MAXED OUT in New York Times Motherlode

by Katrina on November 5, 2013

I’m thrilled and honored that my book is getting some New York Times love. Read it here: “Being A Working Mother Means Always Having to Say You’re Sorry.”

There’s an interesting back story to this story.

Two months ago, K.J. Dell’Antonia from the New York Times parenting blog, Motherlode, interviewed me by phone. She’d just finished reading an advance copy of Maxed Out, and wanted to focus her story on guilt, (a subject I address a lot in the book), so we talked about that for a while. Before we got off the phone, Dell’Antonia said she’d definitely run a story, she just wasn’t sure when. I was thrilled, because I’m a big Motherlode fan.

Then…nothing. As the weeks went by, I started to wonder if really it was going to happen. But then yesterday afternoon her story went live, and it’s a terrific piece.

It starts with all the apologies we make when we find ourselves in situations where it’s impossible to do everything well, includes a short except from the book, and concludes that we need to stop saying sorry for things that are beyond our control.

It has been a common mantra over the past few decades for women to chide ourselves for trying to do too much. “Put the emails aside at home,” someone might say, reading the paragraph above. “Why let the child play hockey if you’re too busy? Buy something for the teacher appreciation lunch. Help one child at a time. Prioritize.” Ms. Alcorn argues that that meme — the idea that you can do everything, as long as you’re strategic about it — contributes to our feeling of failure when it truly all is too much. Not everything that overwhelms us is our choice.

It’s a good, thoughtful story. But here’s the kicker: Soon after it was published, Dell’Antonia sent me a personal email, apologizing for taking so long to get the story up.

I’ve discovered an inherent irony in writing a book about maxed out moms: The journalists most likely to favorably cover the book are busy moms themselves. I’m grateful that they’re making time to cover the book at all. No apology necessary.

* * *

UPDATE 11/13/13

Motherlode published my piece today responding to the comments on the original story. You can find my response here.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa

Saying “sorry” is such a built-in response for so many women. But constantly apologizing for not being able to juggle fifteen things at once undermines the argument that juggling all those things is impossible. It implies that we should be able to do them but can’t. I am going to make an effort to not apologize the next time I don’t do something perfectly.

(I just finished your book last week, and was in tears – of happiness – to find so many of my exact feelings shared by someone else.)

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Katrina

Thank you, Melissa. What I realized from this interaction is that I don’t actually mind when another mom says “I’m sorry” — it makes me feel like we’re part of this doing-the-impossible sisterhood.

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Laura Scholes

Congratulations! Article is FANTASTIC!

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Katrina
Karen Steele

Congratulations Katrina on having your book feature in Motherlode! It is well deserved and a great and necessary book.

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Katrina

Thank you!

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ShyMom

Hi Katrina,
I was really glad to see your book featured on Motherlode. I actually wish Dell’Antonia didn’t focus solely on the ‘sorry’ part – there’s so much more to your story! But am still glad the book is getting recognition.

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Katrina

Stay tuned. I’m working on a follow up story for Motherlode…

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ShyMom

I just read the new post. And some of the comments. Ugh. You just can’t win. Because I very much identify with your story, I feel rather frustrated with the many unkind comments on Motherlode. But as you yourself said in some earlier post, you can’t take these comments too personally – the same sorts of comments come up whenever issues of work/family balance are discussed . At least the new post gives a better sense of what the book and your story are about, and there are many of us out here who really do appreciate your book and completely agree with the points you are making.

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Amanda

That’s really cool! Your book is great (I think I left that comment somewhere here before.) So it’s well deserved.

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Katrina

Thank you!

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