Monday, December 21, 2009

A Role Model

I read a lot of blogs every day. Probably too many. I scan Perez for non-Twilight related content. I read the Fug Girls, because they are hilarious. But, among my favorite blogs are the ones by homesteaders or other types of people who come in daily contact with farm life. So, I love Pioneer Woman. I also like Cold Antler Farm. Sometimes, for a change, I read Joy The Baker. All these amazing women are basically living aspirational lives for me. I wish I had a sheep. 

Two days ago, I saw some old friends who I hadn't seen, in some cases, in 20 years. They have different life paths, and all have children old enough to hold pleasant conversations with Mom and Dad's old friend. I was blown away by how wonderful these children were, and how cozy their lives seemed to be. Homemade soup. Fudge in the kitchen. Canned sunshine in the form of peaches and apricots. Part of me really wanted a sheep.

And then I realized, in talking to Priya, that while I took a different path that means that at 32, I haven't got a beautiful little boy voraciously reading through the school library, or a viable garden overrun by kale, I do have an aggressive career, a wonderful husband, and no, no sheep. But, what I don't have is a role model. 

Why is there no blog that seems to explain the trials of a life of a professional woman? Why does it seem, at least to me, that when farm-girl complains about the 4am wake-up call to castrate sheep, that's an "aww, what an authentic life" moment, and when professional girl complains about the 4am wake-up call to catch a flight to london, that's a "you got yourself into this" moment?

And why does it feel like balancing the professional persona of a go-getter junior exec with a love of baked goods and the sincere desire for a more cozy home is somehow... unusual? 

Maybe we're all too busy to blog. Maybe no one pays for ad space on those blogs. Maybe the tables have turned, and instead of justifying home schooling and organic living, us professional women are now the ones forced to explain our life choices. But, part of me thinks it isn't fair. And part of me wants to fix it. 

So, let me start by saying - I love my job. I hate that I am up-and-at-em from 8-5 Eastern every day, regardless of the time zone I happen to be in. I hate that I have spent more time on airplanes this month than I have in my kitchen. But, I love my responsibilities, my goals, my successes and my learning in my job. I also love baking cookies and menu planning and watching reality TV, and I don't think that's incongruous. Just because I have an MBA doesn't mean I have to read the Financial Times in my spare time. I hate being told that I can't make it all work because it reinforces my own doubts. I hate having to hide my personal self to preserve my professional persona, and I'm working to do less and less of that. And I don't think that what I do is any less authentic or honorable than selling homemade cheese and breeding chickens. It's just different, and harder to explain at a cocktail party, mostly because people get bored. Chickens are fascinating.

And I will admit - I still want a sheep.

1 comment:

Priya said...

it's kind of slow life means fast lane, isn't it. i create for yourself some time ... some space to be still, some time for your brain to shut off. in my experience that's when your creative impulses come back and things right themselves slowly but surely.