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. Thank you for your continued support!
No. 52: Sheri Silver, Blogger
Where I live: Irvington, NY
Job: Blogger: Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
Kids: A girl (23) and two boys (6 and 18)
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
The job I have now isn’t even the same job I had 3 years ago! But my longest—and most recent stint before blogging—was having my own landscape design business for 10 years. When my youngest turned 2—and I felt like I had finally come up for air—I was yearning for something new. The blog came about as a creative outlet for all of my other passions (aside from gardening), and quickly became THE passion. I shut down my business at the end of 2013 and couldn’t be happier to be doing what I’m doing!
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Of course it’s overrated. But it always has been. The main difference now is the pervasive influence that social media has had on the sheer quantity of people you are exposed to each day—who all seem to have it more together than you do (especially if they’re handy with an Instagram filter). I believe this has a direct effect on how we feel about our own lives—and what we “have” or “don’t have”—as a result.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
No part—because I don’t subscribe to the idea. Here’s the definition of balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. In “real” life this is just not possible. Worse? The feeling that it IS possible, and that you are too inept to achieve it. After a divorce and remarriage, two grown kids and one “surprise” baby, I’ve learned to look at the square on the calendar that represents “today” and not much beyond that. Because getting through today—as I’m sure is the case for most of us—is more than enough.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? “It’s not personal.”
From your mother? That you will always be tired while you’re in the thick of raising children.
From your kids? Parenting my amazing kids has prioritized my world in a way that trumps any advice they (or anyone else) could ever give me. There is nothing like an unexpected stint in the pediatric emergency ward to suddenly shift what “really” needed to be done that day into sharp focus.
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?
It would be a toss-up between getting my hair blown out or a massage.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That I should have paid attention to what I REALLY wanted to do professionally, versus digging myself deeper and deeper into a field I was never meant to be in.
What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
That I’m living each day TRULY mindfully—making thoughtful choices that are driven by what’s within, rather than what I “think” the outside world is expecting.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Whose job do you wish you had?
Christina Tosi’s (pastry chef of Momofuku Milk Bar).
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Teacher—very few jobs do I admire more, yet could never imagine doing.
Oh boy—tough! The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, About Alice by Calvin Trillin, No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
Activity? Re- (and sometimes re-re-) watching entire series (see: Breaking Bad and Weeds).
Food? Fountain Diet Coke (likely accompanied by McDonald’s french fries).
Website? Refinery 29 (I can’t not click).
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
What do you read every morning?
Email and Facebook.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: should be the “50+” face of Madewell.
I wish I: could speak fluent Italian.
My kids: are the most amazing individuals I’ve had the privilege of sharing my life with.
I’m Sheri Silver—mom of three, wife to one, and author of Donuts, Dresses and Dirt. It’s the place where I get to write about and share all the things I truly love—baking and cooking, gardening, shopping, parenting, and my adventures in and around New York City (both alone and with my family). I’m also a food writer for Babble and a contributing editor to VRAI Magazine. When not busy with the above, you can find me running (slowly), forgetting to breathe during yoga, or chugging a fountain Diet Coke. Mary Louise Parker is my spirit animal. I will take a really good cheeseburger over a four-star meal any day of the week.
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