Friday morning I had the rather exciting experience of taping a segment for the Today Show. I woke up bright and early in my hotel room — at a lark-ish 5:45 a.m. — to be at the Rockefeller Center studio at 6:45 for hair and make-up. Everyone was very friendly — including Matt Lauer, who interviewed me — and I was happy with how the segment turned out. I actually liked how my hair looked! And I appreciated being able to share the message of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast with a national audience.
Of course, getting myself to be in NYC at 6:45 a.m. on a Friday was logistically complex. Our nanny had requested Friday the 29th off months ago. So naturally, that’s the date the Today Show folks selected about a week prior. My husband had been planning to be home by 7 p.m. on Thursday the 28th to take over, but things happened and he was on the west coast instead. We made it all work, though. I took the train to NYC on Thursday afternoon, and home on Friday morning, with my children well-cared for in between.
It occurred to me, though, as I was in the midst of all this, that if I were prone to believing narratives about how “crazed” working mothers’ lives must be or, per the whole Anne-Marie Slaughter hubbub, that women can’t “have it all,” I might have viewed Friday a little differently. I might be writing fraught blog posts about childcare conflicts and the difficulty (impossibility?) of “balancing” parenthood with trying to write and promote books people will read. But I’m inclined to view whatever logistical issues come up as problems to be solved — not as a broader statement on social issues necessitating a magazine cover with a baby in a briefcase. Life always has challenges — and the challenges involved in figuring out who’s watching your kids so you can appear on the Today Show are challenges billions of people on this planet would love to have. Talking about my ebook on national television, then taking the train home to spend Friday with my kids, felt pretty close to having it all — whatever that phrase may mean. It’s all a matter of perception.