I stumbled upon Kathy Buckworth on Twitter when one of my tweeps called her book, “The BlackBerryDiaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood“, “snot bubble funny.” It was love at first tweet. Her enthusiasm and passion for life, her family and her writing are contagious. Kathy is an award-winning writer, with five books to her name, as well as making TV appearances in Canada too numerous to list. Kathy lives with her husband and four children in Canada.
Here is a quick look at some of her thoughts on blending a successful career with motherhood.
What was the most surprising thing to you about motherhood?
It takes up so much time! I went from working full time corporate with 3 kids to working from home with 4. And now I feel like I have a whole team of bosses, instead of just one. Plus they won’t let me give them a performance review. I think what it comes down to is the lack of control you have over any particular parenting moment. For an A Type like me, that’s been tough.
What is a typical week or day for you? I’m wondering how you find balance in your tv appearances, book promotions and motherhood.
Define “typical”. I work what I call a “blended” day – never have liked the word balance, or juggle – and that’s precisely what it is. I schedule in everything I can in advance – from work outs to field trips to writing time, TV appearances, record keeping, networking, volunteer commitments… and writing thank you notes. It’s a challenge sometimes but I have a terrific support network with neighbours, friends, and my husband who help me make sure we end the day with the same number of kids as we started with. Usually. Today I started with writing an article, getting kids to school, meeting with a PR rep, doing a TV segment, heading to the doctor, taking a conference call, getting my driver’s license renewed, hitting the grocery store, filling out a report, returning emails, and now working until kids are off bus, homework, driving to a tutoring session, dinner, AND I have to find time to Twitter as well, of course!
If you were childless for one week what would you do?
I actually experienced this when I traveled throughout the US on my book tour with The BlackBerry Diaries this summer. Childless and being away from home gave me so much spare time I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. I think ideally I’d probably head for a spa…but I do love my work so I’d take that with me too.
What’s your most hilarious and/or humiliating parenting memory?
It usually involves me yelling at my kids in a grocery store, in my own driveway or in a quiet library…and then having someone say to me “Aren’t you that woman who writes all those parenting books?” I usually say no, I just look like her.
If you could be sure your children learned one lesson from you, what would it be?
Not to take themselves too seriously and to try to find the lighter side of everything.
What made you want to be a writer?
I like making people laugh, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my writing can do that. Most of the time.
Has the juggling act of motherhood and career become easier or more difficult as your children have gotten older? Why?
I think it’s just changed. When they’re smaller it’s mostly a physical demand, and now that I have one in university it’s become more of a mental thing. Why can’t she hold on to her money? Why does she have to stay out until 2:00? Why does she still need me to make her a grilled cheese sandwich at 18 years old? I guess now that they’re older they do understand that I do have work demands I must meet, and they have been lucky to get some perks through it (tv shows, tickets, special treatment), so hopefully they see the benefit of me doing what I do.
What do you wish you had known before you had kids?
Not sure – I’m always surprised actually when people say “I had no idea”, and I think “well what did you expect – that everyone else who’s ever had kids was lying about how hard it was or was just doing a really bad job? Being a parent is exactly what I thought it would be. My expectations are low.
When you desperately need to laugh, what is the one thing you know you can always count on for a laugh?
I love reading humourous books. I love David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, and my favourite is Dorothy Parker. I go back to her books again and again. That being said, there’s nothing like watching 100 Groin Hits on America’s Funniest Videos for a real laugh.
How do you feel blogging and social media have affected your book promotion and sales?
I know that Twitter in particular has raised my profile and connected me with some amazing people, both personally and professionally. I don’t see myself as a blogger – I write online to support the “paper” writing that I do, and I love it as a way to get information/thoughts out immediately. I love social media in general. Totally addicted.
What was the longest you went without shaving or showering after having kids?
Are you kidding? I never missed a shower or a shave I didn’t want to have. It’s so therapeutic (the showering, not the shaving so much) that I always took at least five minutes to put them in their crib/playpen/in a car seat in front of the shower stall. Because everybody knows, if Mom’s happy, everyone is happy.
You can visit Kathy’s blog, follow her on Twitter, or pre-order “Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Children, Chicken and Chardonnay.” (Available April 2010 in the US.) Amazon.com only had FOUR copies of “The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood,” available earlier today. You’d better HURRY, if you don’t want to have to wait for your copy!