I Don’t Know How She Does It…Yet

One month before my 31st birthday, that birthday wherein I crossed firmly into my “thirties,”  a move hit the theaters starting Sarah Jessica Parker as a mother, wife, and bread-winner (only those three, you ask?).  The movie flopped – all of the watchers living in the “real world” responded with a yeah right, who can really do all that?

So the movie fizzled and died, but the idea stuck with me – I want it all.  The career, the kids, the partner, the home…and, of course, my sanity.

The thing of it is, I actually know a real woman who has it all.  No, really.  Let’s call her…Kate.

Kate is a Dartmouth grad, triathlete, with a great career in business, who (get this) met her now-ex-husband (a Harvard-educated former Navy SEAL) while competing in an Ironman.  When they had their first child, Kate strapped that kid to her chest and kept up with her life.  First baby I have ever met who regularly slept through the night from birth.  And I don’t blame him after all the daytime activity he got.

Two more kids (and one less serially-cheating husband) later, Kate is still on top of it all.  She has figured out how to work enough to support her kid – sans child support from said cheating ex – and be home when her youngest gets out of preschool every day.  She has kept her amazing shape and, even better, her amazing attitude.

So where Hollywood Kate let me down, real word Kate has kept my dream alive – I can have it all.  My all.  And here’s what my all looks like:

  • To quote Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney, I’m a lover not a fighter.  I want to be able to give and love and help, which is one of the reasons I love the idea of being a mom as part of my career.
  • Related to that, I enjoy teaching – helping people gain knowledge and understanding – and not just classroom teaching.  Public education, educating legislators, etc.  I truly believe that lack of education is the root of the problems in the U.S., if not the world.
  • Collaboration, working as a team – this is where former cheerleader in me comes out and I just want some of that good, old-fashioned team spirit!  I always wanted to create team t-shirts for my previous employer, and am pretty excited about having a pink t-shirt from my current employer that says “women are watching, and we vote.”
  • That being said, I also like an amount of autonomy – a space within which I have the freedom to do my own thing.
  • I love, love, love to work with creative, organized, fun-loving, and forward-thinking people.  People who would blow the roof off of academic standards, but also can really think outside the box to find solutions.  And people who try to see things from every side, in order to figure out the direction to go in (I have a pretty low tolerance for working with idiots or people who don’t take pride in their work).
  • I’ve learned that I like a combination of “office” settings – one where it’s routine enough that you can rely on the people you work with, but also one where working from home or on the road is permissible and effective.  At a prior job, I had a tiny laptop and a smart phone so I really could be connected anywhere and I could get things accomplished even when I was say, driving to Colorado to see my sister, or home sick with the cold from hell.
  • I also love being able to travel, both for work and because my work gives me enough time off/flexibility to travel.
  • Topically, I am drawn to issues relating to incarceration, conditions of confinement, the United States Constitution, international development, legal writing, and literary theory (particularly deconstructionism and its relationship to both the constitution and the Vedas).
  • I really enjoy research and writing, but I also really love balance – a balance between that head work and actually, physically getting out and talking to/working with people.  I need both or I can get a little crazy (if you know me, you’re probably nodding your head right now).
  • I need balance between time spent at or on work and time for myself.  I want a family and exercise and a garden and a well-used kitchen…and a great relationship with my partner in crime.
  • I like the feeling of security, which has led me to enjoy working for established organizations…or more to the point, working for other people who have all the risk.  If I felt secure in working for myself, then that option would be more of a possibility for me.
  • I need to be able to make enough money to pay my bills (Read: Student Loans), have some fun and travel, and actually have saving or retirement.  And I like knowing how much I am regularly taking in, so that I can plug it into my budgeting spreadsheet for planning purposes.
  • I want to be seen in my professional (and personal) life as reliable and honest – someone who people can call when they need answers, and who they can trust to just admit it when she doesn’t know…and then she will go help them find what they need.
  • I also want to be able to grow and learn.  This is also why I like surrounding myself with smart, creative people and being able to travel to new and (very) different places.

That’s all I want.  Easy peasy, right?

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