Julie Edelman, the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time”, is a nationally recognized lifestyle expert who shares her expertise through television appearances on the Today Show, The Rachel Ray Show, Fox News and Better TV, print publications, radio programming and numerous websites and blogs. Educated at Duke and Oxford universities, Julie found success in the entertainment and advertising industry before getting happily married, having children, and stumbling into the ups and downs of domestic life.
From doing lunch to doing dishes and changing diapers, Julie managed to capitalize on her newfound domestic domain and created a successful brand focused on helping women manage their households, without hysteria! In this 1:1, Julie discusses how she coped with being an “accidental housewife”, why we needn’t manage it all, and how to survive the holiday whirlwind while keeping your manicure intact. Look for Julie’s new television special on TLC, airing in December where she’ll share more time saving tips and creative ways to clean and preen your home.
Q: Moving from the fast-paced world of advertising to stay-at-home mom is a dramatic change in daily routine. How did you initially cope with domestic life and what did you do to stay “sane”?
Julie Edelman: Soon after I got married and started my family, I was living in the perfect storm – pursuing my career, trying to keep my house spotless, taking care of my son – the only thing I was letting go was myself. When I looked in the mirror, the magic was gone and I didn’t recognize the stressed-out woman looking back at me. It was then I decided to focus on things that really mattered and I began to let go of my pursuit of perfection. I decided to come out of my broom closet and admit that I couldn’t do it all. This inspired me to find simple ways to maintain my home and my sanity while tackling high traffic, high visibility areas so that I could keep the health inspector at bay and my family from starving. I discovered that I needed a realistic perspective and a lighter attitude when it came to tackling chores that bore, out of this realization came the Accidental Housewife and my first book.
Q: Many women feel pressure to be perfect wives, mothers, friends, housekeepers, cooks, and oftentimes, simultaneous breadwinners. How do you convince women to let go of the do-it-all, have-it-all mentality?
Julie Edelman: My message to women is that you can’t do it all. You can try, but your life will pass you by, your hair will turn gray, and you will suffer the health affects of too much stress. John Lennon said that “life’s what’s happening when you are busy making plans.” No one is going to die if your house isn’t cleaned to perfection but if you focus too much on housekeeping, you will miss the important things in life, like spending time with your family and friends. Live longer, clean less!
Q: Managing a household is hard enough, but you also found time to write two books, contribute to numerous television and radio shows, and make numerous live appearances! How do you keep it all together when working on a new project and where do you find the time?
Julie Edelman: I don’t keep it all together! There are moments when I shout, “I can’t take it anymore!” but then I fix myself a dirty martini, take a deep breath and give myself some quiet time to chill. Since I lost my memory a long time ago, I jot notes on Post-Its and make lists (in pencil). New projects invigorate me and I find that a packed and balanced schedule keeps me focused and sane. I like to work hard and play hard but now I take a break in between the two.
Q: Last year you released a line of fashionable homekeeping tools. What led you to this idea and how did you plan for success?
Julie Edelman: I don’t think I planned for success; instead, it emerged from personal milestones that forced me get in touch with my innermost self and where I wanted to go. In one year, I got divorced, my father passed away, and my dog drowned in our pool. These events made me realize that in a heartbeat, life can change and that the only person I could depend on totally was myself. I drew upon my experience as an Accidental Housewife and felt there was a need to help real women who are overbooked and overscheduled with no time for themselves find ways to re-simplify every day must-do routines and blend them into real-life everyday schedules.
I developed fashionable, functional, products that protect manicures and bring dignity to chores that bore. We should feel good while our hands are in the toilet (or at least get a good laugh) and that is what led me to the Accidental Housewife brand because most of us live on Hysteria Lane rather than Wisteria Lane. My manicure saving gloves and antibacterial sponges are available at Duane Read and at Sears.com. I am also excited that Carpet One Floor and Home reached out to me to design a snazzy doormat, the sales of which support Breast Cancer research.
Q: The holiday season is upon us, what are your expert tips for surviving the holiday whirlwind – the Accidental Housewife way?
Julie Edelman: Who can see what is important while in a whirlwind? When we spend more time with our vacuums and mops than we do with the people we love, we are missing out on what makes this season and life in general, important. To stay sane, I suggest using the power of distraction to give your home the appearance of being clean enough. Put “get well” cards up on the mantle and explain how you’ve been too under the weather to focus on house cleaning. Sprinkle photos of family and friends throughout the living room so that guests focus on the pictures rather than the dust bunnies. Everyone likes the smell of freshly baked cookies; that is why I bake up refrigerator dough sugar cookies about fifteen minutes before everyone arrives. Have dirty martinis or your favorite libations to serve to your guests upon arrival. After one or two drinks, your guests will not care if your house isn’t perfect and neither will you! Happy Holidays.
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