Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Feeling a little scattered this week!
Would you believe the second picture was taken on a rooftop in Brooklyn?
We are invited to our first "1st" birthday tomorrow, for another baby in our building, then on Sunday a going away party for one of Axel's little friends who is moving to London. These kids have a busy social calendar.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
|New York, 2013|
When Lean In came out, one of the (apt, I thought) criticisms was that while Sheryl Sandberg encouraged women to dedicate themselves to "important" careers, she never really explained how she managed it all on a day to day basis. She alluded to a helpful husband, and to forgetting St. Patrick's Day at her son's school, but otherwise left all the "how to" of it fairly vague.
Well, now the New York Times has a series on how individual women manage the work life balance. Their first installment, written by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was pretty great.
Monday, May 13, 2013
A windy, sunny Mother's Day. These pictures are from a little flower stand that set up for the day outside of Allswell. And here's a cute slideshow of gals who work in flower shops in Brooklyn.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
A gorgeous Friday and a thunderstormy Saturday around these parts.
We went to the garden center on Metropolitan (behind Crest hardware) and got some veggies for our roof plot (but did not see Franklin the pig); checked out a hydrangea and crab apple tree that might work on our deck; had a delicious lunch thanks to Blue Apron; and popped into the new children's shoe shop, Wonderwolf.
I finished Homeward Bound. Hard to distill what's actually a very nuanced book, but I liked it very much and saw my own dilemmas in its pages.
A few points that resonated, or made me think:
A lot of this glorification of the domestic sphere has to do with Gen Y's sense that the corporate world has failed them; that (for men and women) working 60+ hour weeks is incompatible with a balanced life; that there must be something else. That a sad Amy's Organic burrito heated up in the microwave after a twelve hour work day isn't quite cutting it. It's no surprise, then, that a lot of otherwise ambitious people fantasize about checking out and moving to Vermont to make cheese.
That said, a lot of what's called "dropping out" or "opting out" isn't exactly that. You read a lifestyle blog that glorifies the charms of a folksy, cozy, stay at home mom life...but if that blogger is earning $60k writing about their chili recipes, they're not so much a stay at home mother who has dropped out of the work force as they are a small business owner. Just because it doesn't look like work doesn't mean it isn't. It's sometimes a new phenomenon that isn't exactly like the return to '50s values it may appear to be.
The roots of the hyper-natural parenting movement have to do with a disappointment in "the system." If there are scares about Big Food, people feel they must make their own organic food. If there is no reliable, affordable day care, if you only get 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, if, ultimately the sacrifice (and the math) doesn't add up, maybe you quit your job and become an attachment parent or simply "lean out" for a few years.
And maybe you embrace doing so....but that doesn't mean you would have made the same decisions if there were more options to fuse gratifying paid work with raising small children.
The author talks a lot about highly educated women who've rejected conventional careers and taken big pay cuts to sell knitted goods on Etsy in the name of work life balance, perhaps making do with less to make it all happen. But she explores the trend with a cautionary note. If few women are left in the corporate or political worlds and thus well positioned to fix a broken system, the hard-won battles of previous generations of women may be undercut.
If everyone, say, home schools their children, or quits their job due to inadequate maternity leave, who is going to be around to make the public schools better or push for family-friendly leave policies from a position of power?
Just the other day I was talking to a friend who has turned down several promising job offers because the company wouldn't let her work one day a week at home (and thus see her toddler a few more hours a week.) So the company loses a great worker, and my friend freelances, making some economic and personal sacrifices in the process.
All in all, a good read.
Friday, May 10, 2013
|New York, 2013|
An excerpt from a good essay on the differences between the fantasy and reality of life as a freelance writer:
"I imagined teaching, being a teacher almost exactly like my least-engaged college professors, the ones who showed up to workshop with a large coffee and some xeroxed Raymond Carver stories and then sat there for two hours while their students talked, sipping the coffee and sometimes nodding. The rest of my time would be spent alone in a library or a home office, some room with a computer, a desk, a chair. I would write novels and then, later in the day, make dinner. Maybe sometimes if I felt like it I’d accept an assignment from the kind of magazine no one really reads but that basically exists to pad the bank accounts of already-rich writers, travel and specialized beauty magazines, you know, '[So and So's] Wacky Adventures In Bangkok...'"
"What made my first year of full-time freelancing so happy, besides not ever having to ride the subway during rush hour, wasn’t anything specific about what my workdays were like. I wasn’t accomplishing much, I was wasting a lot of time, and a lot of the time I was bored. Most days, my work did not go well and I felt dejected about my actual writing. But I still felt good and hopeful, because all these potential paths seemed possible. Everything seemed possible. Unpleasant things had happened to me but I still had never been majorly unlucky. This sense of infinite possibility was like a drug; hooked on it, I clung to it even after it should have been clear that I needed to move on, I couldn’t just stay poised to do something forever."
Watching as the One World Trade center spire is put in place from our balcony; reading Homeward Bound (a book that explores the "leaning out" movement); working from home today; excited for Will to come home tonight.
The book is really interesting, especially living where we live, and it speaks to a phenomenon I relate to much more than I related to Lean In, which I ultimately felt like I had to read. A full report to come...in the mean time, there's a good review of it here.