Cheryl Hickey is one of the most recognizable faces in Canada. As the host of ET Canada, she joins families in their living rooms to share entertainment news each night
Not only is Cheryl a television and fashion icon, she is also a mother of two, a wife and an entrepreneur. How does she manage to balance her busy life? I had a chance to chat with her and find out.
The first question I want to ask is, as a busy, working mom, how to you manage to find the right balance between everything?
I don’t believe in balance. I don’t believe there is that mystical balance…to achieve. When you first start dating someone it’s all about them. Then you start getting back into your work, that’s how the flow goes. When you have first have kids, when you’re off for six months or a year it’s all about the kids. And then you switch gears.
Nothing is ever perfectly balanced, for me anyways. I do what I need to do, when I need to do it. Having said that, my kids and my family always come first, that is non-negotiable. Everything else fits in around them. There are some days when I drop the ball. I drop balls all the time but I try and make up for it in other areas. Balance is very hard to achieve. I don’t think I’ve managed to do that and I don’t think I ever will. I’m just doing my best.
Being the host of a very popular show puts you in the spotlight. How does that affect you and your family?
I’m a little more protective of what I do. It’s hard. I have a really difficult time with social media, it can be really tricky for me. Sometimes I want to post for family and friends, pictures of what the kids are doing and then I have to stop myself and think about what kind of social footprint it’s creating for the kids down the line as they get older. What I think is cute right now of my child may be embarrassing to them when they are nine years old. On social media I’m becoming much more cautious with the kids.
When we’re out in public I’m more careful as well, the same as any parent would be you know? People are all very nice and very supportive and always have been. My family and I have been very lucky that way and we feel the love from everybody and feel really blessed to have had that.
How did becoming a mom change your life?
It changed everything. I wasn’t a woman who had her clock ticking when I got pregnant. If fact, I was very shocked and surprised and excited and nervous and tremendously scared because for 30 some years it had only been about me and my career. I knew I could do it, I just didn’t know how. And I didn’t know how it would change me. It just changed everything, for the better. It made everything sweeter, it made everything much more raw. It made the highs higher and the lows lower. It changed the course of absolutely everything, for the better.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part about being a parent?
The hugs and the kisses. And also the most rewarding is that they are happy, outgoing, silly kids. Just watching my five-year old, the dinner conversations we have at the end of the day, I can feel what kind of person he’s growing up to be and it makes me so happy and proud. I’m just really grateful for my kids and my husband.
What is the most challenging thing about being a parent?
The most challenging thing is getting out the door in the morning! Everybody dressed, fed, brushed, socks, boots and out the door, that is the most challenging part of the day (laughing, ) honestly. You can try and have the best plan in the world and have help but it just ends up being a gong show, right?
If you get me time away from work and family, what do you like to do?
My husband will tell you that I’m terrible at me time because…when I’m away from the kids, I miss them. So I don’t do a ton of me time. I used to. When I was single I used to go window shopping, go for massages, get my nails done, that’s what fulfilled me and that’s what I loved to do. Me time now probably consists of a bath, just chilling out or watching a good series with my husband on the couch.
I’m really lucky because ET Canada/Shaw agreed to let me work part-time. I come in at 8:30am in the morning and I leave at 1:00pm. I get all my work done in the morning, unless I have a special interview, which allows me to be home to go and pick up my kids. My husband works a full-time freelance position as well so someone has to do it. I do the mommy stuff in the afternoon. It works for our family.
With so much on your plate, how to you make time for your relationship with your husband?
I think that the number one thing is, if we’re not good, the kids aren’t good. So we always make sure we come back to centre with each other. I have a very supportive husband who is very hands on, who picks up the ball if I need to go do something. He’s extremely helpful. I have a great amount of respect for him and he has a great amount of respect for me and we are great friends. On top of that, we love each other dearly.
I think in terms of quality time and being together, we have a one-year old and a five-year old…and plus we have to very busy careers so I think we cut each other slack with spending a ton of quality alone time. That doesn’t happen a lot right now but I think we are good with that. We go on the occasional date night and we make time for just each other but again, the balance with that, it’s out of whack right now. Do we have balance of mommy and daddy time versus family time? No, but we will, just not at this particular moment.
You have a natural and healthy product line called Ours by Cheryl Hickey, where did the inspiration come from?
Becoming a mom is part of why I created Ours by Cheryl Hickey. There was a frustration that there weren’t products out there that I could look at the bottle and know exactly what the ingredient were. The other stuff was organic and very expensive and only had a short shelf life. So when I created Ours, it was out of that passion, that need, that desire for my family. I want other families to have something that they can trust that is healthy, safe and honest.
I am immensely proud that we have managed to put this out. My kids genuinely love it and I’m really proud of that. We are also getting ready to come out with the next generation of it with some cleaning supplies, so I’m really excited.
Last question, is there one piece of parenting advice you have learned that you can share?
Yes, I read this amazing book our friends showed us called Otto Weininger Time in Parenting. So what we do at our house if our kids do something we don’t like, we don’t do a time out. Instead, we do a time-in. We sit down, we talk about it and we explain why it didn’t work, wherever we are…In the end it is giving them the same respect you would give a friend who did something you don’t like. Only difference is we are showing them boundaries and what is right and wrong. I find they leave feeling understood. Then you don’t end up having the same conversation over and over again because…you’re having a real conversation (most times) with them. It really for us comes down to being mindful.