My Balance: Erica Rivinoja from “Up All Night”

Erica Rivinoja is a writer and consulting producer for the sitcom “Up All Night” and a writer/producer for “South Park.” She lives in L.A. with her husband, Prince, and their two-year-old son, Ivan. They’re also expecting a “lady baby” (as she puts it) in October. Here’s how she attempts to balance it all…

1. What’s your work schedule?
Recently it’s been super hectic. I’ve been doing three days a week on NBC’s “Up All Night” and the other four days on “South Park.” I work on “Up All Night” from about 10am to 7pm, unless we’re shooting my episode, in which case I’m there from about 7am to 9pm. My days on “South Park” are much easier; we only work from about 9:30am to 1pm, so I usually have my afternoons free to play with Ivan, write my own projects, run errands, go to the gym, fight crime or do the occasional fun thing for myself.

2. How do you handle childcare?
We have the best nanny in the world, Ana. She’s really flexible with her schedule, which is great because sometimes we need her early in the morning or on the weekends. Before Ivan was born, we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to guarantee her forty hours a week, but she regularly works fifty to sixty hours a week. And she’s a wonderful cook, which is great for Ivan. If I were solely in charge of cooking for the family, we’d eat a lot of Goldfish (capital G) and take-out.

3. When do you typically hang with your child?
I don’t have to be at “Up All Night” until about 10:00 AM, so I get to see Ivan in the morning. My husband is an anesthesiologist and is usually gone in the mornings, so Ivan and I get some alone time. My work at “South Park” is usually only about a half day, so I also get to see Ivan in the afternoons and evenings on those days. If we have free weekends, we’ll go on outings to the park, the museum, or (don’t judge me) the mall. I figure it’s important to teach him consumerism at an early age.

4. What do you like best about your current setup?
Because of our awesome nanny situation, I get to work on several different projects at once. I like that I get to work on two very different shows, yet I still have time to work on my own things. Even though it’s a little hectic having so much going on, it’s nice to have variety in my work life. I couldn’t do that if our nanny weren’t so flexible and my husband weren’t so supportive.

5. What do you find tricky about your current set-up?
I wish that my jobs were closer to my house. It would be so nice to be able to see Ivan on my lunch break. But it’s about a thirty minute commute each way. And when I need to write at home, that also has its challenges. I have my own office upstairs, but it’s also the hangout for our two cats. So if it’s not a two-year-old screaming downstairs, it’s a cat chewing on my laptop. I definitely thought it would be easier to work at home when I had a child. People used to make it seem like it was so easy. Before Ivan was born, I thought I’d just write while he would play quietly by himself. Boy, was I wrong.

6. How do you and your husband fit marriage into the balance?
It’s tough. Ivan definitely changed our relationship. Suddenly, everything became about the baby. Now we really have to make time for each other. Before the baby we used to travel all over the world (India, Tanzania, Ecuador, everywhere) and have these intense, wonderful experiences just the two of us. We still try to take a big trip just the two of us each year—since Ivan was born, we’ve gone to Hawaii, Israel and Spain—but I find that people are very judgmental of us leaving the baby at home with his grandparents and our nanny. People act weird and say things like, “Wow, I don’t know if I could ever do that.” But if your life becomes just about focusing on the children, it’s really easy to lose sight of the relationship that brought the children into being.

7. Do you have any time for yourself?
Very little. I used to spend a lot of time at home by myself, just enjoying the peace. But now I have to get out of the house to find peace. People always say after you’ve have a baby, “Oh, can you even remember what life was like before the little miracle?” And my answer is, “Yes! Definitely! And life was wonderful!” Not that my life isn’t wonderful now; I adore Ivan. But I definitely miss those times when I could just spend infinite time at Target perusing the aisles and buying trashy clothes and cheap make-up. Now most of my shopping is on,, and Amazon Prime (it’s worth the extra 80 bucks a year for two-day delivery). Time for myself is so precious now, so I make sure to really indulge myself. I go to the spa, spend time with my brilliant friends, or watch garbagey TV. I think I miss garbagey TV the most. But I wouldn’t trade Ivan for “Toddlers & Tiaras”…most of the time.

8. Who cooks and cleans?
Our nanny cooks for Ivan. Prince and I usually order in or ask our nanny if she can stay late and we’ll go out for dinner, or Prince and I will fend for ourselves. Thank god for Whole Foods prepared meals.

9. Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Have you talked to other women about it?
A few other moms work with me on “Up All Night,” and we all agree that we feel like terrible moms most of the time, just because we can’t make it to every toddler music class and every baby birthday party. But we all agree that we would not feel as fulfilled if we didn’t have our jobs. I want Ivan to see me as a role model for all that a woman can achieve at home and at work. I have a surprising number of friends who are stay-at-home moms. They find great fulfillment in that, but that’s not me. When Ivan’s off to college (hopefully college, or off to work on a shrimp boat), I want to make sure that I haven’t spent 18 years solely as a mom, and suddenly I’m struggling to find out who I am and define myself as a woman.

10. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?
Don’t lose yourself in your identity as a mother. You were a woman before you met your husband/partner. You were a woman before you had your children. Don’t lose sight of who that person is. Spend as much time with your children as you can, but don’t feel bad if you’re spending time at work. Enjoy that time that you spend contributing to society, even if it’s mostly fart jokes, like I do. When you’re at home, be present with your child. It’s quality over quantity, always.

Thank you so much, Erica!

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

  1. Johnny Spurlock says...

    Wow Erica has become such a busy woman and I’m sure a wonderful Mom and Wife.

    I remember how she used to have time to make me Zucchini Bread and bring it to my front door!!!

    How fun!

  2. Peggy says...

    Her husband Prince and I were friends during high school in NYC! How crazy to find this profile of them. I so relate to everything she says. I could never be a stay at home mom. I would go crazy…and I almost did after I spent the first 8 months at home!

    I love how honest she is about everything and I hate judgemental people. I am planning a weekend away with girlfriends in June and the fact that I worry what others will say or think upsets me.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only mom out there who remembers that life before kids was great (and easier!) and now I know I’m not. Thank you!

  3. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Kermit and toddler Ella. Here, Janet talks about how she tries to find balance (including moving her family cross-country. Páginas Amarillas

  4. lg says...

    Obviously this is a sensitive subject and people tend to measure things from their own perspective although we are all different individuals with different needs. I have been reading this blog for many years without comment and I very much enjoy Joanna´s posts and how insightful and honest many of the readers comments are. We do not have to agree on how we live our lives, there is no secret formula for raising your kids, having a good time or being successful. We just have to try to respect each other and find joy in our own situations.

    Here is a confession ..I have children myself and as a freelancer for many years my job routine is hectic. While I love my family very much and find them wonderful companions I would never consider being a stay at home mom, it just isn´t for me. Honestly I would be a terrible stay at home mom. Even if financially I did not have to work I still feel working (as a creative person) and connecting with likeminded individuals is the thing I want and need to do. It may seem strange to some to work only to pay the same amount for schools and daycare but both me and my kids would loose our minds if we were together 24/7. Plus my kids have needs to be around other kids as well and I know my kids are happy with both parents working. Perhaps I´m not the average kind of mom but I think this is something a lot of my friends relate to as well.

  5. Alexandra says...

    Oh my God, Finally someone I can relate to! I am so tired of people not taking trips/refusing week-ends and dinners because they have children… This is pretty much my set up as well.

    She’s hilarious, too.

  6. Sally Cage says...

    Loving this series, Jo!

    Can I just give a big *HIGH FIVE* to the commenter Anna Culp for her comment…

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!


  7. HAHA! Your answer to Number 7 is so me, and one of the main reasons having children terrifies me! Seriously, just last weekend I walked through target (trying to buy ONE SPECIFIC THING) and left with flip flops and three $30dresses! I love the honesty of saying you loved your life before your child, but that you wouldn’t trade what you have now for that life. So great!

  8. Amy says...

    I found this whole series very sad. People who have little time to devote to their marriage, themselves, and their children. I’m not sure when raising children became optional, or a luxury.

    As a child of a mom who worked 50 plus hours a week (and still does, at age 61), I have little sympathy for these women and feel for their kids. I had very caring babysitters (not called “nannies” at that point), but they were not replacements for my parents. I remember crying myself to sleep after my mom said she would be home to tuck me in, pick me up from school, attend recitals, etc. but was later “too busy” at work. My father also worked and made a very comfortable living, and was home most evenings by 8pm.

    I have made a decision to never work more than part time while raising my children. This meant that I took a significant pay cut, we had to move to a smaller house in a less desirable city, and I can’t afford to buy some of the clothes that I want, but it has been 100% worth it. I really think that my decision to cut back has made a huge positive difference in my marriage and my relationship with my children (and their relationships with each other).

    My mother raised me to never be “one man away from welfare” (her words, not mine) and now she has accused me of wasting my college and grad degree. I was so grateful for the Atlantic article and purposely left it at her house. I hope she will read it and consider my perspective. I understand that work has been very meaningful for her (my father made a very comfortable living and my mother was not working for the money, necessarily) but I think she missed out on us growing up. I don’t know if that’s a great trade-off.

    I know that no one will read this, since I posted it so late. However, the idea that women, or men, or children, “can have it all” is a lie. I don’t know if I celebrate the women in this series or pity them.

  9. This series has been an answer to my prayers. As a newer mom (October 2011) – I have really struggled with how to find balance. I work in advertising, am working on my masters and have found this life as a new mom to be completely overwhelming. I have a wonderful husband who stays home with our little girl, but I feel so guilty being at work and then so guilty when I can’t get all my work done to the level I want to. Today, I have had a revelation that all moms struggle with how to do well – at motherhood, marriage and career. It’s great to know I am not alone and also great to get some much needed perspective. Thank you SOOO much for doing this series.

  10. Anonymous says...

    Janan, really agree. I spoke to someone much older them me, who had 7 kids. Old school Mom. She said the same thing, women are fulling themselves and becoming slaves to their work and boss.

  11. Anonymous says...

    I think it is good to go back to work after you become a mum, as what happens if the marriage dissolves and you still have young children living at home and need to start financially supporting them? I’ve read articles about men having a midlife crisis and running off with their secretary and the wife, who was a stay at home mum, has been out of the workforce for so long that she struggles to find a job. I think we need to be prepared for anything – you never, ever know what will happen so it is important to be able to take care of yourself if necessary.

  12. I think the idea that you can’t begin anything new after your kids leave is ridiculous. And also the idea that if you’re staying home with your kids you can’t do anything awesome? I have MORE time for awesomeness than any of these featured ladies! lol. I am raising awesome people. I have 4 kids and am a SAHM and I have a full happy life. I have time for my kids, me, and my husband (you know, that guy you made vows to?) The working mom is a slave to her schedule & boss & commute etc…, not me! I am Queen:)

  13. Michele says...

    Mandee, I work full time and have a toddler, and I do work out regularly. It requires a little creativity but I squeeze it in. I do a lot of it at home after my sons bedtime, and on the one night a week my husband picks up from daycare I go to a s class. I don’t run, but my husband does and he just does it in the neighborhood before dinner if he gets home early enough. Anyway, just wanted to tell you it is possible!

  14. Alicia says...

    Gotta agree with Ms. A. As a new mom recently back to work, I have been enjoying this series and I plan to go back and read the one that features moms that are at home with their kids. I can’t help but notice, though, that so many of these wonderful women you profile have (the resources for) nannies, international vacations, etc. That’s fabulous, but not an option for me or any of the women I know. How about including some folks in lower income brackets in the next series?

  15. hey Joanna, I have been enjoying all these posts about mom’s. I am 26, not yet married and no kids but this is a one day for me! I am loving reading about it and it sounds like such a challenge. Something that is SO important to me is fitness and I haven’t read about any fitness into these women’s days! Where do they find the time to work out? If these women don’t, hopefully we can read about some women who make that a priority and how they squeeze it in! I want babies but I can’t bear the thought of giving up running and Pilates. thank you!

  16. kristina says...

    it’s always interesting hearing about other people’s lives. is it just me wondering about the work/life balance of the nanny? I’m sure she has a wonderful job, but working 50-60 hours per week?

  17. Anonymous says...

    I liked her alot until her stay at home mom comments. Those are fighting words woman! I personally feel I’m contributing to society by raising secure, happy children that know that I’m there for them. Believe me, it can be a very thankless and at times bleak job, but it’s not less important than what you are doing. I find many children of working families to be moody, whiny and clingy around their parents. And a handful of them to have behavioral problems in class. And many of them lack social skills as well. No offense, but thats what I see. and I see it because I’m there every day picking up my children and chit chatting with the nannies. I also live in a major city. One child I know fakes some kind of sickness whenever his mom has some time off. I asked him why he gets sick everytime his mom is not working and he told me that he misses her…alot! So, there’s definitely some trade offs I guess to working and for staying at home. If it means that I’m will be so BORED when they go off to college… that’s okay. As long as they are happy, well adjusted, secure and knew that I was there for them, then I can deal with that :)

  18. Mimi H says...

    This is a nice coment I promise :)I come to your website every day for my relaxing, calming, stop working and breathe time, and I was dreading coming today, because I am a working out of the home mom and I hate it, this series was making me sad :( but this post really made me laugh and cry and I guess I need to stop feeling bad about myself and be happy and work with what I do have. Erica is very funny, she made me laugh, so thanks for her profile.

  19. I love this blog, but I gotta say, I’m over this series. White women, nannies, top jobs as television and magazine writers?

    Come on, now…

  20. It’s funny because a few days ago I was just thinking how it would be a good idea if you wrote posts on balancing work and having a baby. It’s been super hard to figure out, I’m not there yet but love knowing I’m not the only one! Thanks:)

  21. Anonymous says...

    Although these women are in different career fields and economic level from myself, I am finding them enjoyable to read. I am learning new ways to fit time in for myself and spouse. My hubby and I have dropped the ball in this area and need to reconnect. So I can’t afford a night out on Broadway, but I can do a high school play or even catch a free summer park performance. Can’t do the international trip but a day trip to a new town works just the same. Thanks Joanna!

  22. DI says...

    It’s great to hear how these women balance their lives. This series is very interesting as I’ve never really had a desire to have children. It makes me realize that having kids is not for everybody. I don’t want to worry about childcare and not being able to go when I please. It might sound selfish but that is why I don’t plan on having any. I also find this competition between working moms vs stay at home moms to be odd. They both seem very difficult and stressful in it’s own very different way. Being a mother is a tough job. I do love the never lose who you are statement. I think that should be applied to all mothers regardless of finance, stay at home, working mom, etc. Thanks for the insight. I loved reading this post as well as the rest of the series.

  23. Yes! Number 7, yes YESSSS! My sister-in-law kept saying that after I had our baby late last year, “Can you even remember what you did before him?” and my mind would be flooded with – “went to the movies, read a book, slept all night, took a nap, ran into the store with just a credit card and car key in my pocket,” etc. Of course I love my baby, but come on.

    I’m also a stay-at-home mom but really would like to get back to work, I really miss it. I think people assume that women feel fulfilled staying home with kids when in fact, some don’t. :) Love these interviews!

  24. As an older(49) reader, I find this series fascinating. I remember struggling with striking a balance when my children were babies and feeling like their 18th birthdays were eons away and that the bleary-eyed morning rush into the world would never get better. And while I hesitate to define myself because at any given moment I am something else, the title of mother has brought me more joy than other I have held. My boys are now kind, talented, empathic young men and this is my greatest success. Striking a balance was always difficult but I have never wished for more days at work as I now long and ache with all my heart and soul for more days with my sons. I know you hear it every day, and in my mind I can see myself rolling my eyes, but those 18 years go by so very, very quickly. Admire your careers for they are powerful, amazing accomplishments, but try to embrace “Mom” for all the beauty,grace and light that it can bring to the world every day.

  25. Anonymous says...

    Thanks, Joanna! I am really enjoying these interviews…

    I have to disagree with a previous commenter who said kids do not admire their mothers for working but for only being with them.. My mum was (is, actually!) a working mum, and I am so proud of her career and I see her as a role model.

    I have many friends that complaint or are sorry because their mothers only occupation was being a stay at home mother (which in Argentina usually means, having a full time nanny/maid to the the housework, as well) and after their kids grew up have nothing to do.

    A few years ago my father and mother got divorced, and although it was tough for both my parents, and for my siblings and I, my mother did not have to worry about her financial situation because she is capable of providing for herself (and helping us, too :)).

    She is a great role model, and a great mother, who always spent time with us, despite having to work very long hours

  26. These are tough decisions, and there are too many variables at play to judge yourself or others so harshly.

    The thing is, most women make less money than men for the same work. Women also tend to have careers that are non-linear, which means their income gains are non-linear. If you are thinking about having a family, you should talk to people with similar jobs in your city because childcare costs vary so much. I enjoy these interviews even though I can’t really relate to their jobs, incomes, or childcare options.

    I get hung up on the logistics of work and babies, so it’s nice to read these interviews and focus on the universal experiences of being a mother, wife, and woman.

  27. This one is my fav, by far! I love how she talks about not feeling guilty for not being a SAHM. My mom was a single parent, so she always worked, bc thats how we lived…my fiance’s mother was a SAHM, so I’ve see both sides & heard both stories. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Erica is totally my kind of gal! she is so funny. I totally meander the aisles of Target as if I have all the time in the world. I will take my future kids to the mall, and I will probably miss the free time I have now as a single woman.

  29. Anonymous says...

    Parenting comments – check.
    “Up all Night” comments – check.
    Did you guys forget something?

    Erica writes for South Park! Never mind your parenting differences, give the woman some virtual high-fives — or a medal, for crying out loud — for THAT!

    Thanks, Erica. And thanks to your foul-mouthed co-workers for all you do. Good luck with your girly offspring, or whatever you called her.

  30. I love this series – thank you Joanna! Also greatful for the positive discussion. I second seeing some SAHM/D posts – would love that! (I don’t agree that Joanna is a SAHM)

  31. As a full-time work out of the home mom, I love this series!! However, it seems all of the moms have nannies. It would be nice to have some representation from moms who have grandmas or neighbors or daycares (my case). While having a nanny would be wonderful, it’s outside of our family budget.

    Thanks as always for your thoughtfulness!

  32. I wasn’t sure I could love South Park anymore but now, knowing that such a rad chick is part of the SP team, I do. Erica – keep up the great work as both a Mom and a fart joke writer, you seem to excel at both :-)

  33. Joanna, I really love reading this series. I always love reading about the day-to-day lives of other women, and how they manage :)

  34. Anonymous says...


    What, exactly, do women who cannot afford childcare, but have to work do with their children? Leave them home alone? I guess my point is that someone has to watch a toddler, they cannot be left to their own devices. A series featuring working women does involve childcare. I am sure many of these women would jump at the chance to have family watch their children, but that’s likely not an option.

  35. Christy had a great idea on working moms in other countries. I moved from NYC to hong kong 2 years ago (for my job, not my husbands, which seems to be rare in expat circles). I work full time and just had my 3rd child. Would love to give the perspective from here (both good and bad and just different) if you decide to do an international spin!

  36. Sarah says...

    I don’t have kids, and I’m not sure I want them anytime soon, so it’s really interesting reading the posts as well as the reactions.

    I was raised by a stay at home mum, and we never ever had a babysitter. I was terrified of the idea of babysitters and used to threaten all sorts of things as a child when my mum suggested getting one. Instead we would be cared for by our grandparents who were wonderful and all lived close by, as well as aunts and uncles and friends. It really does take a village!

    So many of the stay at home mums (my own included) lost their purpose. Not all, but a lot. My mum had been a preschool teacher but by the time we left home, she’d been out of the workforce for so long she’d totally lost her confidence to go back.

    I’ve now been out of home for over 12 years and nothing has changed in that time. She went from mothering us to just transferring her mothering skills to my dad. It totally destroys me that this amazing, talented, clever woman could just take such a back seat in her own life. I recently got married and now she wants grandchildren – again to renew her own purpose.

    Many of my friends mums have similar stories and we’ve all said to one another that we need to make a really big effort with ourselves to keep a foot in something, whether it be in the workforce, in clubs, or even volunteering, so this doesn’t happen to us.

    I lived in the USA for a year on student exchange and was totally shocked by the hours my host parents worked. It was insane, though not unlike any of these mothers featured in the series. My host mother used to be up by 5am, at work no later than 7am, work til 5 or 6pm, drive to college where she was studying part time and then come home, have a quick dinner, then get in front of the computer to take care of her second job or do a homework assignment. She’d pass out around midnight or 1am.

    While I personally thought she was insane, I was absolutely amazed by her dedication, and she became a role model for me, despite the fact that I would never work that much myself. The time she spent with us was so awesome – she always put us first as soon as all her other bits and pieces were out of the way. She did so much for me and weekends were always such an adventure. Her own daughter who was 15 at the time didn’t question her hours and absolutely loved her, because once she was with us, she was TOTALLY with us.

    It taught me that nothing with parenting is right or wrong, it’s just different in every family. We must always do something to cherish our own talents and abilities, though! Not necessarily in the workforce, but in something!

  37. Anonymous says...

    Hi Joanna,

    Great series! I in my early twenties, not married and without children, but wondering if I’ll be able to have both a child and a career is something I always wonder about. These women (and the women from the last series!) definitely give me hope and assurance.

    I think it’s interesting that so many people are quick to jump on how all these women can afford daycare or a nanny and thus, they must be rich. I don’t think that’s a fair judgement. No one knows a family’s financial situation from the outside. I think that no matter what your income is, when you are a parent you are going to have to budget and make sacrifices to provide your children with what you think is best. For example, my brother and I had a babysitter after school when my mother was in graduate school. We also had a woman who cleaned the house because my mother didn’t have time and would have immense stress over it. We were by no mean rich, but it was the best situation for my family so my parents gave up other things–my dad drove a truck from the 80s and we got all our clothes on sale or at thrift shops. I wish people weren’t so quick to assume or judge these women’s household incomes! No matter what, mothers are making a sacrifice, and juggling to be the best they can be, and this series proves it!

  38. Anonymous says...

    I think it is important to remember that everyone has to make an effort to “know herself” and not get lost in a secondary identity. My father is a great dad but a successful, hardworking surgeon above all else, and I worry a lot about how he will cope when he retires and that piece of his life recedes.

    (of course, I also understand that a significant downside of losing yourself in sahm–which is what I happen to be–is that you have no money cushion if your world falls apart.)

  39. Geez, I believe this series is about WORKING mothers and finding balance, not just mothers in general. So, that is why there aren’t any sahm’s being interviewed.
    Women have individual reactions and experiences regarding being a wife, being a mother etc. I find it interesting how personal some commenters take her opinions and values.

  40. aleksandra says...

    if you can’t afford nannies, why not use granny? seriously, i was raised by my grandmother as my parents went to school and had jobs. grannies are usually retired and looking for purpose, anyway!

    I loved this interview, and the mom preached truth when she said the marriage must take priority over the children, though both are important. marriage is the core relationship in a family unit, and must be tended, nurtured, and treasured above any children that might spring from it.

  41. Hi Joanna, As a mom and a doctor, I really enjoy all your motherhood posts. I’m American but live in The Netherlands now (and have since my first daughter was born 20 months ago; we are expecting our second child in Dec.). I have really been struck with the differences in my work/life balance and the expectations here— of course, the emotions of mother guilt and the challenge finding a good balance between time with the little one and stimulated job are the same. I think it would be great if you would do a series like this on working mom’s in other countries; I definitely think you have enough international readers to do this. It would be really interesting to read about the differences between places (from maternity leave and childcare subsidies– very good in The Netherlands, hooray!– to work hours and holidays). Thanks, Christy

  42. Anonymous says...

    thanks Joanna, it is a great time to hear that there are many working moms…many different ideas, and in LA there is someone who practise alone from baby holiday, sometimes:) I really like these holiday with my husband alone…hmmm… yummy!!!

  43. Not to start a tiff, but this comment by Anonymous:
    “Someone has to watch your child while you are away. Either you can afford for someone to watch your child, or you stay home”

    is extremely callous. Newsflash: most mothers do NOT have this choice – they can’t afford a nanny, and they can’t afford to stay at home. Sure, the women featured here work very hard and have interesting stories, but the point that several people have made now is that this series of posts is intended to give perspective on the situation of being a working mother — and it’s so far been a fairly one-sided perspective.

    That doesn’t make the posts bad (they’re really interesting!), but for those of us who can’t afford nannies or to stay at home (or even shop at Whole Foods!), it’s hard to gleen any real tips for making the balance.

  44. I too have such mixed feelings on this series. I have a voyeuristic side that loves seeing inside people’s homes, hearing how they live, etc, but you never get the whole, honest picture. I don’t think that any of these women has balance — perhaps that’s the point — in this case the kid seems to give, in other cases definitely the husband/marriage.

    And for those who want profiles of women in minimum-wage jobs, etc, I don’t believe you. These profiles are aspirational — it’s the same reason we say we want magazines with realistic-sized models, but we don’t really want to see size 14 women in fashion spreads. We want these ultra-rare women we can imagine ourselves being… for a moment.

  45. Anonymous says...

    I am really enjoying hese posts. I consulted the last series many times when tarting my return to work after maternity leave. I am from England where all of my friends have taken a year maternity leave, and 6 months is also very normal. It is interesting and sad I think how in the USA women are not supported. Y the government and employment law to have more maternity leave. Good for you any American women who have managed to breeast feed and return to work! Not easy I should imagine.
    I agree that these posts have all focused on high powered women with amazing jobs. But I find that fascinating. Also, it has given me confidence to think, yes me and my husband should go out more, I do need some time to myself. Although I can’t afford a pedicure I can afford to lock myself away and do a home spa. So thanks for the ideas. Your blog is amazing Joanna, great ideas and writing. Kudos? Laura, uk

  46. As a young woman, I find this series completely disheartening. Why is it that only wealthy, white women who are able to have someone else raise their children part-time are looked to as role models? I have been a long time reader of this blog, but I’m not sure I can continue…Much like the magazine covers that tout skinny women as the ideal, I feel like I must be a wealthy woman with a writing career, a husband who works at home, a nanny, and a snarky attitude towards mothers who “lose themselves” to be in the in-crowd.

    I really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings here, and I definitely think that Joanna is a wonderful person, but I am just greatly disappointed in this series and what it is telling the younger generation about how to be a mom.

  47. Anonymous says...

    Let me start off by saying that I’m in love with this blog and read it daily. This series, however, left a negative impression. I second the comments above of many women that felt the same, particularly the following:

    “These women sound wonderful. Certainly they are strong, creative, fortunate wives and mothers. They are what many women aspire to be. But I wouldn’t necessarily consider their lives to be realistic.”

    All of the women featured had nannies and high incomes. Sure, there was an occasional moment here & there about having a lot on your plate or feeling overwhelmed, but most of the interviews felt almost a little too happy. I didn’t really see the struggle of the typical working mother at all – the feelings that I see in my co-workers with children or my own mother.

    Most importantly, I fear that a lot of 20-somethings will read this & think that it’s all attainable. It’s not. (I’m 26, married, & have been thinking a lot lately about what life balance will mean…without the nanny, who we will not probably be able to afford.)

    I realize that you have a certain mood & positive voice to your blog. I normally love this, but perhaps the structure of your blog was not the best medium to convey this complicated issue.

    I also recommend the in-depth, beautiful piece in “The Atlantic” by Anne-Marie Slaughter. Now, that’s a true discussion of the barriers that exist for working mothers. There are no easy answers.

  48. There have been a lot of comments complaining about the lack of relatability to women who have fulfilling/creative/lucrative/fun jobs, and nice houses and flexible nannies, or whatever. As someone who aspires to spend lots of quality time with my child and build a fulfilling career and have a pleasant home and financial security, I DO want to read about women who have those things. I don’t want to read about someone who feels dissatisfied, or who feels like they’ve settled into a field out of desperation. I’d rather learn more about how to get to the quality-time–great nanny–back deck-lifestyle, thanks. :)

  49. Anonymous says...

    I’m not married nor do I have kids but I’d love to read about single moms who juggle with work and raising their children!

  50. Edan says...

    On another note…I like the show “Up All Night” but quite frankly I’m surprised actual moms write for that series because it’s easy to forget Christina Applegate and Will Arnett’s characters are parents their baby is so absent from their lives. Sometimes they leave at a moment’s notice from their house…and I’m like, um, what about the baby?! It’s a sweet, funny show, but I do wish parenthood were a more central subject, as the premise suggested it would be.

  51. I have to say I LOVE reading about everyone’s unique situation. Your interest in all things motherhood is always palpable, and this series is no exception.
    I, too, agree with the comment to add a little more economic diversity (if you are considering doing another installment- please do!)
    Maybe working moms with a single income? With children who stay at home with Dad?

  52. Anonymous says...

    I am really enjoying this series, as I am the comments. The perspectives are interesting. One thing that I’ve been thinking about though is that there’s another big group of women missing in the whole dialogue here about career and children (apart from women with fewer financial resources): women who chose not to have it all. The women that you interview tend to be highly educated and creative. In many parts of the western world, nearly a third of women 40-44 who have graduate or professional degrees have never had a child. Some of these don’t have kids by circumstances, some will go on to have kids, but many will actively choose to never have kids. Even at lower levels of education, a good share of women won’t have kids. I just think that there’s a bigger picture to this story that is being missed, in that it generally takes two incomes and at least one parent with a flexible schedule to meet the typical demands of modern parenting. Quite a lot of people are deciding that it’s just not worth the stress/possible, etc. I know you interviewed one friend a while back who was debating whether to have children, but more of this stuff would be interesting. Anyhow. Enjoying the comments of the moms interviewed, in any case!

  53. this is great! hope you feature work-at-home moms as well!

  54. I love this series! I work two jobs and have a little guy. Constantly thinking, “is he throwing a fit in the middle of this store because I am not home enough??” Quality not quantity is a good one to go by when it comes to being a working mama. Thanks!

  55. Anonymous says...

    Joanna, I normally love your blog but am finding this series a major disappointment. I was hoping to find mothers who had found a true balance between work and home life. I don’t consider both spouses being gone for 60 hours a week any kind of balance. Children need quality and quantity time. You can’t schedule the moments your children will most need you.

  56. Anonymous says...

    I just love this series. You can never be all things to all people, but this is interesting and informative. Thanks, Joanna. I love your blog.

  57. Anonymous says...

    I really like this series and enjoy this interview the most so far. However, I have to quibble a bit about the “quality over quantity” part. of course parents should be “present” with their children, but I truly believe that (attentive) TIME is the thing children crave most from their parents. It’s spending TIME doing all the little, seemingly insignificant things together that creates the strongest bond. Not the occasional big bang. JMO

  58. Anonymous says...

    I love this series, but this has been my least favourite post. Half of the interview is spent trying to prove how a child should not affect your life. I don’t relate at all.

  59. Sonia says...

    Hi There

    As an ethnic Indian New Zealander, who left a great job to be a SAHM (which I see as a luxury) I feel that I am still able to completely relate to the lovely ladies in this series – I tickle backs, find it a luxury to read magazines and have to consciously remember how important it is to spend quality time with the hubby. Rather than recognize the differences, maybe let’s celebrate the similarities! Sorry, that came out cheesy.
    Just as fascinating as the articles themselves are the comments as usual; thanks Joanna!

  60. This interview in particular offers some great advice, but the whole series has been fantastic! I used to be a nanny part-time during the school year, full-time for the summers (employed by a SAHM… Interesting dynamic) and have been thinking about work-life balance. I’m applying to medical school, and a strike against it, for me, is the worry that I’ll not be able to spend enough time with my family. (I’m curious to see how your sister and her husband will do it!) As a 23-year-old, this series has definitely inspired me to get the most out of my indulgent early-relationship, young-twenties days (napping, spontaneous day trips) but I was pleasantly surprised to see the emphasis throughout all these posts as setting priorities for what matters most when time is scarce. Thanks for another great series!

    Can’t wait to see your post about Chicago– I’m headed there in September for a wedding, and I’ve never been!

  61. This interview in particular offers some great advice, but the whole series has been fantastic! I used to be a nanny part-time during the school year, full-time for the summers (employed by a SAHM… Interesting dynamic) and have been thinking about work-life balance. I’m applying to medical school, and a strike against it, for me, is the worry that I’ll not be able to spend enough time with my family. (I’m curious to see how your sister and her husband will do it!) As a 23-year-old, this series has definitely inspired me to get the most out of my indulgent early-relationship, young-twenties days (napping, spontaneous day trips) but I was pleasantly surprised to see the emphasis throughout all these posts as setting priorities for what matters most when time is scarce. Thanks for another great series!

    Can’t wait to see your post about Chicago– I’m headed there in September for a wedding, and I’ve never been!

  62. Marie says...

    Ha! I could totally relate to the comment about missing having time to wander Target aimlessly. That and napping are my two most missed me-time activities since having my son.

  63. Alisha E. says...

    For me, this was the most relatable interview yet. I was actually just trying to hack into my husband’s Amazon Prime account so I don’t have to wait the 2 days it takes to order from
    Also, I love the reminder of quality vs. quantity. This is so, so true.
    Thanks for a great interview, Erica and Joanna.
    And Ivan is totally going to be the coolest kid at school:
    “Does your Mommy work?”
    “Yeah, she writes fart jokes for South Park. No big deal.”

  64. Great series. It does seem like all of these women have the luxury of supportive partners and lots of nanny support. For most of my friends (we live in Chicago) it’s cheaper to stay at home and not work, since most of their pay check would go to the nanny. Such a tricky choice.

    I love Up All Night!

    Joanna did your read the Atlantic cover article on “Why women still can’t have it all.” It was so interesting.

    I hope you’re enjoying Chicago!

  65. “Up All Night” is like a big hug for working moms. LOVE the show! and this interview!!

  66. Gretal says...

    This is by far my favorite of a great series. I love Erica’s voice– she sounds like someone I’d love to be friends with, very funny and relatable.

    The overwhelmingly best part is that she hasn’t been completely consumed by her child or the mommy role. It appears that she values time with her husband and having other elements to her life rather than having her child be the constant center of her universe, as is what I’ve mostly seen with other moms. She sounds dynamic and interesting, and definitely like someone who is going to have a fulfilling marriage, lots of interesting travel memories and career accomplishments in the future as well as having raised a child… She is still managing to live HER life and not just have her life be all about her child. Very inspiring!

  67. Gees Joanna! Look at what you started here!!! =) I love reading this series on working moms – even if the moms you are featuring have more money than I do. You are giving exactly the info I am looking for as a soon-to-be pregnant (hopefully) working girl: how moms manage to spend time with their kids while they are working full time hours. That seems to be the point of your series. If people want info on how to afford childcare (which is totally a topic I am interested in as well) then that seems to be a whole different series of blog posts. People are always going to be upset about what they cannot afford. I don’t have any clue how I am going to manage working full time hours and raising a baby. That’s part of the reason why I haven’t had a baby yet!! Anyhow… I truly appreciate the info you are providing. Please keep it up! I think you are amazing!

  68. YES and thank you to those who suggested of a series with working parents who are finding it tricky to afford childcare. that would be GREAT to address. quite a few of my friends are in that situation and it would be really helpful to talk at length about solutions, creative alternatives, ups and downs, etc…

    ps. thanks for the amazon tip, tiffany!!

  69. @pj and @kassie, thanks for the suggestions! the balance series last summer was actually about working moms (most worked full-time hours) who worked from home so they could come up with creative schedules. but i’d love to do a series on SAHMs and think there would be SO much to discuss. i can think of so many moms i’d love to interview already!

  70. yes, i would love to do a series about SAHM and how to find balance. i think it would be fantastic. (in fact, i was going to do part of that during this week, but thought it might inadvertently come off as a comparison of WAHMs and SAHMs, which wasn’t the point!) thank you for letting me know you’re interested in a series like that!! xoxo

  71. I love this series so far. She really has a voice and sense of humor to her. Also, I love the quote about being a woman first. It really resonated with me! Wonderful interviews and perspective! <3

  72. @anonymous- working women does not equal working class. I mean women who earn working-class to middle-class wages while juggling children. I don’t mean to say these women aren’t working hard enough or don’t struggle in their own right.

  73. Hi Jo – thank you so much for putting together such a positive, honest series, and for facilitating such great community and discussion! I have enjoyed all the posts and comments.

    My one thing, for the commenters, is that there seems to be a consensus that to be relatable, one has to be the same. I understand that many of these women are upper-class, in creative professions, and have childcare help. But the honesty? The struggle? The questioning if that’s enough? Questions on what the heck to make for dinner and when you’re going to make it?! Those are universal, to all of us, moms or single, SAHM (stay at home mom) or WFHM (work from home mom) or WFOM (work from office moms). No, these women might not have your schedule. Yes, they may use a nanny and not a grandmother, which is a totally different dynamic. Yes, they may be bosses and have more flexibility then other jobs… but sometimes (many times) bosses have to pull serious hours.

    A sincere thank you to all the women that opened up their lives for a blog to follow (and comment on!) What bravery!

  74. I love this series! I also went back and read through the work at home mom one. I always thought I wanted to be a SAHM, at least for the first few years. But these ladies have shown me that there are other options. Now to find a career that’s truly fulfilling…

    And I love that she takes romantic trips with her husband. Children will grow up and move on (and out). Let’s just hope you’re not always the most important person in your child’s life, but your relationship with your spouse is a constant, forever.

  75. @Deborah…you said ” I don’t think I’ve ever met any man who views his mother as a role model because she had a busy work career. I think men remember fondly their mother’s time and efforts in raising THEM, not the time they spent at the office. I think it’s a defense that a lot of moms feel they need to put up. Just admit that you love to work outside the home. There’s no shame in that. But to say it’s so your son has you as a role model? That I think is not really accurate and I doubt he will grow up thanking his mother for working full time.”

    I have to disagree with you. I grew up with both parents working full time, my mom as a lawyer, dad in business. I’ve ALWAYS admired my mother for how hard she worked and how she balanced being a mom and her career. She is a great role model because of that. Why wouldn’t you admire your mother for her achievements in the home, AND outside the home?

  76. Really great series, like others have said! No matter what the persons situation its interesting to hear how they manage, how they approach their marriages and being a mom.
    But just wanted to add, like others have said, it would be great to hear from some who can’t afford a full time nanny. Seems like a huge luxury to most! I probably earn about what a Nanny would. I’m glad what that these women all seem to have amazing nannies, but would also love to hear about those that can’t afford such things since I think that will be closer to my situation.

    But still! I’m finding it a great read! Wish we lived in a society where child care was more easy and accesible anyways, so more women could have these kind of choices and options open to them.


  77. Sarah H. says...

    Oh Erica, I love that you talk about strolling through Target alone as a luxury! My child is 7, and I STILL feel so happy when I get an uninterrupted hour to just rome Target by myself. Funny how it can be the most normal, everyday things we miss having time to do…

  78. Anonymous says...

    I don’t understand the aversion to the ability to afford childcare. Someone has to watch your child while you are away. Either you can afford for someone to watch your child, or you stay home. A series featuring working moms generally necessitates childcare. Further, if you have two children, I have generally found a nanny to cost the same, or less, than daycare.

  79. I always am amazed at the reaction of women readers reacting to posts or articles about anything related to child raising. Everyone’s situation is different and just because these women are successful doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same way as other women and just because they may have more financial means doesn’t mean going to work is guilt free or finding balance is easy, it also doesn’t mean they look down on women who stay at home. I wish women could read an article and take it for what it is, an individuals personal experience and how they are able to make it work for their personal lives and not some attack on the reader and most important open your mind and try to learn something you may not have known before.

  80. Anonymous says...

    @Rosarina -A series on working class women? These women all sound like they’re working their tails off!

  81. this “my balance” series is brilliant. i work from home, mostly, and i have yet to step into the roles as wife and mother. at 28, i’m trying to “build the well before you get thirsty”, to try to carve out good habits and put as much work into my stationery business as i can NOW because, if what i’m reading is true!, time is awfully short when you become a mother.
    thanks for the good reads this week, jo! xo.

  82. this series has been interesting to read, but i find myself feeling a little bitter and envious (such ugly emotions) that all these women have such seemingly fulfilling and creative jobs.

    i understand why they were chosen, but while i am also a working mama, i don’t find these other mothers relatable. neither myself or any of my mama friends work a creatively and intellectually stimulating job that also is able to afford us with the kinds of luxuries that those featured here enjoy – nannies, vacations, take out dinners, fantastic urban houses…

    again, i get your choice of women. and if you ever did a series on twenty something overworked and underpaid, underemployed moms who took boring jobs fields they have no interest in out of college because it came time to make their student loan payments and count the days until their next paycheck so they can finally put a FULL tank of gas in their nissan versa you would relate to a lot more readers, but probably depress them at the same time. :) :)

  83. Hi Joanna, I have to say I’m loving this series even though I’m single and without children! My only gripe with it is that they are all upper-class, Caucasian women and while what they have to say is interesting, it doesn’t represent most working moms. All the working moms I know cannot afford nannies and don’t have the luxury to pay for vacations. I think doing another series on working class women and how they manage would appeal to a lot of women who are struggling as well as provide a different perspective on managing work/children. On that note, I think this series and the one prior are very informative and inspiring!

  84. wow. everyone does it differently so I appreciate all the various approaches. don’t have kids yet, but soon will try and it’s helpful to read all these interviews.

  85. Thanks for this post and interview. I feel the same way as Erica about being a good role model for your child by finding fullfillment in doing what you do (whether you’re a working or stay-at-home mom). Kids are sensitive to the energy around them. You’ll have a good chance of ending up with a happy kid if you as a parent are happy. If you are happy as a stay-at-home and can afford to do so, go for it. If you are happy working, go out and work. I am not gonna lie. I am the breadwinner of the family, and I sometimes find myself resentful at the stay-at-home moms… There are those days. But I love my job and count myself lucky that I have even have a job in this economy and one that I actually enjoy and find fulfilling. We all have to remind ourselves of the things we do have and not get hung up on what we don’t have. Also every family dynamic is different so we all have to try not to judge. Though I admit that not judging is very very difficult with a hot topic like this one!

  86. Jenn says...

    What about women who can’t afford nannies?

  87. Deborah says...

    I really like this series. And I think it’s good to explore all the different types of moms there are in the world. But one thing was stated in this interview and I don’t really know if I agree. Not that it was written for my agreement! But the comment that she has a career, works full time and one reason is so her son will see her as a role model who can achieve much at home and work. I don’t think I’ve ever met any man who views his mother as a role model because she had a busy work career. I think men remember fondly their mother’s time and efforts in raising THEM, not the time they spent at the office. I think it’s a defense that a lot of moms feel they need to put up. Just admit that you love to work outside the home. There’s no shame in that. But to say it’s so your son has you as a role model? That I think is not really accurate and I doubt he will grow up thanking his mother for working full time.

  88. Rachael says...

    Great series, but I’d just like to echo a few of the previous comments. It would be good to also hear how people in regular middle income salaries manage. I live in London and am expecting my first baby soon. I work super long days in a theatre and childcare for regular 9-5 hours costs the equivalent of $450/ week here. To have a nanny also in the evening when I regularly work till 11pm, well, the cost completely outweighs my salary. I always knew that it would be a dilemma and I’m now facing a complete career change, which don’t get me wrong,

  89. Rachael says...

    Great series, but I’d just like to echo a few of the previous comments. It would be good to also hear how people in regular middle income salaries manage. I live in London and am expecting my first baby soon. I work super long days in a theatre and childcare for regular 9-5 hours costs the equivalent of $450/ week here. To have a nanny also in the evening when I regularly work till 11pm, well, the cost completely outweighs my salary. I always knew that it would be a dilemma and I’m now facing a complete career change, which don’t get me wrong,

  90. I want to positively reiterate what others are saying. That these are really useful and interesting pieces. Maybe something to keep in mind for future segments like these is to include more economic diversity (and women with more children too?).

    I think we are all aware that you can get a nanny and continue to work. It’s just out of reach for the vast majority of families :/

    My husband and I laugh our asses off at Up All Night! It’s so funny and we were happy it was renewed.

  91. To provide the perspective of a mostly stay-at-home mother by complete and utter choice. The interviewee by some comments makes it sound like if you are a stay-at-home mother then is no alternative – you are going to be too focused on your kids and lose your identity. For example “You were a woman before you had your children. Don’t lose sight of who that person is. Spend as much time with your children as you can, but don’t feel bad if you’re spending time at work.” You could just as much lose your identity and become too focused in your work/career. Why does what you do day to day (stay-at-home mother or working mother) have to define your identity? I don’t think it does either way.

    I always find in these types of articles that one side is played up and made to look great by playing down the other side and making it look bad. Why do we have to diminish others choices/the alternatives to make our own look good or better?

    Obviously everyone makes different choices and that is fine, but if you are stay-at-home mother you are not destined to be too focused/lose your identity/bored just as much as you are not destined for that if you are working. Even if you do become that (through work or children) is it such a bad thing if you find personal happiness in it?

    Personally I find it unfortunate that I have to work a part time job from home for extra income as my husbands salary is low (postdoctoral science research). I would much rather be only a stay-at-home mother. So that is my day to day struggle – trying to minimize how much I work so I can enjoy my time with my daughter more. Even if I spent 18 yrs solely as her mother (without the part-time job I currently have to work). I would not struggle to find out who I am or define myself, as I already strongly knew that before I had her and can maintain that independent of a job.

    My daughter is my friend and I completely enjoy every second I spend with her. I am also completely connected to who I am as an individual and my own personal position in life and society and what I want to achieve, and I don’t come to that position from my job or my daughter but from who I was raised to be, my values, and my experiences in life. Being there to raise my daughter is part of what I want to achieve in life, and I feel its a great contribution to society, but it is not the only thing. I am also someone outside of raising my daughter. I just enjoy being there for the day-to-day friendship and tasks and I enjoy watching my daughter grow. She is currently 4 yrs and we have the best conversations, but I know all too soon she will be a teenager and not so keen to spend time discussing the intricacies of life with me.

    Related to “But if your life becomes just about focusing on the children, it’s really easy to lose sight of the relationship that brought the children into being.”
    My husband I and take all our holidays with our daughter by choice, because we enjoy her companionship and seeing her experience the world as we experience the same things. We don’t have the money to go off on overseas trips, but regularly go on outdoors-based camping trips and city-based trips within the US. We still have our own relationship very alive and in sight. We just personally really enjoy to live that relationship in conjunction with our daughters, not separate. We fit her into what we are doing, rather than arrange our lives (or trips) around her and she comes along for the ride to enjoy it with us.

    I would write more but as all mothers know (working or at home), time is precious and I need to get on with the day.

  92. interesting series and comments. childcare and time always brings out strong opinions. the fact is we have different realities. i am childless, by choice for now, but i find it encouraging to see how other people are doing things and the concerns of other women.

  93. I just caught up on these, thanks for sharing!! I too would love to here some stories from work at home (non-nanny) moms. I (granted not very successful yet) blog and do some freelance design work on the side but can’t afford a nanny.

    I’ve also noticed that several of these moms have 1 child, we have 2–one with special needs. This is rambly, anyway thanks for sharing!

  94. Anonymous says...

    a lot of moms can’t afford childcare even if they forego other things. it’s not just a luxury, it’s unattainable for most parents, even if they both work

  95. Anonymous says...

    I don’t understand why so many are harping on the childcare issue. You get what you can afford or you don’t work. Some can afford a nanny, others daycare, and others do a combination with family. In all of these case, it’s still beneficial for the mother to work (whether it be financially, psychologically or both). I have a nanny and get weird looks all the time as if it’s a luxury. It is and I forgo other things to afford it!

  96. Kelly says...

    I found this series really interesting. I live in DC where this is a big topic of conversation amongst my friends – both mothers and not-yet mothers – who constantly worry about their work-life balance. I was struck by the fact that several of the women featured here have nannies, which seems to afford them extra flexibility in their jobs. I see that in DC a lot; women who have nannies are able to shift their days around a little more than those who HAVE to run out of work at a certain time to pick up their kid. Thus, the competition for the close-to-work day cares is really intense – as one of my Mom friends put it, the first people to know that she was pregnant again were her “husband, gyno, and day care; in that order.”

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting series!

  97. Alexandra says...

    I really love reading your blog – your posts are always the first thing I look out for in my reader. However, this series is a serious disappointment. It’s great that you’re showcasing working mothers who work in office environments, but all of these women have nannies/babysitters. That’s just not typical for the vast majority of working mothers. Individual childcare is expensive and not much of an option for most parents (even in households with 2 working parents).
    Many of these mothers also have husbands who are able to be around a lot or have very flexible schedules. I don’t think many dads are able to do that. Similarly, many of their husbands are magicians in the kitchen or can’t get enough of laundry or housework. I’m a feminist and I believe women shouldn’t be the only ones responsible for such things, but the fact remains that a lot of women handle the cooking, cleaning, etc. and not their husbands. And they don’t necessarily do it because they love to cook or they have huge, beautiful kitchens. They just do it because that’s how it goes.
    These women sound wonderful. Certainly they are strong, creative, fortunate wives and mothers. They are what many women aspire to be. But I wouldn’t necessarily consider their lives to be realistic. I would love to see single mothers, mothers with more demanding careers, mothers without much in the way of financial means, and even stay-at-home moms.

  98. Love this. Thank you! I resented having to work for the first couple of years of my boys’ life, but now that I have a job that I love (and that’s part time), I couldn’t be happier.

    I most appreciated that you don’t scoff at Goldfish or eating take out. I feel like everyone is out there to shame those of us who don’t have time (or money) to eat all-organic and local fare and only feed our kids whole foods. I need 20 more hours in a day to get my life that on track.

    And I loved this: “But if your life becomes just about focusing on the children, it’s really easy to lose sight of the relationship that brought the children into being.”

  99. I agree…I have been loving this series. But I also would like to see more economic diversity among the interviewees. I’d also like to see a series on stay-at-home moms. I am one. I am not writing a book while my child naps and I didn’t invent crocs. I’m simply a mom. It is interesting how many people think it can’t be fulfilling being “just” a mom, but it is for me. I had 42 years before my son was born to figure out who I am as a person…now I just enjoy adding parent to the mix. And PS, I love Up All Night.

  100. I agree with her advice about holding onto your identity outside of motherhood. I would really like to hear from some women who have stayed home with their kids for a few years and then returned to work.

    I’m a stay-at-home mom, but not by choice, and I know a few other women in the same boat. I had a part-time job that worked out really well for our family, but my whole department was eliminated. I want to find another job, but it’s difficult because I know I would have to completely change my daughter’s schedule as well.

  101. Anonymous says...

    She’s hilarious, and has been my favorite yet. I love, love, love that she’s the first one who’s said she doesn’t at all feel guilty about leaving Ivan at home so they can take trips. My parents did that with me and I fully intend to do that when I have kids—there’s no harm in not being a “mom” all the time.

  102. I agree with Lauren, it does seem a bit hard to relate or identify with these women (though their insight in very interesting!) I’m newly pregnant and quite nervous about how i will afford to either have childcare help or work less (or more realistically, both). Would love to hear from some other women who have struggled with this!

  103. April K. says...

    This has been one of the most interesting posts on the topic thus far – I love her take. Thank you for putting this series together!

    I do want to echo Lauren’s comments about featuring women & their partners who have more “normal” jobs. Nannies or other childcare where I live in metro Boston cost 1,000’s of dollars per month. I simply don’t know how it’s feasible to swing it without some kind of big-money salary from one or both parents. The current contributors seems like a very specific and narrow slice of the population.

  104. I confess it’s hard to relate to some of these moms because they can seemingly all afford at-home full-time childcare, and to jet off on weekend trips to other countries. That’s not the case for most people.

  105. I love the sentiment of not losing yourself. great advice :)

  106. this one was my favorite so far!! i like the comment:

    “I want to make sure that I haven’t spent 18 years solely as a mom, and suddenly I’m struggling to find out who I am and define myself as a woman”

    many of my friends had stay at home moms, and they are BORED to death now that their children have left the house. i, too, want to know that i have contributed to society and to myself at that point in my life!!

    (well, that and the fear of, gasp, divorce, and not knowing wtf to do with my life when i might not have held a job in the last 10+ years!!)

    thanks for the series, joanna!

  107. PJ says...


    Oops, I should have looked before replying to you.

    I meant SAHMs that DON’T try to do something else as well, ie blogging, working from home.

    I made the conscious choice to be there for my kids until they go to school. While I do some small projects on the side every blue moon, I’ve dedicated myself to being a true SAHM. Cooking, cleaning, outings, classes, etc.

    I’m a serious 50s throwback.

    And I mean this without judgement on myself or those who have full-time or home-time jobs. I totally respect all decisions…


  108. I love this series, and especially this interview! What Erica said about not wanting to figure out how to define herself once her kids turned 18 really hit home for me. I decided to go back to school instead of getting a head start on children, and I also plan to work while I have kids for that very reason! I think its really amazing how women can be stay at home moms, but it’s not for me. To each their own! Thanks again Joanna for this series! It’s fascinating!

  109. I’m surprised more of these women aren’t talking about how very hard this all is. It would be interesting to see a series about working moms who can’t or struggle to afford full-time nannies, house help, etc.

  110. PJ says...



  111. Good morning, thank you for the interview. As a working mother I have always struggled to balance my different roles properly. I cannot but agree with Erica when she says that women should not loose themselves in their identity as a mother. I see that too much around me.

  112. Great interview! You can tell how funny, yet intelligent Erica is from her responses!

  113. I am totally loving this series, but I wish it included one or two women with more “normal” jobs. I get that these gigs are cool, but not everyone is an editor in chief of a magazine or has a husband who’s a doctor. I really worry about how I’m going to afford childcare one day, and series like these make me feel like I have to marry an i-banker, stat.

    Still, these are really fun to read.

  114. Up All Night is one of my absolute favorite shows – how fun to get a little insider behind the scenes scoop! I love her answers to 9 & 10. This series is truly wonderful.

  115. Anonymous says...

    This is BY FAR my favorite Juggle Series interview. My husband and I are getting ready to try for our first and I’m already having the constant “how am i going to love this kid enough, not get fired, and/or divorced?”

    Thanks so much and I hope this become a regular feature!

  116. “Don’t lose yourself in your identity as a mother. You were a woman before you met your husband/partner. You were a woman before you had your children. Don’t lose sight of who that person is.”

    This is the most poignant advice I’ve read in this series yet. We always encourage women to remain true to themselves in relationships with their significant others, but to wholly lose themselves in their children. There’s nothing wrong with identifying yourself as a woman first and foremost (not a mom or wife)!

  117. Anonymous says...

    This has been my favorite of these posts so far! Very relatable, down to earth and funny. Erica you sound like a wonderful mother, keep up the great work!

  118. This series is amazing. Reading about these women who strugle for balance makes me feel normal. I have a few great take aways from each writer, thank you all. One for Erica and other mommies out there- if you sign up for Amazon Mom and order something baby related every three months- Prime is FREE!

  119. Another great interview! My favorite part was about how she wants to be a good role model for all that women can achieve at home and at work. Well put Erica! I’ve been thinking that all week and something working moms should remember when they start to get the guilt! Thanks Jo and all the brave moms out there!

  120. PJ says...

    I’m loving these.

    Any plans for a series of SAHMs? As someone who chose to be said SAHM for a few years, I’d be interested in hearing that perspective as well.