Kathy Buckworth is an award winning humor writer and media maven with a parade of funny quips and books about modern motherhood including The Secret Life of SuperMom, SuperMom: A Celebration of All You Do and Journey to the Darkside: SuperMom Goes Home.
She took time out of her busy schedule and US book tour to talk with SheKnows about her latest book, The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood.
Buckworth's latest tales from the motherhood trenches started when she got her BlackBerry smartphone for Christmas.
What ensued were some hilarious moments where her new BlackBerry felt much like another child – constantly buzzing for her attention, even in the middle of the night.
She began to blog about Seamus (um, yeah, she named her device) and how her BlackBerry has helped her manage her busy life as a writer and mom of four.
SheKnows: So how did this relationship with you and your BlackBerry begin?
Kathy Buckworth: My husband works in the corporate world and was on his BlackBerry all the time. I wanted to try one. But I decided right away that I wasn't going to turn into one of those people always on it. It has given me more utility in my life on many fronts – organizing myself, my four kids, and giving me the ability to have contact with the outside world when I'm at home with the kids.
SheKnows: And how did your relationship evolve into the book?
Kathy Buckworth: It started as a series of articles and it become about modern moms and this new phenomenon. For example, having a BlackBerry can invoke extreme reactions from other moms if you have it at park or field trip. But I couldn't be there in the first place if I didn't have it, because I would be working.
SheKnows: How has the use of the BlackBerry impacted your life as a working mom?
Kathy Buckworth: It's really about breaking the mindset of the 9 to 5 job or the eight hour work day. It's about being blended -- I refuse to use the word balance or juggle because that implies on ongoing struggle. I wouldn't be able to do some of the things with my kids if it weren't for being able to be reached while I'm with them.
SheKnows: You're right about the extreme reactions from other mothers when it comes to working moms versus stay at home moms. What do you think about the mommy wars?
Kathy Buckworth: I do think it exists and it's easy to see why. The overriding emotion moms deal with is guilt -- you feel guilty when working, or guilty at home when you aren't contributing financially or guilty when you're not showing your daughter how to conquer the world with a great career. The mommy wars are mean, but understandable…the grass is always greener, you know. You've got the pure stay at home mom crowd whose full-time job is to take care of the kids and then the working mom who has to have daycare in place. Then there are moms like me who are stuck in the middle. We work from home and our kids are home. I call us the wedgies. My stay at home mom friends don't understand why they can't bring their kid over for an hour or just stop by. People want to know when I'm going to go back to work, to do something real. They don't realize that I do have a career working from home. The wedgies are getting bigger and bigger so to speak, with the help of things like the BlackBerry that allow us to blend our lives and break out of the 9 to 5 mindset.
SheKnows: How do you set boundaries so your friends and family respect that you are working?
Kathy Buckworth: It's easier when the kids are at school, but it's about scheduling. I will say to them, I need to work for the next two hours and then we'll do something you want. I can do that with my kids because they are ages 7 to 18. They know if I'm in the office, I'm at work. Or I'll say I'm going to a meeting and go work at Starbucks. They don't need to know where I am! And when I'm there working, I don't answer personal emails.
SheKnows: What is your advice for other women who want to work from home?
Kathy Buckworth: Start doing stuff you do from home and learn by doing. Some people love working at home, I don't at all. I like working at an office. Some companies are good now about letting you work from home. I think doing one or two days from home and then going into office the rest of the week is the best of both worlds. As moms, we do what we need to do and it's never going to be perfect. We just need to blend. That's really why the BlackBerry is a fantastic tool for me. My kids are in karate, dance, hockey, and I'm always driving here and there. If I didn't have the ability to work, respond and be available at the same time, then it would be very tricky to do what I need to do.
SheKnows: What is your favorite part of having a smartphone?
Kathy Buckworth: For some, it takes over their lives and they can't live without it. I like that I am in complete control of it. I can turn it off, send messages out when I want to, control my time and organize. From an Internet perspective, I have used it so many times when I need info and I'm at the dance studio, or I'm lost and need directions. It's about convenience. Oh and no matter how much I stuff into it, it doesn't get bigger - unlike my purse.
SheKnows: What would you like readers to take away from the BlackBerry Diaries book?
Kathy Buckworth: I'd like them to laugh – to offer a bit of an escape for them. I want them to feel like "That's my life, too, I get that and I'm not the only crazy one!" And if they pick up a few tips about how to organize their life, that's great too. But really, my goal is to make them laugh and to feel like they're not alone.
SheKnows: Thank you for talking with us and good luck on the book tour!
Goal achieved! The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood is a book as delightful as any fiction Chick Lit. Who needs make believe when one modern mom's real life is a comedy of trial and errors that we can all relate to? So pick up the book, turn off your BlackBerry and start laughing.
For more about Kathy and her book, check out RealMomsGuide where Kathy is the current Featured Mommy Blogger, talking more about motherhood and her incredibly funny blog, The Blackberry Diaries.
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