Can’t We All Just Get Along?

A few weeks ago, Judith Warner wrote this fascinating article for the New York Times magazine.

The gist: Moms who, a decade or so ago, jumped off the corporate ladder to stay home with their children now want back into the work force. The piece was interesting and provocative and well worth a read.

Warner’s article reminded me of when I was a young child and had just released Balancing Act, my first novel. The book was reviewed in the Chicago Sun-Times, which was a exhilarating and depressing moment. Exhilarating because I love Chicago, I lived in Chicago, and the Sun-Times is a formidable newspaper. Depressing because the reviewer, I felt, distilled my story into a question of whether a mom should stay home or remain in the workplace.

*My point in writing that book, for the record, was cheap therapy. I cannot tell you how freeing it was to write a book that made my girlfriends laugh, involved a disastrous urine/poop scene, and documented Marc’s obsession with budget travel covertly into the character of Jake Elliott. Culture wars? Not so much.

At the risk of sounding a lot like Pollyanna, can we take a moment and just get along?

I am a mom. I have a lot of jobs that are my responsibilities in any given day. Some of these jobs come with a (meager) paycheck. Many do not. I am grateful to count among my friends women who are physicians, lawyers, writers, musicians, nurses, television producers, teachers, realtors, artists, small business owners, and stay-at-home moms. All of these women are hard-working mothers, in the home, out of the home. I haven’t met one yet who feels she is doing everything exactly right and lives in perfect balance. (Actually, I did meet one really annoying woman once who felt she was doing everything exactly right and I found I couldn’t understand the words coming out of her mouth. So we don’t hang out now.)

Can we, as intelligent, passionate, blessed-beyond-measure women support each other? Propel each other to better things? Can we hope sincerely for each other that the woman God created us to be will find her way in this big and crazy world? It’s tough enough doing this thing without female infighting.

I didn’t particularly love junior high. I vote that we stop reliving it.

Whether you are on the corporate ladder, crushing it, being pommeled by it, or have jumped off forever or for a season, I applaud you onward today. Do what you do and do it heartily for the God who wired you and knows every curve of your face, every hair on your head. Ignore the naysayers today, girls, and live your own story well. I’m cheering you on.

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