In one of those moments where I should have been getting things done I stumbled across a column on The Cut, How I Get It Done. Taking its cue, I'm assuming somewhat, from Allison Pearson's book I Don't Know How She Does It which became something of a bible for women juggling work and motherhood in the early 2000s. It came out the year after my first child was born, a fictional account of the very thing I was about to go through. Not that I identified too much with its heroine, Kate Reddy: she had a high-paying job in finance, a full-time nanny, a husband who cooked. In 2011, it was made into a decent little movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker, if you've got nothing better to do one rainy Sunday afternoon.
While much in the book and the film was close to home, I do like to find out how other (real) women get through their day. I pepper my girlfriends with questions, love reading books such as Annabel Crabb's The Wife Drought, her recent quarterly essay Men at Work: Australia's parenthood trap, profiles on women that talk about their accomplishments and failures. So when I found How I Get It Done I burned through my free articles quickly (subscribe, people).
There was some great life advice. Politicians, activists, entrepreneurs, authors, actors, journalists. I didn't recognise too many names: Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black, stylist Rachel Zoe, global fashion director for Harper's Bazaar Carine Roitfeld, Friends creator Marta Kauffman, author Elizabeth Gilbert, philanthropist Melinda Gates were a few I did.
I loved that this column in The Cut has turned an idea on its head a little, it's about getting it done, not having it all. All of these women admitted failures, some guilty secrets (Kauffman hits the snooze button a couple of times before she gets up). The column was a conversation too, written in the first person, a series of questions flowing from their experience. I tried answering a few of my own.
On her morning routine I know I should have a better one. The alarm goes off at 6.51 so I can hit the snooze button and roll out of bed at 7am. If my children are with me I'll wander down to stir them, thinking tomorrow will be the day they'll start getting themselves out of bed. I might skip breakfast, or have a cup of tea and a slice of toast. Doesn't take long to pull myself together. I wonder what time women who actually do their hair and make-up of a morning have to get out of bed. We're in the car for school by 8.15 at the latest. I've never been a morning person, if I'm on my own I might sleep in a little knowing I can work later into the evening. How can I become one of those people who are up at five, and fit in exercise at the start of the day? Just set my alarm earlier, you say?
On commuting It's hardly a commute, but time in the car with my son is one of life's simple pleasures. I'm discovering all sorts of interesting music, grateful that I now know never to listen to it when I'm on my own. We also have conversations about all sorts of things. The car is a great place to talk. He's learning to drive, which scares me, it was only yesterday he started to walk. It's nice being driven places too after so long behind the wheel by myself.
On being single I guess I'm used to it now, but probably never will be. I don't want to be with someone for the wrong reasons, because I think I'm lonely, because the bills would be halved. I want to be with someone who makes me smile every time I see his face, someone who makes my panties tingle even when we're just talking. Perhaps it's ridiculous to think that at this age but here's hoping.
On staying organised I thrive on organisation. Which is why, of late, I haven't been thriving. I need to get back to routine, back to lists, back to knowing which end is which.
On how she feels at this stage of her career I liked this question. How different all the answers were. I feel lucky to (still) be working in an industry that has undergone so many changes. I fear being made redundant, reading too many stories of 50-something women who find it impossible to regain employment and spiral into poverty and homelessness. I sometimes wish, however, I was brave enough to make a giant leap into something new, spending my last remaining economically productive days doing completely new. But then I wouldn't be able to ramble on like this, would I?