Kathryn Eisman is a two-time Emmy Award Nominated television journalist, host, and reporter. She is also the international bestselling author of two books. With her latest endeavor, High Heel Jungle, the fashion icon offers an antidote to the traditional “mommy blog.” High Heel Jungle speaks to the varied aspects of a woman’s life, including family life and career – and how hard the juggling act can be.
Tell us about your desire to start High Heel Jungle; what was the inspiration behind it? I was tired of seeing blogs that glossed over the reality and showed this completely unattainable, and frankly false, version of life and what it is to be a modern woman. High Heel Jungle tells the truth! Sure, it is beautiful to navigate and has glorious photos, but the writing itself is for the thinking woman and always gets to the heart of the truth… what it really takes to live a successful life, the struggles, and the tips. You leave the site feeling inspired rather than inadequate!
To be honest, I resisted launching a blog for the longest time because I thought that it’s such a saturated space and I didn’t want to be another fashion blogger pretending to be crossing the road in borrowed clothes, nor did I want to be another “authority” voice in the motherhood space.
What I did feel was lacking from the online experience is a site for women that sees them as a whole, and doesn’t categorize us solely as “mother” or “career woman” or “relationship obsessed” or “fashionista,” but rather saw that a modern woman can be all these things, and so much more! I wanted to create a website that would be a home away from home, supporting her to be the best she can be in ALL of the aspects of her life… Helping her stylishly and confidently navigate the modern jungle of life in High Heels!
How has motherhood changed your life – personally and professionally? Do you believe there’s adequate social support for working mothers? Motherhood has been the single most transformative thing of my life. As soon as my baby came into the world, it was no longer just about me and what I thought I wanted or needed. It’s actually very liberating because I stopped worrying about all the nonsense and suddenly it became very clear to me what was important; health, family, connection with people, and bringing creativity and joy into the world through the work that I do and the person that I am raising.
I think there’s a lot of pressure on modern women to be all things to all people. That’s why about five years ago, I started coaching women in a system I created called Trifecta. It’s based on my belief that for a woman to be truly happy she needs to have the three main pillars of her life at a high level; relationships, career/contribution, and health/beauty.
For every woman, these three aspects mean something different, but no matter who she is, if they’re not at a high level she ends up feeling unfulfilled. I’ve been working with a group of women and I can honestly say that seeing what their life has become, and how they’ve grown, is one of the greatest achievements of my life. (For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
You have commented that social media is “fake” – a false highlight reel of your life, so-to-speak; can you elaborate? Why do you believe there’s this pressure to “perform” on social media? If you want to feel depressed, spend a day looking through your instagram feed! Haha. In all seriousness, they did a study and found that the main emotion people felt when looking at social media was mild despair. How terrible is that! Especially given that that’s how so many people start and finish their day. The reason is because these supposed “diaries” of our days are not based on reality. No one’s showing their kid having a tantrum, the non-organic Chinese takeout they’re eating on the coach, the pimple they have on their chin. No one wants to see the messy reality of life, and certainly no one wants to show it, but unless we at least have an honest conversation about it we feel alienated and ‘less than’, when in fact we are magnificent creatures.
How has social media aided and benefitted you as a mother? And when has it made you take a step back? An interesting question has been, “How much do I reveal?” Especially when you’re in the public eye and suddenly you become a parent and it’s not just your own life that you’re exposing to the world, but your precious child’s. I think it’s important to keep some moments sacred – not only so that you don’t feel over exposed, but also because capturing every moment takes you out of the moment. I don’t want to fall into the trap of living my life through the external filter of an iPhone. I want to be IN my life, not an observer of it.
As women, in the various roles we play in life, we often put ourselves last. How can women support each other in our success, as well as celebrate our own individual successes? Men have had “boys clubs” forever. They understand that they are more powerful when they work together, when they collaborate… you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. In the past, I think because there has been less opportunity for women, we’ve often seen each other as competition, pitted against each other for the gig or the man. What’s exciting is I’m seeing a real sea-change or as I like to call it, she-change. As more opportunities open for women, I’m seeing the formation of more women’s groups. The question should be, “how can we collaborate?” rather than, “how can we compete?”
How can busy working mothers protect and still maintain their individual identity? What are your thoughts on “mom guilt”? Mom guilt is very real. I remember when I had Capri and accepted a job heading fashion and lifestyle for E! News when she was just 6.5 weeks old. I was racked with guilt. Deep down I knew I would be a better mother if I did this, but that didn’t stop me feeling guilty every time I walked out the front door. I’d rush home gripping the steering wheel to be there as early as I could be so I could spend as much time with her as possible – often not going to the bathroom at work, or getting out of my chair for hours trying to be the most efficient person in the world. When you have a child, you want to be the best mom in the world and give your child everything and we have to know ourselves well enough to know what that means for each of us. For me, I am more energized when I work. I’m a better mother, I’m a better wife… I’m happier and more fulfilled. I’ve also had to say ‘no’ to jobs when I felt that finding a balance between my work and my family wouldn’t be achievable in that position and I have never regretted it. My child will always come first, but you don’t have to give up your passions or your dreams just because you become a mother. I mean, would you ever want that for your daughter?
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given? No one will ever be a better you than you are, so don’t bother trying to be a second rate version of anyone else.
What’s your perfect reset after a stressful day? How do you recover? Cuddles and cupcake baking with Capri followed by a bath with my husband.
Images courtesy of Kathryn Eisman.