I guess Tina Fey would find me incredibly rude. Just as I began asking women how they manage the many aspects of their life (creative, personal, trivial), she proclaims in the New Yorker, "What is the rudest question you can ask a woman? 'How old are you?’ 'What do you weigh?' No, the worst question is: 'How do you juggle it all?'"
So, I'm sorry. I thought it was a compliment-- to consider all the women I know professional jugglers, as I work on my 5-prop throw while treading a unicycle. At least Deborah Siegel (writer, thinker and new mama of twins) does. In fact, her blog is what drew my attention to Fey's objections to my query.
I do think that if we're not asking each other how we manage, then we're silently wondering it. Or we're whispering it over a quick bite. "So you're home with your toddler two days out of the week. Do you get any work done on those days?" I asked a friend. See, so rude. And guess how she responded. "I was going to ask you the same thing!"
I'm waist deep in rewrites and new writes and also teaching two classes, so I try to get as much done as possible in the span of a questionable nap. (If I work too late at night, I get creatively wired and can't sleep at all.) I've also set up a mini table and chairs in my office (thanks, Grandma!) where Francesca can do her "work." Luckily, her feet don't quite reach the floor, so she can climb up there, but has to ask for help to get down.
I told my friend that I also have this dream that a few of us could be in one room, working, while our mini-mes play together. She loved the idea so much that we tried it out within the week, and... Success. My child tried to feed hers like she was a doll, but we both agreed that we actually got a lot of work done. It was a huge feat in some ways, especially with my border collie mut trying to steal letter cookies instead of helping to corral the girls. We have yet to do it again, but that's only because of all of the other wrenches that get thrown into the juggling act. And I know we will.
I'll try to keep taking a moment away from it all to reflect. Excuse me if I ask you to divulge as well.