I keep thinking about this.
Every time I watch it, I think about my life and what I think just "is" and about taking things for granted and Go Red for Women. I think about what it was like to be a teenage girl looking forward to being an adult and that these are the ladies I write for. This is the future for them. My "now".
And yes, it probably has something to do with my Gender Studies background that I keep considering this, turning it around in my mind, but it also has a lot to do with the embarrassing fact that I see *me* in this picture. I see my Mom. And my sister. And my best girlfriend. And a lot of amazing women I know who are struggling with the juggling and don't think for a moment about who they are in the picture; putting themselves and their health (physical, psychological, emotional) last.
It scares me. It scared me then. It scares me now.
I listened to Allison Pearson (author of I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT, which is now being released as a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker) in an interview on NPR and what struck me was this one (in my opinion: stupid/insulting) question where the interviewer asked why, having realized how difficult it was to balance work and motherhood after having one baby, would she decide to have another child? After mentally sputtering behind the wheel of my car, I was able to process her response and what really got me was this: rather than answer the question by delving down a road of righteous WTF-ery, Ms. Pearson had an amazing perspective: Instead of asking why she, and millions of women liker her who are part of the workforce and want to have a family, should change her life's plans to fit into what "work" demands, why doesn't "work" shift to accommodate women so that they can have their partners and future families, too? It was an interesting "Ah ha!" moment. One which is long in coming.
Are we closer now? Are things better? What are the costs of doing/not doing so? (Sort of like the costs in the video above?)
I was concerned about this as a teenager, being all revved up about Women's Rights and Equality and wanting to have a good education, a great career, and eventually be a (hopefully great) wife and mother, too. I wanted to have time for friends, career advancement, exercise and travel. I could make it all work, surely! But how was I going to do this? How would it all fit in? How did other mothers do it? I thought I'd ask around. I ran workshops for women and girls, one of which was called SuperMom Is A Myth where we explored the inherited ideas about what women should do/ought to do/are able to do and the key distinction that the *ability* to do anything is not the same as the expectation to *do* everything...especially all on your own. (Or it doesn't "count" somehow because asking for help shows weakness or some such malarky. Don't get me started.) And I asked moms how they might advise someone as if they were the daughters, granddaughters, nieces, or mentees who really wanted to know how to have it all. I remember the President of Ms. magazine on a panel answering thusly: "You can have it all. You just cannot have it all at once." I try to remember than when I have moments like this.
So I think about this video and Allison Pearson's Kate Reddy and most of all I think about my messy house, my desk full of paperwork, and a To Do list with "exercise" or "social time" not even on it, and I thought I might stop and wave a little flag to you and yours asking you to check in with yourselves, your sisters, best girlfriends, moms and make sure they're taking care of themselves because we can't do it all and shouldn't alone.