dinner?
I make dinner, but not out of maternal martyrdom but because food is my obsession. I tend to do a lot of prep on the weekends—lentils, pasta sauce, marinating chicken or fish—so I have building blocks for the week. On the other hand, some nights it's egg sandwiches for dinner. I'm not precious, I just love good food.

11. Any advice for new moms?
I would say, at least for me, that it's better to work at home after the kids go to bed than to miss bedtime. I often leave the office with everything still in high gear, and papers fluttering in my wake, in order to get out the door at 6/6:30. I save longer email responses for the subway and bigger thinking for after kids go to bed. Whatever writing I do, I do after hours once kids are down. As many of my colleagues will attest, it's about at 9pm when my brain is clear enough for good creative thinking. They start getting my "what if we do X or try Y for the next issue."

I also feel like you should make no apology for leaving at a decent hour when possible (of course, there are always exceptions and some late nights). People who work until 10pm every night because they are trying to log in face time should know that managers will question their efficiency. You should be able to get your work done in an eight-hour day, unless you are up against a crazy project deadline. The key is to over-communicate with colleagues, and get some stuff done early so that you have leeway when the unpredictables (fevers, lice outbreaks) rear their heads. Granted, it depends on the business you are in; some office cultures are more sympathetic to mothers than others. But if you are good at what you do, are efficient and organized, you probably won't give your boss a reason to question your work, and leaving at what is by the world's standards a decent hour.
Thank you so much, Pilar.

P.S. Last summer's first balance series about moms who work from home.

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

This balance post was excellent. I really enjoyed her frankness about not being an office martyr. Thank you for taking the time to share!

Janssen said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. Pilar sounds so down to earth. I love the point she makes about the fact that if you are efficient and working hard, you should be able to leave after eight hours.

Tilton Fenwick said...

She's such a great role model! We spoke with her on a panel last year and she's so down to earth, classy and fiery! Loved her. Suysel & Anne

Joanna Goddard said...

She's amazing -- such a role model!! :)

Meg said...

i love the emphasis on being around for your children, and leaving the office at a decent hour. there is way too much pressure in offices to cut lunch hours short, to arrive early and stay late, to work with your head down as long as possible, without coming up for even a breath! it's so true that you should be able to get your work done in an eight-hour day, and if not... you need to re-prioritize & delegate, and then go home and spend some time with the people you love, or sometimes with a good book and a glass of wine :)

Anonymous said...

This woman sounds super nice and is beautiful to boot. I think one thing these stories are telling me is that most working women work incredibly hard to provide stability for their children - they really care! But it is hard to have any energy or time left to focus on one's marriage. Wish there were 3 more hours in the day.

Anonymous said...

This woman sounds super nice and is beautiful to boot. I think one thing these stories are telling me is that most working women work incredibly hard to provide stability for their children - they really care! But it is hard to have any energy or time left to focus on one's marriage. Wish there were 3 more hours in the day.

Sandra said...

I heard Pilar speak at ALT and she sounded then just like here in your interview - down-to-earth and fun. Someone you'd love to meet for coffee and hang out with.

And hey, I have the same pear print in my kitchen too!

Live this series - so much more powerful to hear how women really juggle it all. Who is helping out (family and hired help) and what gets done/doesn't get done.

Sandra said...

And here's the correct link!

Whitney | Good Grief Miss Agnes said...

I love her home, her name, her writing, and her honesty! My favorite from the series so far!

Christy Tyler said...

I love love loved this. As someone who runs my own business with my husband, I'm worried about work/life balance even though we don't technically have an office we go to - it can be easy to work 24/7 when work is in the home space. Thanks for sharing. This was really inspiring for me as we look to start a family soon!

Emily said...

LOVE her, my favorite this far.

EllaY said...

Thank you so much for running this series. That pit I've had in my stomach for a long time thinking "how will I work AND have kids?!" is starting to unwind. Thank you.

sarahlaws said...

such a great post, she is a breath of fresh air, a great example of why to try to do it all, thank you for sharing!

Liz said...

Oh my goodness.. THIS: "...you should make no apology for leaving at a decent hour when possible (of course, there are always exceptions and some late nights). People who work until 10pm every night because they are trying to log in face time should know that managers will question their efficiency. You should be able to get your work done in an eight-hour day, unless you are up against a crazy project deadline."

THANK YOU for saying that! I hate when people just work overtime to be in the office - not being efficient! Yes, I'm talking to you, guy who's on facebook at 7PM in the office :)

Love this series! And I'm not even a mother - yet!

Patricia Villamil said...

i'm enjoying this column so much...so great to know the faces and real lives of the women behind our favorite products, like MS Anthropologie.

Danielle Merket said...

Thank you for all these work/life balance posts this week. I especially like this one because it is the first where the husband does not mainly work from home. In my circle of friends/family the husband and wife both work full time out of the home, so this is much easier to relate to! After all this talk of "why women still can't have it all", I am so happy to hear about amazing women who have found a way.

Emily Frame said...

I was starting to feel depressed about this particular series, I kept thinking "you call this balance?" Pilar changed my mind!

lasuza said...

I love love love this series with a CAPITAL L, because it reflects a lot of what I do, the intentional involved parenting mixed with the passionate career and the fitting in of couple time. The travelling, the working and the being home, the conferences and the planes, the writing late at night to finish the revisions of my novel, pages typed during naptimes under a Spanish sun, the fairy cakes baked for school and decorated together with sprinkles ( because we're British and it makes all the French kids smile) and the loving partner who says yes to the next project because he is brilliant and supports my dreams and the cuddles and the fevers and the walking to school slowly with their little hands tucked in mine, before running to school and to work and the weekends away, oh yes, just us two, they are lovely and it goes on, this happy, imperfect balance...

Anonymous said...

I'm also loving this series. I'm 5 months pregnant with my first and I'll admit to being working too much and struggling to find balance and that's without a child! This series is helping me understand what's ahead of me and not worry about it. I especially like it because they work 9-5(ish) in an office so it feels really relevant to me.

Great - love it, can't wait for more.

Lisa said...

This was my favorite one so far! I love the advice about not apologizing for leaving on time.

Jenny at LGN said...

So inspiring!! Thank you Pilar and Joanna! I love so much that was said. I've been thinking so much about the idea of efficiency as a way for women/mothers to have more of 'it all.' Tricky stuff! It is so incredibly helpful to hear these personal accounts from women that we all admire and look up to professionally.

xoxo

The Wearwithal said...

Loved this one!
xx

The Wearwithal said...

Loved this one!
xx

Janice said...

I have loved Pilar since her Cookie Magazine days...thank you!!

Anonymous said...

this post was honest and adorable. she is an amazing role model!

Paige Geiger said...

This post was very encouraging! She seems to have the best of both and she knows it and appreciates it. Thanks for sharing!

Izzy said...

She has a beautiful home! Love this post and her candid advice!

Sally said...

"...We share a house with my brother and sister-in-law..." I wish she had expanded on that! It sounds like a fascinating arrangement.

Adrienn said...

So inspirational! Shows when you focus on the important things in life everything else falls into place.

Amanda said...

So many things here. I covet her island and corner leather seat. I want to live by her answer to number 8.

This is just brilliant. Thank you.

Katie said...

Can I just tell you how much I miss Cookie magazine?! I really enjoyed reading this. I remember these photos from the magazine spread - such a gorgeous home and family.

Jen said...

Great post! She is so very wise. I actually left a job when my son was 1 bc my boss (a man just a few years older than me with 4 kids) questioned if I was still "focused on my career" bc I left by 6 (and then worked 2-3 hours most nights at home after my son was asleep). I've continued to put my kids first and always am home for dinner, and continued to advance my career bc I work hard and produce results. Leaving that job and the narrow-minded boss was the best thing I ever did!

Oh and I absolutely loved Cookie!

this is lemonade said...

This is such an encouraging post. The thoughts on working hours particularly important for me. I'm bookmarking this so I can return in the future too.

A question, how does she manage to keep up friendships with people in such an organized schedule?

One of the difficulties is others with families might organize differently plus have different priorities...any tips?

Anonymous said...

She seems so normal and like a wonderful mother. These posts are so encouraging and inspirational.

Anonymous said...

I liked the idea of long weekends recharging marriage, rather than a whole vacation away... will keep that in mind.
Kate

Lindsey said...

I wanted to hear more about the bioengineer phD student, she sounds cool.

Anonymous said...

Oh she seems so lovely! And what a GORGEOUS house!! How do they make the living together with in-laws work I wonder..?

Kathryn Humphreys said...

Love this, so nice to hear that its not necessary to get it all done at once.

jojocards© said...

I love her comment about not trying to yawn on 'date night'! - pressure!! And excising sarcasm from the marriage - sometimes tricky but think this is something we all have to keep working on!

Amanda said...

Pilar sounds so genuine and down-to-earth. I enjoyed this article very much.

Also--my parents used to tickle my back when I was a child. That affectionate memory brought tears to my eyes.

nadia said...

My favorite yet. I love what she said about work & efficiency. So true. Love this series Joanna! Thank you!

xo Nadia

Amy said...

My favourite in the series so far!

Alexa said...

i really loved this one! i work in publishing and can imagine having a similar work dynamic one day.

cookie was incredible and i'm not surprised to know she is also behind martha stewart living! :)

Cecilia said...

So much wisdom here. What a role model.

michelle said...

Loving this series, even though I'm a stay-at-home mother of three. It's always wonderful to read about mothers and their passions and priorities. She seems like such a rad woman.

Thanks for this series Joanna and for sharing Pilar!

Carrie said...

I would love to know more about that living arrangement! In-laws AND immediate family in close proximity... there's a story there!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pilar and Joanna!

Clarity
www.friendsofsocktopus.com

Erika said...

This is a really wonderful series you are doing, and I find myself eagerly anticipating the next day's person! I would also love to see a series about more 'average' women, such as teachers or nurses or women who perhaps cannot afford the luxury of nannies/baby-sitters.Thank you for posting.

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Pilar! For me, she can do no wrong , due to her involvement with my beloved Cookie magazine. Oh how I loved Cookie. Cannot believe it's gone! I adore her house. Divine.

anna said...

This is a fun series to read, but I find it hard to relate to someone who is able to take long weekends in places I could never dream of affording. No disrespect to her - I absolutely admire her achievements! I think it would be great, though, to read a series of more middle class folks who can't afford sitters or after school care. Have you considered doing a series like that? Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I love your writing and love your blog. These women ARE amazing no doubt about it. I can't help but feel very disconnected from everyone of these professions and lifestyles. These careers are very well compensated, and opportunity/ lifestyles many of your readers cannot relate to. I know you picked these women based on your own experience in this world, maybe you would consider also pulling in a school teacher,a nurse, a sales rep, or anything else to help even the playing field when a mom is trying to understand the "do it all" complex we all seem to stuggle with. Thanks for reading, and I do love your writing.

Mel said...

While I really appreciate this series, I notice that all the women featured so far work in publishing. What about women in different fields? I'm a finance and accounting students, and I'd love to know how the women balance life and family while working in either field.

I don't relate to the world of publishing, and I know that their work environment would be different than other environments. I think this series would benefit from featuring women who work in a wide range of industries.

Anonymous said...

I can't but to join the massive choir of acclaim, it's a lovely series of posts ( as always!). Thanks Joanna!!
Comming from Europe(Sweden) it's amazing to see how similiar everyday family life is, same worries and joys, same caring resourcefulness to make it all come toghether as close to harmony as possible....
// Anna

Carla said...

I am a new mom to a two month old. My little one is my greatest achievement, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to achieve other goals. I'm still very hungry when it comes to my work; sometimes when I say that, I get stares like I betrayed motherhood. It's very reassuring to read about women who are able to balance their families and careers. Thank you for this post. It means a lot.

Isabelle said...

Very nice interview

But looking at their gorgeous house I can't help but think that it is much easier to make your life go smoothly when you have some money... they probably have a cleaning lady and can order in without messing up their budget...

I am not judging (we have money ourselves too), I think they (we) are very lucky but it is probably a little far from the average mom in the US...

Louise @ Buttercup Days said...

Another great series! As a busy working mum trying to juggle it all these reads are refreshingly enjoyable: they make you feel you're not alone and you can pick up some great tips from some inspirational ladies. xx

Anonymous said...

While it's nice to hear her say that we shouldn't apologize for leaving at a decent hour, it's also easy for her to say that as an editor in chief. Those of us who aren't in a higher-up position might not have that choice, even if we are efficient in our job.

This series certainly has been interesting to read, but it's really hard to relate to women who obviously are very privileged. I second what many readers are saying in that it would be nice to include stories of working moms/dads who don't have the extra money for nannies and pedicures, and also work "regular" jobs that might not offer work/life balance.

Nancy Cavillones said...

I love Pilar and I LOVED Cookie Magazine. I keep hoping it'll make a mini-comeback like Blueprint did...
Anyway, what Pilar says here reminds me of the Anne Marie Slaughter piece in The Atlantic this month, the work-life balance and creating an atmosphere that makes it okay to walk out the door in time to have dinner and do bedtime with your kids.

asiajane said...

I loved this. I'm a big fan of Pilar (having read about her awesome and unconventional living arrangement) and I'm contemplating a big life change--returning to work after 9 years at home!-- so her balanced approach puts things in perspective. Also, I laughed at the part when she describes having "a small person breathing through the crack in the door" while she's in the bathroom. Almost made me spit out my oatmeal :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge fan of Pilar and I'm enjoying this series about women who balance demanding work schedules and parenthood. It's a refreshing change from the many lifestyle blogs out there that only show dreamy, soft-focus instamatics of the authors frolicking in Europe or at some fab party, perfectly coiffed of course! These bloggers seem to roll out bed with no deadlines to worry about. The reality of laundry and getting dinner on the table is never mentioned in blog Utopia!

BCassFam said...

I love this series you have written. It is refreshing and full of idea for working Mom's. Her comment about not being a office martyr is brilliant and I will use it at work.

Meredith said...

Her home looks amazing! I would love to see more of it.

Tasha said...

I really love this series, and the posts and photos are beautifully done. But I agree with some of the other commenters. Most of these women seem to be on the higher end of the totem pole so to speak at their jobs--which affords them certain luxuries that a lot of working women (and men) do not have.

I'm in publishing as well and live in Brooklyn, but most definitely am not at the professional/nor economic level of these moms (yet). I would love to read/learn about moms who aren't necessarily on the top rung of the ladder manage it all.

Antoinette Marie said...

I am unmarried and without children but I love this series because it's so honest and makes that chapter in my future life seem so possible. It's nice to hear what is working and what is not from true nyc moms. I always think that when that time comes I'm going have to leave the city that I love... doesn't seem so anymore and that, I can live with. <3

ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

I absolutely love this post...and the series. As a working mamma I completely utterly relate to all these women. I find Pilar's advice to be sound and reasonable, and very much like mine. I always leave the office early, respond to emails in the bathroom or in between drives. And I finish off work once my little guy is asleep. I love my job but it will never come first before my son and husband.

J.Mill said...

I'm not even a mom (and not sure I want to be), but I love these series! I liked the last one with women who worked from home as well as this one. I think it's great to see amazing women leading imperfect, human, lovely lives. Time management and investing in what's important is a good lesson for us all!

chic81.com said...

She sounds like she has a great balance going. I second (or third) all of the other commenters who have said they think it is great that she works hard to do her 8 hours at work and doesn't fret over staying late, etc.
On a completely unrelated note, her kitchen rocks. I am in love with that marble-topped island - and I normally do not care for marble!

jesserz9 said...

I have to say I am quite disappointed and near offended by the lack of diversity in these posts. These do not represent the women that I know and in fact glamorize the life that 99% (yes I am making that reference) of the women that run this world! While these women's "stories" are interesting I am disappointed in the lack of perspective by all those involved

Anonymous said...

I love love this blog (and will continue reading every day!).. but I am also quite disappointed with this series. The posts really lack diversity of jobs and situations. all these women are mainly writers and live in big cities. What about our female counterparts who work in offices where they have to stay much later? or have more demanding schedules? or work in professions dominated by men? As a women who works and doesn't have kids (yet), i look at this blog for inspiration of one day being a working women with kids... and sadly im not certain this is an accurate reflection

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post on the topic chock full of advice! I loved day date idea and the last part about how to leave in time for dinner, without sacrificing work standards. I loved Cookie - wish they would bring it back.

Shannon said...

I think this is a great series and it's fascinating to hear about how these successful career women balance work and home life. But I do agree with some commenters that it would be nice to balance out these interviews by featuring a mom who is more middle class and a bit more relatable.

Rebecca said...

This series (as well as last year's series on balance) has been interesting from a purely observational standpoint, but it's done more to make me feel envious than to make me feel understood. In fact, it makes me feel like a total failure in comparison. These are all highly successful women with extraordinary lifestyles, but in my own circle I don't know one single mother who lives this way.

carrie @ brick city love said...

I LOVE her kitchen!

DENISE. said...

We need more role models like her! How refreshing that someone with such a visible position gets to work at 9:45am and leaves at 6. And her comments about "face time" and not working efficiently -- I wish more people took that lead because I think most people don't. I'm lucky to work for myself now but I remember the days when people actually brag about having to work so late. Thanks Pilar!

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing series, very inspired and timely given the current discussions of women in the workplace. As a young women facing the "work or mom" choice, feeling like I have an ultimatum in front of me, thank you for showing how different women make it work.

I must however join the request for more variety. I would love to hear, particularly, from a middle class mom...someone who's joint income is less than, what I believe, most of the women you have profiled so far make alone. :-) It would be interesting to see how they juggle it all, and much more relevant for the majority of us. Thanks!

ab_e said...

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate these posts. It gives me hope for my future family, as I intend to work at least part-time while having kids. Thank you, Jo, and thank you to all of the contributors!

Megh said...

Thank you! What a wonderful perspective. As a new lawyer and expectant mother, I am very interested in how women manage motherhood, work, and all the expectations that come with both.

Meredith said...

Just, wow! I hope someday I can be a parent like her :)

Mindy said...

Again, great great interview! I particularly like the question about having time for themselves and the fact that they don't. I thought somehow it was just me :) I also like the question about advice for new moms, since I am one of them.

I'd love to hear from the men in their lives to see their perspective in comparison. I think maybe you have done this before? I love how the men are such huge participants in the family :)

Sarah said...

Blah blah blah, rich white women making 6 figures who don't always abstain from yawning during their dinner dates. What reality are these people coming from? I know you're not going for cutting-edge journalism on this blog, but it couldn't hurt you to dig a little deeper. These interviews sound like you just called up your best friends, and asked if they'd like a guest spot. Do any of these women put their kids on a bus? Or have a serious food budget? Earn less than 50K with 2 children? Take care of elderly family members?

Sally said...

THANK YOU for this series. I am a new mom (baby girl will be 4 months on July 12) who returned to a full-time office job a month ago. I am still trying to find my footing and navigate this new huge, amazing priority with work, marriage, myself...it is so very helpful and inspiring to see how other women manage their time. I can literally feel myself relax when reading these interviews... thanks!!

dina said...

I'm sorry but you are only featuring women who makes lots of money. Hardly an accurate snapshot of how most women balance it all. I do enjoy your blog, but this series is just amazingly shallow & unrealistic. Perhaps you could feature some women who are making less than 80K a year. Or perhaps some single mothers. Or even some women of color.

eastcoastbird said...

what a wonderful inspiring story! I love this series and although I am a living a far less glamourous and much more modest life, I enjoy that these posts are from successful mother's with great jobs, fancy brownstones and a seemingly bigger bank account. Why? Because in the end we are all mothers and I think it just shows that no matter what material things you have at the end of the day we are all hoping to give our children the same things, we all want to be there to tuck them in a night, enjoy bathtime, breakfast and all of those magical moments in between.

Tragic Sandwich said...

This is terrific, and I completely agree with her about the length of the workday. My only caveat would be that a *good* manager will question your efficiency if you're always working until 10 p.m. But there are many, many bad managers who think that's a sign of dedication, not inefficiency.

And managers set the standard. If I get 9 p.m. emails from you, I'm going to think you expect me to be reading them at 9 p.m.

I hope for your next series, you'll feature women who have less exalted and lucrative careers--I don't mind seeing these, but I can't help but notice that these women all have resources that I do not.

ashley said...

I really wish all those complaining about this series would point out where Joanna said she was featuring a 'typical' woman. Her intro post to this series simply said mothers who work full-time in office jobs who are all doing well in their fields...and for the purpose of the series, wanted to choose women who were in similar situations - which makes sense to me for comparisons. I think it's great that she encourages such open dialogue and I love reading others comments but I think it's a shame that so many are quick to criticize the series and the women. It'd definitely be interesting to see a teacher, nurse, etc as some have suggested but I so wish it was suggested in a nicer way. There doesn't seem to be a need to attack Joanna or these amazing women just because this series doesn't represent you or those you know. It's a peek into others lives.

I think we could have a little more respect and an open mind towards these women who have so openly shared their story with us. I imagine many of them were once at the bottom and have had to work their way up to where they are now...while some do get handed things, success doesn't often come overnight. We don't have the backstory on these women but I bet they've all had their share of struggles. And now that they have the money and possibly a position of power, they are using it a way that seems to make them happy. Nothing wrong with that if you ask me. I personally find it very interesting to see how these successful women make their lives work and if I didn't, I hope I could come up with some constructive criticism (and don't get me wrong, some readers have!). It's one week on Cup of Jo, a series of posts, - and I imagine Joanna has other great weeks planned where perhaps she will talk to other mothers who may represent the 'typical' mom as suggested. Or the not so typical mom. There are many types of us out there. Suggestions are great, and I'm sure helpful, but I wish it didn't have to get so personal. Why are we so quick to judge?

Joanna, I love this series and do hope it continues with a wide variety of moms (and dads too!). Thanks to you and these ladies for the glimpse of how other handle their everyday lives. Joanna, you always seem to handle things with such class and you have my utmost respect.

Angie said...

I always love to hear about other mom's who have reached a point in their career where they say -- I am doing a good job and working late everyday isn't the reason! I am always accused of over communicating and it works! Thank You! New mom's always need more reassurance when it comes to their careers.

Angie

Courtney said...

This was an awesome post. I wonder how the mother-friendly office environment Pilar speaks of compares for fathers. My husband's job requires constant late nights and weekends, and because few of the men he works with are fathers, I think they don't understand that need for family time. Many of the women, however, are mothers, and I wonder if they find the office family-friendly. I think it's less socially acceptable for men to make time for their families than for women (though obviously, this depends on the office).

Also, I agree with some of the comments, it would be nice if a future mother/balance series focused on women who don't have high-paying jobs!

kate said...

I think this is my favorite post so far.

Ella @ The Bright Side Project said...

This is such a fantastic series. I enjoy all of them. It is so refreshing to prioritizing well and being able to have beautiful lives with great jobs and families!

chic81.com said...

I think that these situations are still comparable to the middle class, you just have to think about your situation and figure out what would work. Of course these women make more than middle America or the average middle class mom, most live in NYC or San Francisco, the two most expensive places to live in the country, salaries are adjusted accordingly. Also, I am not sure how old most of these women are, but some of them have mentioned they are around 40, or older. So, they've also had longer to establish a career and thus were farther ahead when they had children or adopted.

Overall, I think that this series has emphasized flexibility. I live in Chicago and know several middle class moms (in fact I know one who would do an interview if asked!) who are dual income families and manage to have a nanny part of the time because they have flexibility in their employment hours. More and more, I think families need to ask for the flexibility from their employers and/or establish certain hours. I truly believe that as long as I am doing my work and doing an excellent job, if I had children, then my employer would allow me some flex-situation so that I could establish a routine while the children are still young, in order to keep me sane and allow me to do work to the best of my ability.

I am not trying to pick a fight here at all, but I think we can all learn from one another no matter what our situation may be.

Anonymous said...

chic81.com... YES! Perfectly said. :)

Elaine said...

"Sarcasm (passive aggression in joker's clothing) is death to the marriage; we are trying to excise it from our home. Not easy. Nice underwear, a regular(ish) wax." Love it.

I hope this series continues to grow! I'd love to hear from some women in academia, single moms, and, as others have said, women with lower profile careers. Thank you for another great interview, Joanna!

dervla @ The Curator said...

love this one! a little one breathing through the crack of the door in the bathroom, how true is that!!?

Lisamarie said...

I think Pilar sounds amazing. I love that she gets to spend nice time with her kids in the morning. I hope to be able to do that when I do have kids. Did she says she lives in the same house as other family members? I would love to hear more about that! Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Love the whole post, but I hope she knows that by sending those emails out about new ideas at 9pm- that's showing her team that they should be expecting it and responding, encroaching on other's time who may have tried to completely finish their work and logged off at 7pm. If those were just saved as drafts and sent in the morning for the team, then I would agree this plan is awesome. :)

If my manager sends an email at 9pm, I'll expect them and never be able to turn off work and enjoy finding my own family.

his little lady said...

her life is a dream! what the perfect interview! thank you for sharing!!!
xo TJ

Janan said...

I don't understand the "her life is a dream" or "wow, what balance" comments. She says personal time is on the toilet and kid time is while waking up or going to sleep, oh and maybe while brushing teeth, and husband time is a semi-annual thing...Where's the having it all part? All of the interviews have read like this! All any of these ladies have is a sounds-cool job:)

Johanna said...

I felt very detached from the blog reading this series. I know Joanna said that it was purposefully going to be about women with similar types of jobs at similar levels, but I find a discussion of the "struggle to balance work and life" feels naive, elitist, and kind of mean when we are using women from this bracket as the implied examples of "regular women". I think of basically all the mothers at the school where I work who work constantly and do not have flexibility in their jobs, can not afford huge, magazine type homes, nannies, or ordering in food. And yes, some of them are single mothers. THAT is where the challenge is. THAT is the "how does she do it" question that I have. These women have it very, very, easy by comparison.

Monique said...

I have been reading all of the series, and this one has been the most enjoyable. She really seems to have a grasp on balancing the kids and hubby. I love the idea of a weekend/week getaway - SO NECESSARY! Thanks for sharing, especially the tip about leaving when you leave - it's spot on!

Ester said...

I love the art on her kitchen walls. I am decorating and want those really bad. Could you ask her where are those from? Thanks!

Poet said...

Loved it.

Gina Ortiz said...

Wao! Thanks so much for this interview. I identify myself so much with Pilar's words regarding the after hours being in work. I do the same thing. I am gone at 5:00pm but work all day trying to do my tasks as diligent as I can. If any is left out I work in my home after my 7 and half months old baby is asleep. Pilar's message is the same I try to convey to any mother who feels need to be after hours in the office to show they are getting the job done. Happy mommy happy and productive employee. That's my mantra.

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