Work, Life & Balance: Lisa Quinn

LISA QUINNEver wonder how you can balance it all as a mom? This is one interview in a series talking to moms who have found a way to make it work. Meet Lisa Quinn an Emmy award winning TV host, author and mom of two. 

When not redecorating rooms on her show “Home with Lisa Quinn” or contributing to Better Homes and Gardens and Redbook, Lisa is learning about Komodo Dragons from her son and letting her daughter tease her hair. Her working mom life has become fodder for her new book, Life is Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets, on letting go of mommy perfection and settling for happy.

1. What do you love about being a mom?

Well, today might not be the best day to ask as we are 10 days into winter break and it has rained every single day. The kids moved from harmless pokes and jabs to ultimate fighting around day three. At this very moment, my seven-year-old is upstairs screaming that he wishes he had a new family, and my daughter just slammed her door for the third time today. My house is a total disaster and I’m feeling the walls closing in a little bit.

But here’s the thing – I am absolutely in love with my kids. They are smart and sweet and adorable. They tell funny stories and draw amazing pictures. My son tells me the most obscure information like the feeding habits of the Komodo dragon while my daughter does my hair and makeup. They snuggle up and tell me they love me. They are my family and I couldn’t be happier, even on cranky, rainy days.

2. What do you enjoy most about working?

As the host of “Home with Lisa Quinn,” I get to meet creative people doing really cool things every day. We craft, cook delicious food, and provide members of the community with free home makeovers and stylish solutions to everyday household dilemmas. I’m having fun, helping people, and getting paid at the same time.

As an author, I get to fulfill my real passion. I love everything about the entire process. Writing is the delightful mix of therapy, calm, collaboration, exhilaration and expression. The bottom line is that I like having an outside job.

3. What’s your biggest challenge in juggling both?

I work mostly from home which can be a good and a bad thing. I like being available to my kids and all the flexibility that working from home provides, but it’s pretty hard to get anything done. Focus has always been a problem for me. Working from home makes it even harder – especially when the kids are pulling on me.

I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilty that I should be working when I’m goofing around with my kids. I feel even worse when I’m working late and want to be with my family. And then, I can get resentful if I feel like there’s never any time for myself.

4. How do you deal with it?

The key to happiness is simply to lower your standards, but that can be difficult to do in this society. The media bombard us with images of “supermom” – this Amazon in six-inch Louboutins, a baby in one arm, a frying pan full of money in the other. I have tried balancing my kids with my home, my husband, my career, personal hygiene, a social life, and let me tell you: A) The hygiene and social life lose out every time, and B) I should have received some sort of honorary certificate from Cirque Du Soleil for even attempting such a hire wire act.

I love Roseanne Barr’s quote, “I figure if my kids are alive at the end of the day, I’ve done my job.” Embrace the chaos and don’t sweat the rest.

5. How do you re-charge?

Hotel sex. Traditional date nights are lame. You just sit at an expensive restaurant and talk about the kids and work. Then you rush home early to relieve the overpriced sitter. Ugh.

We have a standing deal with another set of parents. They provide overnight sleepovers for our kids the first and third Saturday of each month while we pick up the other two weekends. My husband and I go out for drinks, dancing, and then back to the room for a night of hotsy totsy. We’ve been doing this for about a year now and it’s changed everything. We feel like our old selves again. It gives us something to anticipate. We are more relaxed, we feel younger, we get along better, and we are genuinely happier. I highly recommend it.

It’s way too easy to slip into mommy and daddy roles and forget why you even got together in the first place. Remember to take some time for yourselves. Happy parents generally have happy children. Resentful, cranky, tired people are no good for anybody.

6. What advice would you give other women considering being a working mom?

Going back to work is a family decision. To make the transition as manageable as possible, everyone needs to be on board and ready to take on the extra responsibilities that will come when mom is out of the house.

With that said, I’m a big believer in “when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.” If you have a passion, even if that passion is just to get out of the house, you should follow your bliss. Your household will not fall apart and your kids won’t hate you. Things have a way of falling into place and you shouldn’t let fear hold you back.

7. Who inspires you?

People who can laugh at themselves are my inspirations. The world is full of too many uptight, angry folks. Just read the comments on any blog.

8. What one thing can you not live without? 

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones hands down. It’s the only way I get anything done.

9. If you had an hour of time to yourself, how would you spend it? 

Hotel sex.