“What is the rudest question you can ask a woman? “How old are you?” “What do you weigh?” “When you and your twin sister are alone with Mr. Hefner do you have to pretend to be lesbians?” No, the worst question is: “How do you juggle it all?”“How do you juggle it all?” people constantly ask me, with an accusatory look in their eyes. “You’re screwing it all up, aren’t you?” their eyes say. My standard answer is that I have the same struggles as any working parent but with the good fortune to be working at my dream job. Or sometimes I just hand them a juicy red apple I’ve poisoned in my working-mother witch cauldron and fly away. The second-worst question you as a woman is “Are you going to have more kids?” This is rude…I debate the second-baby issue when I can’t sleep. “Should I? No. I want to. I can’t. I must. Of course not. I should try immediately.”…And what’s so great about work, anyway? Work won’t visit you when you’re old. Work won’t drive you to the radiologist’s for a mammogram and take you out afterward for soup.” The New Yorker, February 14th, 2011
It was a surprising look into the worries of a working mother who has an army of people who depend on her for their livelihoods, and yet struggles with the question of taking care of her child and expanding her family. I’ve had the same worries, the same fears. What if my children resent me for working? (They’d better not, since it keeps them fed, thank you.) What do I do with the talents and ambition I’ve been given? I’d better have another baby right away if I want to ever have another baby. How will I fit another baby into our family? They’re universal questions that mothers face; they don’t go away just because you have your dream job, are famous, or are super funny. It’s reassuring that we fear the same sense of failure and the weight of responsibility.