…the questions I get most at readings or in interviews are about being a mother and writer, when I’m expected to do this this sort of tap dance of humility that I have no desire or ability to dance. I think people are mostly kind and don’t know that, when they ask these questions of women, they are asking us to perform a kind of ceremonial subjection—that we’re not allowed our achievements without first denigrating ourselves or saying, with a sigh, “Yes, that’s correct, I’m a writer and a mother, and it’s so hard, and, no, I don’t do it well.”
To which I say: What? Why, or how did she determine the manner in which she was supposed to answer? Where is this call for a “tap dance of humility?”
Imagine a woman answering like this: “Yes, that’s correct, I’m a writer and a mother. I have a really good gig, and I worked hard for it. You see, I am competent. Profoundly competent, actually. Sure, I’d love more sleep–who wouldn’t? And yeah, I think our domestic policies and our country’s large and small employers don’t yet do enough to support families. All families are different, but they all need support. But me? In my home right now? We’re doing our best and it’s pretty damn good. I wish everybody could do what we do.”
Ask me about work/life balance. I promise I won’t dance.