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. Every Friday I’ll feature a new interview. Here’s what Jenny Hutt had to say…
No. 11: Jenny Hutt, Media Personality
Where I live: Long Island, NY
Job: You mean JobS!: Mom, Wife, TV/Radio Personality/Host, Lawyer, Author. Human.
Ages/genders of kids: 15-year-old boy, almost 14-year-old girl
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I have a different professional life now than before I had kids. Arguably, I had very little professional life before I had kids! I found my passion late in life… ick. Did I just say I found my passion?!
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I am not sure what the “all” is. I think I just try to appreciate what I have, make sure to have what I (and my family) need with maybe a touch more…
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
There is no balance!!! There is no balance because different aspects of our lives need varying amounts of attention almost moment to moment. Sometimes work needs more time and sometimes my kids need more (usually the case!). Occasionally my husband needs some extra attention. The fun sort of “Me Time” stuff is usually last on my list, but I view my work life as my great indulgence. I am wired that way to feel like mothering/wife-ing are what I am meant to do so any work—even tough work—outside the house I see as my luxury. Somewhat sexist for sure, but I am working on being more okay with needing fulfillment outside the home.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Hmmm.. well, I am not sure it is balance BUT I am getting much better at asking for help from my husband or my sister when I need it.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From your mother? My mom said always have a shoemaker put bottoms on my shoes so they never look scuffed when I cross my legs. This is FANTASTIC advice. She also showed by example how to be a fiercely loving mom to limitless kids. AND she shared her flaws which is an incredible gift to me years later, because I am an incredibly flawed mother and I get how normal and ok that is!
From your kids? My kids teach me about unconditional love on a daily basis. I live for my babies in the most primal way. They are each extraordinary in their own ways. And their flaws are what make them perfect… to me. I’ve also learned that my kids really appreciate honest parenting and a sense of humor. We approach almost everything with a sense of humor. Actually come to think of it, my kids are a little too good at using sarcasm.
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?
Let’s add: and nothing has calories… I would eat a pizza or a big plate of pasta or pancakes. I am PMS so my mind is cloudy! Or I would do karaoke somewhere. I love to sing.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
I wish I’d known that I would get married and have kids. I didn’t let myself have enough fun because I was so worried so much of the time!
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
My anxiety prevents me from looking so far ahead.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
I would love to outsource the scheduling of the kids’ various appointments. I can take them everywhere, but the actual booking of the myriad of time-consuming/juggling appointments… arghhhh.
Whose job do you wish you had?
I don’t think I would be good at anyone else’s job! But I love how Meredith Viera’s career turned out so far. And Wendy Williams… I adore her! I would’ve liked to be a doctor had math and science not been required.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
OHHHHH. I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple and We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green wrecked me. What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty was good. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt was good but not a great payoff. I loved Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline.
What are you reading right now?
NOTHING. I need a great book. [Pardon my interruption into your interview, Jenny, but might I suggest On Grace!?!]
Activity? I spend too much time on the Internet!
Food? Candy and carbs. Pizza is my favorite food.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
What do you read every morning?
Twitter, nytimes.com, and theweek.com.
Complete the following sentences:
I think: everyone needs to laugh a bit more and be more honest about struggle. Laugh while being honest about our struggles!
I wish I: had less anxiety.
My kids: are my reason for being which gives them tremendous responsibility. So how about… my kids are really interesting people. And delicious!
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
After finishing Tufts University, Jenny graduated from Hofstra University Law School (yes she’s licensed and in good standing) and then studied voice and acting. Soon, she met her future husband, Keith Hutt. They married within a year and a half, settled in her hometown on Long Island – right next door to her parents and her sister, Stacy – and had two children. Once they reached school-age, Jenny was finally able to focus on her career and the unexpected on-air opportunities that presented themselves. Currently, Jenny is the host of Just Jenny, a daily call-in show airing Monday through Friday from 10AM EST on SiriusXM Stars channel. On the show, she tackles subjects you would only think to discuss with your best friends, inviting listeners to engage an honest, humorous dialogue on a variety of topics and issues. Jenny appears frequently on television, including as co-host on HLN’s Dr. Drew on Call and as a special correspondent for CBS/YAHOO’s OMG! INSIDER. She can also be seen many nights on HLN’s ShowBiz Tonight.
Please share your own tips on balance and check back every Friday for another interview from THE BALANCE PROJECT. Better yet, subscribe in the box to the right and I’ll let you know when a new one 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