“I think the “mommy war” is a battle that rages INSIDE each parent – that internal battle between guilt and sanity – between “perfection” and reality. Between what family life is supposed look like (calm and pretty and Pinterest!) and what family life actually looks like (chaos and messy and Survivor!). Those of us who can’t handle that tension take the war from inside to outside – and start to judge and project and lash out at others. We defend our circumstances by snarking about people in different circumstances.”— Momastery
Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said on Wednesday afternoon that their female colleagues can take most of the credit for driving the compromise that is expected to temporarily reopen the U.S. government and raise the debt ceiling before Thursday’s deadline. “Leadership, I must fully admit, was provided primarily from women in the Senate,” McCain said after the bipartisan deal was announced.
What if instead of flaming the media circus around Sheryl Sandberg, Marisa Mayer and Lena Dunham, we told stories about powerful women who aren’t already in the spotlight? And what if we measured power by, say, compassionate action, instead of executive status and salary?
The first Having a Ball Having it All live show was on Friday, and all in attendance did, indeed, have a ball. Listen in on my opening monologue, in which I get into character as Melody Bell, the perfect woman, and talk about phone calls with Beyonce, breast feeding my kids til they’re 6, rehabilitating llamas in Africa and so much more…
“As she told GQ, she feels more complete now. “Giving birth made me realize the power of being a woman,” she said. “I have so much more substance in my life.” But also: “I love my job, but it’s more than that: I need it.” The menagerie of stylists, managers, assistants, and nannies who make it all possible aren’t foregrounded. After all, this is part of having it all: pretending you didn’t have to break a sweat to do so.”— Beyonce’s Message: Women Can Have it All (New Republic)
“Bad data in equals bad data out. Algorithms that dating sites have spent millions of dollars to refine aren’t necessarily bad. They’re just not as good as we want them to be, because they’re computing our half-truths and aspirational wishes.”—Love in the Age of Data – how one woman hacked her way to happily ever after (via explore-blog)
You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.
You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.
“Movement and change are the essence of our being; rigidity is death; conformity is death: let us say what comes into our heads, repeat ourselves, contradict ourselves, fling out the wildest nonsense, and follow the most fantastic fancies without caring what the world does or thinks or says. For nothing matters except life.”—Virginia Woolf, Montaigne (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
Clearly this daily journal thing has lost steam. Or, more to the point, I got bored with it. So let’s just say it will be an occasional series, not a daily one. I know, I know, you’re heartbroken - you’d grown so accustomed to it, how will you go on, and so forth. I’m sorry to let you down. I’ve just gotten really excited about other projects, including putting together the live show that goes with this here blog. It’s coming up Friday, March 1 at 9:30pm at The Tank in NYC (New Yorkers, mark your calendars!). The Tank is a really cool nonprofit theater that supports emerging artists, including, in this case, yours truly. I’m putting together a stellar roster of female performers to do standup, improv, sketch, storytelling, video, you name it, all somehow riffing on the theme of what it means to have it all. I’ll be MC’ing the show in character and let’s face it, it will be a whole lot of fun.
Meanwhile, in my real life, I attended a self help seminar (my first) in which the speaker urged us to think about “Being Our All” instead of “Having It All” — so I pass that along as food for thought. I also pass along the observation that the more I write (as I have been over on my main blog), the less I’m distracted by thoughts about “having it all” and balance and so forth… I’m just in the zone. I’m happy. Balance just happens.
And with that bit of profundity, I leave you for the day.
Yesterday was a perfect day. Hubby, baby and I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, then took the subway to the Lower East Side and explored Essex Market - then capped it with a drink (milk for baby) at the Whiskey Ward, our favorite bar. So strange - we never thought we’d be there with a baby! But she had a grand old time, in part due to the presence of two ceiling fans — her favorite thing to watch. I was so glad we live in NYC.
Today, a cozy day at home, and I found time to write for the first time in a while, and we’re seeing friends tonight, and all is well.
This morning, my daughter’s happiness lit up the entire house. She just squealed and squealed with delight. My heart overflowed with joy.
I got to take a bath, with a Lush bath bomb, while reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp (which I’m loving).
I started fleshing out my vision for my live show about having it all (March 1st at The Tank in NYC - stay tuned!).
I talked to my therapist. It had been ages and I needed it and it felt good.
Bad things that happened today:
Existential angst: Can I ever make a living from my creative pursuits? Can we afford to live in Brooklyn? Etc. I’m tired of these thoughts. I want to press a button and figure it all out. I know that, as Rilke said, we need to live our way into the answers, but… patience has never been my strong suit. I should meditate…nothing else leaves my mind as sparkly with stillness.
I’ve been silent since Sandy Hook, unable to consider that “having it all” means anything more than “having life.” This blog felt petty.
But of course, to live life means to wrestle with its meaning — at least, for many of us, it means this. And so I resume my exploration, with you, of what fulfillment looks like for us lady-folk in the year 2012, as it turns into the year 2013.
I do so with a renewed mindfulness that “having it all” is a phrase I intend in a tongue-in-cheek way, playing off the history of the words to explore, in a modern context, what it means for a woman to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, while knowing full well that in the most fundamental ways, “having it all” means having your survival needs met, means political freedom, means freedom from hunger — things that I would assume most folks reading this blog need not fight for on a daily basis.
But we all struggle, no matter how privileged we may be. Denying our struggle to feel privileged guilt does nothing to ease others’ suffering. We can make the world a better place if we can find the light within ourselves, and I hope this blog can help with that in some small way.
“There is only one way in this world to achieve true happiness, and that is to express yourself with all your skill and enthusiasm in a career that appeals to you more than any other. In such a career, you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement. You feel you are making a contribution. It is not work.”—How to Avoid Work – a 1949 guide to doing what you love (via explore-blog)
This morning I wrote a monologue for my March 1st show (tied to this blog), during a long walk around my parents’ neighborhood. It felt so good, after not exercising in days. Prior to the writing-walk I nursed my daughter and played with her and since then I’ve done a million other things and it’s only 10:30am (not even). “Doing nothing” is an increasing impossibility as a parent but claiming a little “me” time at the start of the day charges me up, and makes me come to her with fresh energy and love and life. Now to open our stockings! Merry Christmas, all.
Teachers and Mothers: Our Real Heroes After Tragedy
"We protect the weakest members of our society together. This is how we face tragedies, how we heal ourselves in their wake, and how we prevent them. The problem is bigger and broader than one shooter or one parent. And so the answer isn’t just gun control (although we could use more of it) or mental-health-care mandates (although we could use those, too). It’s that we, as a nation, need to prioritize caregiving.”
“We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.”— Alain de Botton
I can’t find it within myself to blog about “having it all” just yet. As I said the other day, just being alive feels like having it all. I’m hugging my daughter close and keeping an eye out for the helpers, as Mister Rogers so sagely advised we do at times like this…
Tara, age 29, is a writer/editor, yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner
What does “having it all” mean to you?
Having a balance in all aspects of life. A stable financial foundation, a job I find fulfilling that doesn’t exhaust me, friends who will love me and support me and help me stay grounded without judgement, the ability to spend lots of quality time with my family, a clean and happy home, my health—spiritual, mental and physical, and time to maintain and enjoy it.
Do you have it all?
In many ways, when I write the above, I feel that I do. I am not so far removed from any of the things I mentioned, but those same two things always get in the way of my feeling free: need for more time and more financial freedom.
Who is the most feminine person you know?
My mom. She is graceful, kind and nurturing, sentimental, beautiful, bold, and a lover of celebration.
Who is the most powerful person you know?
My dad. He has always looked at boundaries as suggestions, and has built his own life as he chose. He follows his gut and is confident in it. He is not wishy washy. He is generous but not to a fault. Because of the ease of his confidence, his generosity, and his creating his own path, people follow and look up to him.
Finish this sentence: “If I were five times bolder, I’d…”
Trust with greater assurance that the laws of attraction work and I would quit my full-time job to explore the healing arts more. I would trust that when I need support, it will come. But there is still something in me that thinks it unwise to do so without a cushion.
“What, exactly, is ‘having it all,’ anyway? Rising to the top of your profession and yet still being able to be home in time for dinner and make it to all the soccer games? That seems impossible, no matter how we restructure our economy and our society. Something, somewhere, is going to have to give; there are only so many hours in the day and only so many soccer games. That is not to say that our economy and our society couldn’t be structured to take work-life balance more into account — just that it seems dangerous to assume that somehow there is a magical solution that allows one to do both, perfectly.”— Doree Shafrir, I Don’t Want to Have it All, Buzzfeed
“The loudest voices in the culture tell us mostly that we have to act and look certain ways to be happy. The Smart Girls environment attempts to guide viewers to exploration and discovery instead. We say: ‘Find something that makes you feel most yourself – then come tell us about it.’”— Meredith Walker, co-founder with Amy Poehler of Smart Girls at the Party, in an article about giving back
While nursing my exhausted baby daughter right before putting her to bed, I hear my dog nosing his way into the trash in the next room, where I threw out a container of bad edamame last week after it made me sick. If I intervene with the dog I will startle the baby / disrupt her sleepy ride to sleepy-time, so I ignore the dog, but his scarfing noise is starting to get her attention, so I turn on the white noise machine, at which point the doorbell rings. The dry cleaner is supposed to come at 7 and it’s 6:30 and my boob is hanging out and I’m trying to help my daughter drift off to sleep so I ignore the doorbell, and the scarfing noise, and then the doorbell rings again, and I just laugh to myself, and a few minutes later my baby is in bed and I have separated the dog from the trash (he will throw up soon, I’m sure). I finish cooking dinner and pull broken glass from the beer-glazed black beans (I broke the expensive jar of honey I just bought, and tried to scrape together a shard-free tablespoon’s worth for the beans, but apparently some broken pieces snuck in - crunchy!). 30 minutes later the dry cleaner comes back and rings the bell and when I answer it she looks so exhausted. I hand her my bag of clothes.