Well I had a terrific time on KUOW the other night, and it whet my appetite for my visit to Seattle next month for several readings and luncheons and a book salon and even a TV appearance. There just is such a difference between the east coast jadedness I'm used to, and a certain pacific northwest smartness, and a utopianism I really appreciated.
So what does it mean to have it all? At show's end, Jeannie Yandel, the producer, asked us to think about alternative phrases. A sequenced life? (referring to working and family-caring and working in sequence, but not at the same time). That sometimes describes it, but many women and men move in and out of the workplace, they carousel, and they do part time work. A reflective life? A thoughtful life? These get at the comined spiritual and intellectual senses of really calling our rhythms into question, and considering how they fit into the structures around us. The next day, a Seattle woman and new friend emailed to suggest that we call it "a satisfied life." There's something fitting about that. It doesn't have to be about a megalomania. Life doesn't even have to be excessive. It echoes some of the pop-psychology literature on how it's okay to be a good-enough mother. We're used to thinking about 'satisfactory" as not so great, like getting B minuses in college. It's satisfactory, but not anything to write home about. We've got to change that sense. Real life isn't college, and it's not graded on a curve. It's good to be satisifed.
Tomorrow I'll pull out my notes and write about the discussion, becuase it was so interesting to me, in part because men and stay-at-home dads called in and we got to hear a bit of what was on their minds. As I go about undermining the mommy wars and the tendency to divide women into camps against each other, I also want to make sure we don't start building up oppositions between at-home mothers and at-home fathers.
A good night to all.