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 brings new changes to The Balance Project! First, 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. Second, 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. 42: Tracy Pollan, Actor and Writer
Where I live: New York City
Job: Actor and Writer
Kids: A son (25) and three daughters (19-year-old twins and a 13-year-old)
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
Yes, I have been an actor since I was 18 years old but I just wrote my first book. I have always loved cooking and wanted to try something new.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Having it all means different things to different people. For me it means the health and happiness of my family and myself. I take it day to day, but today we have it all!
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I am very proactive and do not like things hanging over my head. I like to check things off my list, but sometimes it’s best to stop stressing about things out of my control.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I am getting better at balancing what I need to do for myself in order to feel whole—exercise, time to read, sleep, and see friends. This enables me to better take care of the needs of my family. It also sets a good example for my daughters.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From your mother? My mother never lectured but always taught by example. She is one of the kindest people I know.
From your spouse? Choose to be happy.
From your kids? Work hard, play hard.
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?
Reading The New York Times in full and doing the crossword puzzle.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
To wear more sunscreen and do tricep exercises EVERY DAY.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
I hope to know how to really let go of the result and enjoy the journey.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Whose job do you wish you had?
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
What are you reading right now?
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
What do you read every morning?
My Words with Friends notifications.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am incredibly lucky.
I wish I: could sing.
My kids: make me happy.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” –Albert Camus
Tracy Pollan is an Emmy award–nominated actress who has enjoyed a successful career in television and film, and on the Broadway stage. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Michael J. Fox, and their four children. She has served on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research since its inception in 2000. Equal to Tracy’s commitment to social causes and the arts is her lifelong passion for wholesome food, lovingly prepared. Tracy has always been a food enthusiast, to the delight of her husband and children. The Pollan Family Table is Tracy’s first book written in collaboration with her mother Corky and sisters Lori and Dana. Her brother Michael Pollan, a best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Cooked, and other books, wrote the foreword to The Pollan Family Cookbook.
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