Professional moms know that the way to keep our sanity is by not being perfect at everything. What are some things you are not perfect about?
Luckily I’ve never been obsessed with perfection which is good because I would really be disappointed right now. The best thing about having this career at home is that you can really slide on a lot of things. I don’t have to get dressed in the morning and get somewhere on time so I leave the lunchbox-packing (and sometimes the homework) until the morning which isn’t always that great. Sometimes, when you’re busier it forces you to be more organized.
I have a fear of cooking and don’t really cook unless it’s a special occasion, so my husband does most of the cooking. So that’s one of the big ways in which I’m always feeling like a failure: I could be doing it, if I really forced myself, but I don’t because I justify it with the thought that I’m working so hard and worrying so much that I shouldn’t have to cook, too.
If you could afford to stay at home, would you still choose to work? Why?
I would still work, but I would love not to have the incredible skull-crushing pressure of being the one responsible for our future. I still love to write and to go to New York to see old friends or to network or to do something book-related. Whether you work for a company or at home in your pajamas, if you’re the breadwinner, it’s hard to carry the burden. No matter how many corners you try to cut, at the end of the day there are the basic expenses – the monthly “nut” as I call it – and it’s always there.
What has been your worst working-mom experience?
When my son was two and a half we put him in a sort of “educational playgroup” with a few other kids at this woman’s house. He would go there from 9-1pm and my husband was the one to drop him off and then pick him up. I was working on finishing my book and once it was done I finally had the time to pick up my son. All the other moms were there and they literally would not look or speak to me. And the woman who ran the group said: “Look! It’s Benji’s mom! Most of you don’t know who she is because she never comes!”
To make matters worse, my son was playing on the jungle gym when I came that day to get him and did not want to go home yet. It was horrible – as if I was this absentee parent who he never saw and didn’t have a relationship with.