Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not doing it all

I was on a rant in my blog about how packaged masalas (not the primary ones like chilli powder, but the "biriyani mix", "idli mix", etc.) never work for me. The post elicited some comments, including the following:
"Hi Roopa, How do you manage to do everything so well -a great job/two kids/a blog/work out etc.etc..just curious. Can you please write a post about that to help some folks like me an idea about your routine.Take care!!!"

I'm flattered, but I'm not sure I'd say that I do do everything. There have been choices along the way. Things I chose NOT to do, things I choose to focus on right now, things I've decided can wait a couple of years.

  • Rifle shooting -- now that was something I was pretty great at. But it took three to five hours of training four to five times a week. Not the kind of training that a mother of twins, with an NYC mortgage to contribute to can keep at, I decided. Funnily, I don't miss it...especially given I'd done it for about sixteen years with a real passion.
  • Poetry -- I had dreamed at one time of truly taking time to read the greats, work with other poets, understand what it took to be good and evocative. Sports became the focus, coping with a new country and cadence became another, living life became a key distraction. It is not a passion anymore.
  • Consulting -- engaging around an issue, solving it and working through an issue with absolute focus. I had felt like a fish that had found its preferred body of water, but travel and the hours can conflict with the deep urge to sit down and spend a couple of hours coloring rainbows. Choosing a sane work-life balance was a real priority, and my current role has allowed for that.
Which brings us to the comment and question:
6:30 am: Wake up and stare into the fridge. Whip up a dish or two for the kids (this activity is put on hold every time a grandma is in town!)
7:00 am: In the summer, there is time for a vigorous swim before work (usually two or three times a week)
8:00 am: Off to work
6:30 pm: Try to get back from work, and hang out with the kids. Ideally eat dinner with them once or twice during the work week
8:00 pm: Start reading to the kids
8:30 pm: Three days a week or more, hubby will hang out with the kids as they fall asleep and I go down to the gym for 45 mins on the ellipse, or a crazy training session with Tracy!!
9:30 pm: Log back on and get an hour or two of work done
11:00 pm: Do a bit of blogging to keep my writing muscles alive
At least once a week, make sure to have a grown-up dinner and walk home with hubby.
Seems like a bit of a slacker life, if you ask me. Out there are are 17-year-olds writing novels, 30-year-olds millionaires , and single moms who struggle to make ends meet, give their children guidance and necessities .... I'm just a working mom, trying to make sure to be good to her family and herself; lucky in having a caring husband, fantastically supportive friends, family and colleagues, and the ability to access great schools and institutions in this metro. It's about priorities, circumstances and ambitions....

Tell me what you think about the following Boston Globe article. Initially, I felt the central assertion was questionable: that women are choosing not to pursue certain careers from aptitude, not just giving up given glass ceiling dynamics or personal circumstances. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to reflect a lot of my own choices. I did feel that the dynamics in India or China are quite different...
The freedom to say 'no': Why aren't there more women in science and engineering? Controversial new research suggests: They just aren't interested.


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