If you already follow me in Facebook then you’ve already seen this, if you don’t—watch this—also, follow me on Facebook, it’s really not all shameless self promotion all the time, I do scout out a bunch of interesting news-y things to share with the class.
Thanks to Shonda Rhimes I would like to take a moment to discuss doing it all. In our house we have this conversation all the time. The Fella both seems to think I’m not super-human, I think I am. He laughs and picks up the pieces when I turn into a big blubbering disaster whenever he’s proven correct.
After watching the most recent X-Men movie, The Fella and I sat down and discussed what we’d like our mutant powers to be. Mine were twofold. The first was to be invisible because I’m a huge snoop and still think that super cool things happen when I’m not around. The second was more practical. I’d like to be able to stop time, a la Zack Morris and Hermione Granger, so that I could get everything I want to do done. I want to do it all. Somewhere in my re-written history I believe that at some point I was capable of doing all things, and now I’m a big loser who can’t get her act together.
Be glad you don’t live in my brain, it’s a really hectic place. Stay with me here, I’m changing topics, but it’s all related to the video, I swear…
After the first 10-minutes or so of Shonda discussing how nervous she is, she makes a good point, that she doesn’t do it all. If she’s succeeding at one aspect of her life, she’s inevitably failing at an equally important part. But, she wants for her children to see her as a successful working woman, to come visit her at work and know that she runs the show, even if it means that she sometimes misses bath time.
It made me think a lot about my own impressions of women in the workplace. When I was young my mom was our family breadwinner. She worked long hours at a job she hated and was exhausted when she got home. She may not have had a career she loved but she loved who she was when she was working. When I was a kid most of my friends had moms who stayed home, and I wanted more than anything for my mom to stay home, too. Now, I’m so thankful that my mom taught me that women are forces to be reckoned with, that they can provide for their families. She instilled in me from a very early age that I needed to have my own money and my independence.
When I got older and people asked what my father did as a means of finding out my social score, I was confused. Why didn’t they ask about my mom?
I’ve never faked a wallet grab on a date, I’ve always paid my way, and if my date insisted, I insisted on paying on date two—and I meant it. I’m no longer “dating” but it never ceases to annoy me when a waiter hands our bill to The Fella (or any other guy I happen to be dining with). I cringe when people say “Is Roy taking you somewhere special for Valentine’s Day” or any other such innuendo that assumes that I am someone to be taken care of or that Roy is somehow more responsible for our household than I am. Roy’s always “gotten it”, he knows I can take care of myself. He can take care of himself, too. And we really like to take care of each other—but neither of us expects to be taken care of.
I was exposed to the flip side of that a few weeks ago when I spoke at a conference for women in business. There were some amazing speakers there. And, as would be expected, there was a decent amount of talk about gender equality in the workplace—and the lack thereof. I listened, and appreciated, but I don’t agree. Maybe a few years ago, maybe now in a generation in older than mine, it’s still there. But among my close female friends I see women who are achievers, women with advanced degrees who work in academia, in law, in business, women who are the breadwinners in their families. I see women who had amazing conventional careers, and then decided they want to reinvent their careers to create more room for their families—how lucky are we that we live in a time when that’s possible? Alongside all of them I see really proud partners, men who couldn’t be any more excited for their spouse’s achievements. I do think things have changed and continue to change, and maybe my generation is still at the early phase of its success, but in 20 years, how amazing are we going to be? And how amazing are the kids that come from families like these going to be? Sheesh, the world is going to be awesome.
The Fella and I are hoping to make some new people in the next few years (hence the whole marriage thing), and I’m really lucky, because if things go according to plan (ha! When does that ever happen?) I’ll be able to work from home, writing books (I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve) and freelancing along the way. Writing is kind of a cool gig like that. But it’s not the lack of nanny that I’m hoping for (we’ll probably have help even if I do work from home so that I can actually work), it’s that my kids will get to see me in action and know that I’m pretty successful at what I do. I work really hard. And even though I don’t seem to be able to do it all, I do an awful lot. Whether they’re male or female, I hope my kids know how important it is to be independent and to respect others independence.
Shonda Rhimes is kind of amazing, her kids are really lucky. But she’s not unique. There are all sorts of moms and dads doing the not doing it all every day–and their kids are also really lucky.
PS – I will get back to food and fitness posts…tomorrow. My apartment has been taken over by wedding gifts and I’ve been having a hard time photographing my food in the normal spots–bad excuse, I know.