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.

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UPDATE 11/13/13

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