WHO SHE IS: Jenny Feldon, writer, editor, mom

SUCCESS STORY: First book, Karma Gone Bad (Sourcebooks), is out!

WORK SCHEDULE: Chaotic. Part time in an office, part time at home, full time crazy person.

KIDS: Eva and Noah

SANITY VICE: Lots and lots of coffee

BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Lay out clothes (mine included) the night before! Saves SO much morning drama…

GO-TO TECH: Can’t live (shop, bank, schedule, communicate, entertain or work!) without my iPhone

WORK-LIFE BALANCE: 5… it’s a work in progress

5 Questions for Jenny…

yellowbio1. Tell us about the book – what it’s about and why you wrote it.

Karma Gone Bad is the story of how I went from being a Starbucks-obsessed, New York City newlywed to an accidental expat housewife in Hyderabad, India — complete with monsoon rains, holy cows, and buffalo-related traffic jams. The journey was a difficult one for me, but it dramatically changed my life and who I am as a person, and especially as a mom. India taught me how to open my eyes to see the beauty in the world around me, to let go of expectations, to live life for the small moments. I wrote the book because I wanted to capture and share that journey. So many of the lessons I learned are universal, like holding on to your sense of self and letting go of expectations.

2. Did you overcome any challenges to get the book published?

The publishing process is tricky for most people, I think — I certainly had my share of hurdles and (lots of) rejections! But the biggest challenge for me was writing the original manuscript  on a really tight deadline (the book was sold on proposal) with two small kids at home. I’d write wherever and whenever I could, putting the kids to put at 7:30 and writing until 1 a.m., then getting up at 4 a.m. to squeeze in a couple of hours before they woke up. It was a challenging time for my whole family, and I’m so grateful for the support they gave me.

3. I love that your Twitter handle says you juggle “writing, motherhood and giant cups of coffee — mostly all at once.” What’s the juggle really like for you?

Crazy, messy, beautiful. I love doing what I do because it lets me be the kind of parent I always dreamed of being. I get to do things like run the pre-school book fair and volunteer as the kindergarten room mom, which I love. But there are drawbacks, too — sometimes I feel like I’m everywhere and nowhere at the same time, because I’m always doing too many things at once. I’m working on forcing myself to be present and focused on whatever it is I’m doing in the moment… but it’s hard. There’s always that one quick sentence I “need” to write while we’re at the park, or an email that needs answering, or a game of “Candyland” calling my name when I’m supposed to be working. One day I’ll get the balance right. Until then, I’m taking deep breaths and enjoying the ride! Being a mom, and being a published author, are the two dreams I’ve had since I was a little girl. To be standing here today as both is the best feeling in the world.

KARMA BOOK COVER4. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?

That we shouldn’t have to have our identities wrapped up the labels they insist on giving us. I’m a part-time working mom, which makes me neither a SAHM or a traditional “working mom.” No one ever calls fathers “working dads”… they’re just dads. We shouldn’t have to choose our identities and measure our self worth by abstract standards. Who we are, as mothers and as professionals, is simply a sum of the choices we make. Most of us are making the absolute best choices we can for ourselves and our families…and that should be good enough for the rest of the world.

5. What advice do you live by as a working mom?

My favorite parenting advice ever comes from Pamela Druckerman in Bringing Up Bebe, when she says to say “yes” whenever you possibly can — and when you say no, mean it. Setting firm boundaries helps everyone in the family know what to expect, and not getting caught up in those small, silly daily battles makes the time I spend with my kids even better. More smiles and fewer tears. I want my kids to remember my hugs, not my temper. Life is short, and being a working mom really forces you to make the most of the time you have with your family.