I’m always looking for a way to have a little time to myself. And one of the truly bizarre truths of being a working mom is that business trips = time to myself. I’ve been at the BlogHer offices in California all this week. First of all, it’s truly great to see co-workers who are mostly just voices on the telephone or words in my email. But second? I got up yesterday and the day before and this morning and exercised for 45 minutes! And watched the morning news! And had two cups of coffee while noodling around on the internet, uninterrupted!
It’s been so long since I’ve taken a business trip, I forgot how rejuvenating they can be! (And I’m saying this despite the fact that I had a blinding headache from dehydration until 5am the first day, and that I had no dinner one night because the hotel didn’t have a restaurant and I didn’t want to eat at the Wendy’s next door.) I literally couldn’t wait to get up at 5:45am today to have another workout. It’s crazy what passes for thrills when you’re a working mom.
So this recent reminder of the strange joys and challenges of my station in life is making me all the happier that I am speaking at an intimate retreat for working moms in just a few weeks. The event is called “ReTreat Yourself.” (Isn’t that genius? Who doesn’t think she deserves a treat?) And my topic is a favorite: “Balance is Bull$#&*” That’s not to say that I don’t think women can find their own personal equilibrium—it’s that I believe the very word “balance” has too many implications that are impossible to attain, so I think we should all agree to walk away from the idea of equilibrium in these busy, crazy times.
What I do think we can and should reach for is this: A sense of having made choices that please us, a knowledge that the power to change our choices is always at our hands (even if those changes aren’t easy), and an acceptance of the simple truth that life in America right now is fraught and frenetic—and not something we have done to ourselves.
I’m still working on my “speech” (I don’t really give speeches: I gather my many thoughts and insights I’ve gathered over the years and collect them into a shiny collage), so I’d love to know: What is hard for you about being a working mom? Or about being a working woman? (Life is just as busy, I know, for those of you without kids.) What are the questions you ask yourself when you’re lying in bed at night, wondering if you’re doing “the right things?” I’d love to think about your questions, and add them to mine, and use them all to stir up a really meaningful and interesting conversation with those 50 women who are ReTreating themselves in Virginia.
I promise to come back and share whatever I learn. And I will also come back with a better word than “balance” as the goal for which we should all be reaching. Maybe if we can change the language around what we expect out of life, we can all feel better without changing a thing in our full, dynamic, passionate, crazy lives.
(And P.S. I’m also speaking here: at Smart Start Divorce Expo in NYC on April 1. Read about it on my other blog, Falling Apart In One Piece.)