Careful What You Wish For
March 22, 2010
A wise person once said, "Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it's time for a promotion."
Okay, that wise person was actually Nigel from "The Devil Wears Prada," but still -- it's a great quote. He says it to Andy when she tells him her personal life is falling apart (because she's finally starting to succeed at work). That quote has resonated with me ever since I first saw the film in 2006. I was single at the time, with no husband in sight, and a good chunk of my closest friends were either getting engaged, married or announcing they're pregnant. And did I mention I was single (and 33)?
My focus was always on my career, so that quote sort of hit home. It seemed the better I did at my job, the more my love life suffered for it. Shortly after the movie came out I launched my blog for Chicago magazine, called "Last Girl Standing," where I chronicled my dating life twice a week. I wrote about the good dates and the bad dates, and the mediocre dates in between. The blog was very popular with readers, but sort of counter-productive for me: No matter how cool guys said they were about me broadcasting our dates online, once they saw them written in excruciating detail on the web they weren't so stoked about it. Needless to say, my career was doing great at the time, but my personal life? Not so much.
That is, until I met Jay the summer of 2007, exactly a year after "The Devil Wears Prada" came out. He didn't mind it when I wrote about our dates, or subsequent engagement and wedding...
I was thinking about that quote again last week, because something pretty amazing happened. I got a big promotion at work. I am now running the day-to-day operations for Playboy.com, managing the site and its staff alongside the editor. It's an amazing opportunity for me, and one I've been ready for, for quite some time. I just can't believe it happened now.
When I got news of this last week, it forced me to take a hard look at my other responsibilities -- you know, my motherly and wifely duties -- and dare I say it, everything seems to be on track right now. The house is clean, the laundry is done, the fridge is fully stocked with food, and last night, I even cooked dinner for my mother-in-law who's visiting from Scottsdale. And it was edible! As in, really good! I also managed to see a few of my close friends over the weekend, which is becoming a rare treat as we all get busier in our lives -- we got together with our babies on Friday night, and Saturday we had a lovely adult evening watching KU (my alma mater) lose miserably and then we played a rousing game of Dominoes at our place. The baby's even sleeping well, despite the fact he's in full teething mode.
At the risk of jinxing everything, I feel like I've finally got this working-mom thing down, or at least I did, thanks mostly to my husband who is such an amazing dad, he should really have his own blog. (Can you hear me, Parenting editors?)
So, with all this professional and personal success, you'd think I'd be sleeping well at night too. Yet I woke up last night in a fit of a panic, sure I had forgotten to turn off the oven. Or put away the leftover fruit. Or turn off the TV. Or check my work e-mail to see if I had an early meeting this morning. Something… anything. With all these new balls in the air, is it just a matter of time until I drop one?
Maybe it's the Jewish worrier in me, but I am not one to think that all this happiness and success doesn't come at a heavy price. I'm just not naïve enough to believe that everything wraps up neatly like at the end of a good chick flick -- heck, even Andy realizes at the end of "The Devil Wears Prada" that she can't succeed at her hellish job while also keeping her sanity and relationships intact. Is it realistic, or even possible, for a woman to successfully juggle a thriving career and a new baby, without letting one or the other suffer? What's the secret to keeping a good balance, and how do I keep from going totally insane trying?