Check out my latest Huff Post Stories

by Katrina on October 18, 2011

Yoo hoo! I’m still here. Are you?

Somehow I talked myself into taking on a full time project, and it’s seriously eating into my writing time.

There are so many things I’ve been wanting to blog about…

  • Like this new HBO show about an executive who has a nervous breakdown. (Has anyone seen it?)
  • And this heartbreaking essay about parenting a terminally ill child, and how it puts perspective around all the stupid crap parents worry about.
  • Or how, despite being so busy, I’ve been inexplicably happy lately. (What’s that about?)
  • Or the informal food swap I started with a few friends, and why I think everyone should start one.
  • Or this Slate article and this blog post Eric sent me, which made me think about what “traditional family” means, and why so many people seem to want one. Do they yearn for a satisfying domestic life, or a break from toxic work culture, or something else?
  • Or this link Laura sent me about Penelope Trunk’s nervous breakdown after having a baby and taking no maternity leave, and how there are many different ways to tell the story about your life.
  • Oh, and Janine reached her Kickstarter goal. Woo hoo! Go finish that book about engaged fathers, Janine!

But I don’t have time to write about any of that now. Maybe you’d like to see the last two stories I wrote for the Huffington Post?

1. Do You Have a Hospital Fantasy?

Many of you saw the poll I did about this a while ago, about parents who fantasize about getting hospitalized as a way to get a break. The Huff Post comments were kind of interesting.

2. Stop Passing the Buck, Ladies

This essay is a response to some comments I’ve heard from several women executives. I was kind of angry when I wrote it. Basically, I think women in leadership roles have an obligation to help other women, and just generally make the workplace more humane.

I miss the conversation around here. What’s on your mind? Leave a comment!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }


I love the huff post piece and always love reading your updates. This is one of the few forums I’ve found where the need for family friendly policies in the U.S. is discussed in earnest. I heard on the news today that more single moms are joining Occupy Wall Street. Maybe the right to have and raise children while earning a living will be brought into the spotlight.



Thank you! I hadn’t heard that (about single moms and Occupy Wall St.). Good for them. How do they find the time!


Xenia Apena

Katrina, I read many of your articles in Huffington Post. I am not a working mother, in fact i am a single gal, but i feel that the issues you discuss affect all women, not only mothers. Women are not treating their female colleagues adequately. And the sad part is – these women are work-victims themselves.

I actually find that the harsher reason you mentioned in “passing the buck” article, “not wanting to make it easier on other women to be successful…”, is more true. I feel that many ladies out there feel the following: “I suffered to get to where i am (worked long hours, didn’t take vacation, passed on important things in my life because of my job), so other women have to suffer as much, not just to get a promotion, but to even get my respect”. God forbid for you to show weakness or signs of struggle to such a colleague or a boss. They will do their best to make it harder on you, a wimp, who is trying to have a life outside of work. Passing the buck makes them feel better – for all they had to endure.

Just one example out of my own life. I once worked on a consumer research project dedicated to women and my female boss and i were looking for images that expressed negative emotions that were only applicable to women. My boss asked me to define the following emotion: “Imagine a new female colleague comes to the office, she is smart, she is well-dressed, confident… How would that make you feel?”. I was a bit perplexed by her question. Several months ago that was me coming in to this new job. And i consider myself all of the above. What i told her, quite coquettishly, was that to me, the newcomer is another fashionista in the office, so i may need to up my game. My boss was not happy with my reply. She told me how this should evoke other, foreign to me, emotions – especially the feeling of being threatened. So ironic… my boss used a projective technique, well known to all consumer research professionals, to get the reply out of me – and caught herself in her own trap. What’s interesting, is that the family situation in my case is the opposite. I am the single gal and the boss is the mother of two. Several months later our conflict caused me to lose my job. Sad part is, she is not a bad woman. She felt sorry and guilty for what she caused me. She tried to fix it in the end, but it was too late. What’s her story: she is married to one of the partners in the firm and works non-stop. I am talking no-time-to buy-gifts-for-Holidays – kind. And i, though i worked quite a bit, took vacations, went out, and yes… had a life – and talked about it. Getting me out of the firm was a way for my ex-boss to eliminate a smart, confident and well-dressed woman out of the office so that she does not have to look at me all day and think that she is passing on so many things in her life…

What i’m trying to say is… you don’t need to be a mother to feel the effects of the modern day work environment. ANY woman feels that she is overworked today. All of my female friends feel this way, regardless of their family status. And yes, the single gals do work late nights when mothers have to go. And that affects us too, us, who don’t think that having a family is a “lifestyle choice” – we know we will be there too one day.

So please, treat this issue as an ALL-women in the workforce problem, not just a mother problem. We all are in this together. We all need a change. I feel more and more people realize this. Do you find it being a coincidence that many new TV shows (mad men, etc.) raise questions about women in the workplace – and glamorize the pinups? Are we not raising the work questions? Are we not longing for ALL WOMEN being confident, smart and well-dressed (i.e. having time to be such)? Moms should not be strapped in the work grinder to give up on themselves just to keep up with work and kids. And singles should not be picking up slack or be victimized for wanting to live a little – because we ALL should be living a little. And it’s really hard to do when working a 60 hour week.

I don’t have an answer… US is not France – the government cannot tell private businesses what to do and how long a work week should be. It’s a tough one, especially in the creative field… I have one recipe though… and it’s called:




Great points, Xenia! And yes, I violently agree with this:

“And singles should not be … victimized for wanting to live a little – because we ALL should be living a little. And it’s really hard to do when working a 60 hour week.”

Freelance is how I solved the problem for myself, but I still have to contend with my clients expectations about work hours, so it’s not perfect.

You also said this:

“I don’t have an answer… US is not France – the government cannot tell private businesses what to do and how long a work week should be.”

And I just want to say that I think government can HELP bring about change (by doing things like mandating paid parental leave, or sick pay–which affects all workers, not just parents), but change has to come from WITHIN, too. And the point I wanted to make with my “Stop Passing the Buck, Ladies” story is that I think women have an OBLIGATION to actively participate in this change, whether they are mothers or not.

Thanks so much for your comments, and I hope you keep reading.



I felt kinda terrified reading that “stop passing the buck” article, it’s hard for me to conceive women (ANYONE) being so harsh and disillusioned. I also wondered reading it, whether those women punished fathers as well as mothers in the workplace?



I don’t know about those women in particular. Personally I’ve noticed two very different reactions to dads at work. I’ve seen dads excuse themselves to pick up a sick kid, and a common reaction is, ‘Aw! What a good dad he is.’ But I’ve also heard complaints about dads who, for example, come into the office later than most because they have to drop kids off in the morning. Ultimately, I think this idea that work comes at the expense of a personal life hurts moms and dads, and really, anyone who wants a life, whether they have kids or not.



I love your blog! I was happy to see that you are posting again. Huffington Post??? – you go girl!

Why is it so hard to find a work-life balance? I am pursuing a PhD just so I can have a more balanced-life, and pick my kids up after school. I quit a full-time job to “go back-to-school, ” but I really just wanted to spend more time with my kids. Thank you for your wonderful blog. Motherhood is POLITICAL!



Thanks, Buffy! Yeah, I had my moments of thinking, ‘Maybe I should go back to grad school so I’ll have more time with my kids’…But I think for me some of that was just wanting an escape from the toxic politics of the business world. The thing is, when you graduate, you still have to deal with all the same issues (pressure to work long hours, toxic politics, etc), PLUS you have those loans to pay back. Ugh. I wish you great good luck with the PhD.


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