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[The following post was commissioned by MilkPep.]
Last week I got to have breakfast with an amazing woman, Katie Couric. She has interviewed everybody and talked about pretty much every subject, and has somehow not become jaded or bored or even the teeniest bit above it all. She was refreshing, kind, interesting, genuine, candid, and hilarious.
I arrived at Sarabeth’s on Greenwich Street and met up with the two other bloggers invited to breakfast, Migdalia and Tina. There were also a few magazine writers there, including one from Redbook (my favorite!). It was an intimate group, and I was very excited to sit down with Katie and get talking (and eating – I was starving; I take breakfast invitations seriously).
We all sat down to big glasses of protein-rich milk and ordered breakfast. I snagged the seat directly across from Katie (hey, somebody was going to sit there, and I didn’t have to step on anybody to get it). We started out with some very much off-the-record stories from Katie that you will not be able to pry out of me, sorry! Then we moved to the on-the-record portion of the conversation and got to work.
Katie On Mom Guilt
She doesn’t have any. Seriously. This was so refreshing. She’s basically a Selfish Mom, in the best sense of the term. “I haven’t had a lot of guilt in my life. I recalibrate when I need to.”
I asked her what she does just for her, when she wants to relax. “My friends are really important. I don’t want to be the mom who is out every night, even though there are fun things I could do every night. But I go out with my friends. And now, my girls [daughters Ellie, 22 and Carrie, 17] are like my friends.”
Migdalia, Tina, and me (and my second-ever successful sock bun)
On Being A Busy Single Mom
— Melanie Schopp (@SchoppEducation) July 17, 2013
I’d asked for reader questions before the breakfast, and I was reluctant to ask this one, only because I hate it when I get asked this question. As if a stay-at-home/work-because-I-want-to mom’s answer is going to be relevant to someone who is truly struggling. Besides, everyone’s priorities are different! But I wanted to hear what Katie had to say.
Katie has been raising her daughters alone since her husband Jay died in 1998. “It’s been challenging as a single mom – that’s particularly difficult. But I’m in such a different situation. It’s hard to give advice when your financial situation is so different.” She explained that she’s been so lucky to be able to afford a live-in nanny and other people to support her, and that she’s incredibly grateful to those people in her life. But that having those kinds of advantages makes the balance question one she doesn’t want to discuss, because it’s not fair.
Besides, she added, “Men are never asked that. Brian Williams never gets asked that.”
On The “Perky” Issue
I couldn’t wait to hear the answer to this one.
— shelly shuey (@ShellyShuey) July 17, 2013
Katie immediately pointed out that at fifty-six years old, she thinks the statute of limitations might have run out on the perky label. But then she got serious. She answered that she used to be put off by it, that she thought it was a little sexist (“Bob Costas is rather short and upbeat and doesn’t get this label”). She explained that calling someone perky sometimes takes away from a person’s intelligence, and that she also thought it became a tool for lazy reporters.
She wrapped her answer up with a great quote from Bull Durham:
Ebby: God, I think you’re real cute.
Annie: Cute? Baby ducks are cute, I HATE cute! I want to be exotic, and mysterious!
On Doing The Milk Mustache Campaign
“I wanted to do this campaign because it’s so iconic and I enjoy seeing the pictures. I have daughters, and I do believe strongly in the importance of eating well, and not being neurotic about it. I try to impart to my daughters the importance of healthy eating.”
The other big benefit of doing the Milk Mustache campaign (both this new one, and the last one with her daughters) was that they all got to give money to their favorite charities. She told us how she used to help her kids run lemonade stands, and give the money to charity. Now, when she sees kids selling lemonade she asks where the profits are going. She said with a laugh, “I don’t know if I’ll support this lemonade stand! I need more information!”
On Eating Breakfast
“I used to skip breakfast, but ten or fifteen years ago I started making sure to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast helps keep your blood sugar stable and helps keep your cravings at bay.”
And I can attest to the fact that she ate! We all did – it was delicious.
On Her Favorite Person To Interview
I was happy to discover that Katie and I share a favorite interview subject: Hugh Jackman! I completely agree with Katie that he puts people at ease and really seems to enjoy the process of talking about his craft and his project. “My favorites are the ones who treat interviews as an opportunity, and not an obligation.”
Agreed. And for the record, Katie did the same thing – put us all at ease, and really seemed to enjoy herself. Hugh, you’re on notice. You’d better let me interview you again so that I can compare your interviewee skills to Katie’s. Otherwise, Katie will become my favorite interviewee by default. Right now it’s a tie. Ball’s in your court, Jackman.
On Not Getting Jaded
“I’ve had experiences I never imagined I’d have when I got started in this. There have been so many “pinch me” moments in my career, and I never stop feeling this way. It’s never [sighing] ‘Oh, gosh, I’m going to the White House again.’”
A Special Message For My Readers
After a thoroughly enjoyable morning – and a fantastic breakfast – I was handed a flash drive on my way out with a surprise on it. Enjoy!
And here’s the best news of all. I recently got this tweet:
— Milk Mustache (@MilkMustache) July 22, 2013
I need to prepare Flat Harrison and Flat Salma for the new addition to our Flat Family! I’m so excited!!!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 13. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.