I just finished Sheryl Sandberg’s book. I really appreciate her movement to empower women to get to the CEO/COO/CFO level, and her direct, candid advice/appeal to working mothers in particular. But see, here’s the rub: unless your home-life responsibilities are split straight down the middle between you and your partner, you are destined to suffer from Pregnancy Brain forever. And Pregnancy Brain is just not cool in high stress, fast-moving workplaces.
My husband and I have figured a lot of shit out. It’s been a real journey for us over the past 7 years, starting with me working full time, then momming full time, then working 2 then 3 then 4 days a week. We are just now approaching my 2nd anniversary of full time work. Since the birth of our first son.
I love my job. I love my family. I have it all.
I HAVE IT ALL!!!!
(See it all there? Hanging by those shoddy threads? Threatening to unravel? Yup! It’s mine, all MINE! BWAHAHA!)
No, really. Somehow, its working. tenuously, but still…
People like me and my working mom friends are lunatics. Certifiable insanity with a dash of permanent Pregnancy Brain is the price you pay to “have it all.” Now, to be clear, Sheryl is not arguing that we can have it all. In fact, she’s pretty clear that we can’t. This is my counter-argument: I can. And I am. And hard though it is, I love my life.
You can too by following this carefully tailored program:
7-7:40: make lunches, make breakfasts, shower, dress, sing songs with or yell at your kids.
7:40-8:15 walk to schools. Drop off 7 year old, drop off five year old, walk to subway. (And definitely email or text as you’re walking to save time. Don’t worry, you’ll only trip and fall and skin your knees in the middle of the street 3 times. 5 max.)
8:15-9:30 travel. Work or write blog posts (as I’m doing now) on train. Or accidentally fall asleep. In a hot car. Next to a fat, smelly dude.
9:30-5:45pm: Work. (Use this time to also go to the bathroom and drink some water.)
5:45-6:30pm: travel home. Work on train. Or accidentally fall asleep. In a hot car. Next to a fat, smelly dude. Aaaaand make sure to miss your stop. Twice. Because you were asleep.
6:30-8:00pm: drink wine. Help with homework. Feed children. Bathe children. Do dishes. Do laundry. Read to children. Snuggle with children. Put away the children.
8:00-11:00pm: eat dinner with husband, do more dishes, watch The Walking Dead, work, hang out with husband, arrange play-dates, arrange childcare, rsvp to birthday parties, read, shop online, check Facebook, clean up cat throw up, go to bed.
Stuff that’s missing:
A full night of sleep
Any room for error, injury, illness, fussing, or forgetting things like your wallet, keys and/or phone.
Purely social phone calls
So, see? It’s possible. It’s fucking cuhrazzy, but totally doable. The gigantic knots in my back aren’t even hurting that badly any more. But if I leaned in any further, my back would surely spasm and the whole damn thing would go straight to hell in a hand basket.
Thanks for the encouragement, Sheryl, but I think I’m good for now.