As Dallas’ premier lifestyle guru, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman is a woman in high demand. When she’s not making appearances on Today or hosting charity dinners, she’s penning books on entertaining and dreaming up new business ventures. Whitman wears many hats, but her role as mom is top priority. When we first featured Whitman in May 2008, she was a brand-new mom with four books under her belt and big dreams for the future.
Fortunately, many of those dreams have come true. Today, Whitman is a busy mother of two. She just published her seventh book, Parties Around a Punch Bowl, and she’s doing more to give back than ever. As a luxury ambassador for NorthPark Center, Whitman is outspoken in her support of the Human Trafficking Institute, one of the many causes close to her heart.
The entertainer extraordinaire gave us the scoop on what she’s been up to for the last decade and all that she’s learned.
You have two littles now! How were you different as a second-time mom?
I was definitely more relaxed when Millie was an infant. I realized babies are more resilient than I originally thought. I learned that time goes quickly, so to cherish the stages that we’re in.
Your career has also changed a lot over the past decade. Tell me about what you have going on now.
I love that I’m able to work on projects that I can include the children in. When I was working on Parties Around the Punch Bowl, the kids tested the virgin recipes and JR helped me to concoct something we absolutely love. I put it in the book and called it JR’s. So much of what I do revolves around life at home and celebrating life’s special occasions. I love to brainstorm with the kids.
You’re very philanthropic. Which causes are most important to you?
This year, I’ve been working with the Human Trafficking Institute. I think it’s just a really amazing and worthy cause. We live in one of the most amazing cities. People are so generous, and the spirit of philanthropy is just beyond. It never ceases to amaze me.
How are you instilling a sense of giving back into your kids?
I think the best way to do that is to model it for them. It’s not always financial generosity but generosity of your time and abilities.
You have a full plate. What does a typical week in your life look like?
Every week is really different, which I love. I’m really lucky that I can work on travel dates that work for the whole family. But there’s never a day that’s in balance and there’s never a balanced week. Hopefully, the year is balanced when I look back on it.
Do you have a hard time saying no to opportunities?
I used to. I’ve gotten a lot better about it.
How do you and Justin stay connected with such busy schedules?
That’s another thing that ebbs and flows. Sometimes, as parents, we forget to pay attention to that element of our lives. We love to travel, so that’s always been something that’s been exciting and an interest to share. We also love to talk to each other about work and family.
What do you do to feed your own soul?
Work is a part of that. I find my work really fulfilling. But I also love to do needlework. I find that very relaxing. And I love to travel and read.
What is your passion for entertaining rooted in?
I grew up watching my parents entertain all the time. They loved it. Justin and I love to entertain, but at this stage we’re having a lot of parties that are for the children, which is great.
You’re like a human Pinterest board. How do you stay inspired?
I’ve always been a really curious person. I’m always thirsty for more, whether it’s online or in magazines or books. I’m very visual. I love Instagram. I love going through coffee-table books. I still get real magazines and devour them. I just love to research things and experiment. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.
Do you ever have “Pinterest fails?”
We have constant Pinterest fails. They’re nonstop. I can go into a project with a very specific idea about how I expect it to turn out and then Millie will have a completely different idea of what it’s supposed to be. It’s hard for me to remember that the point is to bring them joy; it’s not about it being perfect.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? Do you ever order pizza and eat off of paper plates?
Oh, for sure we do. It’s the same mess at our house as at everybody else’s houses. It’s a nonstop hectic life with kids and two working parents. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. I’m a Virgo, so I’m super type A. I like everything in order and neat. All of that has completely gone out the window in the last 10 years.
Is there a mantra or philosophy you live by?
Every year I pick a new word that I put on my calendar, so that it pops up every day at 6am. My word is joy. It pops up every morning when I wake up. I try to remember that, underneath it all, I really just want to have a life and a home that’s filled with joy.
If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?
To slow down and just enjoy it. I love doing stuff with the kids—taking them to a museum or doing a craft at home—but looking back I wish I had just let us all be bored together sometimes. I also always felt that every problem needed to be fixed immediately, so just to relax and let the little ones discover how to fix things for themselves.