what do women do all day?

“What do you do all day?” asked someone who reads this blog. Shouldn’t I post more often, since I must have so much time? And then later, in a follow-up comment, this reader wondered why I hadn’t published that book I’ve mentioned working on. What have I been doing instead?

There it was: the question. The moment I’d been dreading.

When I had Eden, I chose to work part time and spend the rest of my time with her. I am extraordinarily fortunate to have this option. It feels a little like a dirty secret.

photo (14)

(yes, this is part of what I do all day)

I am embarrassed, sometimes, that I haven’t gone further in my career by now. I would prefer to have succeeded in ways so obvious and succinct that they would fit on a nametag. I would like to have fulfilled the potential that feminism and social change and modernity have given me. That my mother gave me. That my father believed I had just the same as my brothers.

I know the SAHM rhetoric—this is important work, too. Women’s work doesn’t always pay. You are doing something essential. You are doing the work of shaping an entire person! But it doesn’t stick to me, it slides right off. I feel like I’m cheating on my ambitious self with this new role. And yet I’m actively choosing it. I am unable, somehow, to not spend this time with my daughter, knowing I have the chance. I am unable to believe that work is everything, even as I’m unable to believe that motherhood is everything. I flounder somewhere in the middle, in a gray area where balance and confusion circle each other with territorial defensiveness.

I stared at the question on my phone while nursing the baby. I could practically feel my milk turning sour. I thought about how to answer as I tried for forty minutes to convince Eden that, no, really, she should have a nap. Finally, she was asleep, and I hadn’t eaten yet that day because there hadn’t been time, but under the microscope of the question, I felt abruptly like I was doing nothing.

 

 

I sat down at the computer, checking the baby monitor compulsively, and wrote back, explaining my schedule. See, I write these columns, and I work over here, too, part time, and I have these goals, which I am reaching for, and I don’t update the blog more than once a week because I want to take time to make the essays something I am proud of.

Implicitly, I was apologizing to this stranger for not being the right kind of woman. I was clarifying that maybe I am a little bit closer to being that woman than I may at first glance appear to be.

It took me a day to realize that. Then I got angry.

And I realized something. I realized that this question is bigger than the balance of my days in my one little life. It’s for all of the women whose accomplishments don’t fit into a neat, impressive, single-word title. It’s for all of the women who can choose to do what looks like nothing to the people who haven’t cared for a baby or a child. It’s for all of the women who are doing something that doesn’t make money or doesn’t make the kind of money they might otherwise be able to make.

And actually, it’s even bigger than that: it’s a question about what it means to be a modern woman. What it means to be a “good” woman.

photo (13)

It’s the same question that magazines ask when they publish articles about “having it all.” We read about it in books about leaning in or leaning out. We are, as a culture, obsessed with what women are doing with their time. What women are doing all day. Are women living up to their potential? Are they opting out? Are they sacrificing their kids for their political career? Are they sacrificing their career for their kids? Who are they spending their time with? Is their time well-spent?

I got angry at myself for trying to explain my days to the blog reader. For always trying to explain to strangers, to the world, to my family, to my friends, to myself. For constantly searching for the right words to make my life sound like it fits into the right narrative so that everyone can agree it’s a good, successful, acceptable kind of life.

I got angry because it isn’t anyone’s business what I am doing all day.

Or why I choose to spend my days this way. It isn’t for the world to decide that caring for a chubby, backwards-crawling baby is valuable or a waste of time, or to evaluate my part time paychecks and decide if they count as enough of a contribution to the finances of my household.

It’s none of anyone’s business if taking care of a baby is really hard or really easy, and if my work is adding enough to the culture at large.

photo (15)

It’s none of anyone’s business if I am a good woman. If I am doing the things that they think a good woman should do.

When women are asked what we are doing all day, the next question, sometimes silent but almost always present, is “why aren’t you doing more?” We may disagree on what constitutes the “more,” but it’s always there, looming, bearing down, about to topple over and crush us under its bulk.

Instead, why don’t we look at what is actually being accomplished? We are doing different things from one another and different things even from ourselves, because we are full of surprises. We are doing so many things that change every day, every year, every stage of life. So many things that can sometimes be measured in grades and sometimes in money and sometimes just in the quiet satisfaction they produce that no one else gets to see.

photo (16)

So, what do I do all day?

I try to live the best life that I am able.

And now, damnit, I’m going to finally have something to eat, because I haven’t had time all day. After that, who knows? Use your imagination. I might be doing anything.

*  *  *

What are you proud of accomplishing?

Unroast: Today I love I felt the day these photos were taken. On the cusp of spring, so excited for Eden’s discovery of the outdoors, and having easy conversations with strangers at the playground. Sometimes being a mother makes me so confident.

 

The original version of this piece appeared on Daily Life here

 

http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/parenting-and-families/the-one-question-every-new-mum-dreads-20140314-34qvr.html

47 Comments »

Kate on March 19th 2014 in feminism, life, motherhood, new york, work, writing

47 Responses to “what do women do all day?”

  1. Leila responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 9:24 am #

    I can so completely relate to this. And then the other question I now get since I’ve started working is whether or not I love my baby since I’m leaving her in someone else’s care (even though I’m working from home, and frequently go down and visit her), or that my husband is taking care of her more (because he desperately wants that). I feel like, sadly, our culture has set motherhood up as a standard of failure, because whichever option you choose is wrong.

    And yet, it’s been an age old push for us to have children. As Benedick says in Much Ado About Nothing, “The world must be peopled!”. Well, peopling the world involves finding whatever situation works for you and your family, and I try really hard to not give a crap if someone else doesn’t like it. But it’s hard not to take it personally sometimes.

  2. Karen responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Obviously, you are eating bonbons on the couch.

    This drives me nuts. I worked out of the house, and maintained the house for 17 years. I got that crap a lot. When you turn out happy, intelligent children, your sacrifice becomes obvious. But it doesn’t shut people up.

    Brew, Leah got into Tisch for screenwriting (see? It worked!). Still waiting to hear from your alma mater, which is her first choice.

  3. teegan responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 9:37 am #

    I do agree, but I also want to point out that some people really do want to know what I do all day. Hell, some days I wonder what I did all day. I look back and think: ‘I’ve been awake since 6 am and I did a load of laundry (though it’s still unfolded in the dryer) and… what else? I didn’t do yoga or clean my bathrooms or go to the bank or work on my novel or ANYTHING and now I’m exhausted?’

    But I DID. I prepared and served and cleaned up after three meals and countless snacks. I walked the dog and the baby (often 2-3 times). I sang the itsy bitsy spider and changed 6-9 diapers and nursed a toddler 3-4 times and I got us both dressed and then dressed Thomas again when he got oatmeal everywhere. I calmed booboos and read a few pages of Whitman and shared advice and love with mama friends in an online mom group. I sent my sister a video of her nephew and talked to my mother on the phone. I flirted with my husband. I stretched a little with the toddler and had tickle fights with him and saved him from eating trash and dropping the booklight in the toilet and throwing an apple at the dog. I cooked a big batch of chickpeas to put in the freezer and learned about Ukraine and retirement’s effect on the brain and Cape Cod’s bird population in spring from NPR. If it was a good day, I may have even gotten some editing work done during nap time, or worked on a little knit owl for my nephew.

    See? Now it looks like something.

    But I know how you feel! And now that I’m working a PT job on weekends (two 5.5 hour shifts) plus the 3-8 hours of editing a week, I’m tired and nearly overwhelmed! How?!? But I am. I need the money. I need it for bills. I need it to save for the next baby we make. And I need the socializing. And the sense of accomplishing something tangible (without having to sit and write the above list in order to realize it).

    My house is not spotless. I don’t bathe enough. But we eat well and my son is doing fantastically well and sees his mama and his dada both (and his grandparents!) working and caring for him. And soon it will be summer and my husband will have a few months off and everything will shift into a warmer, more relaxed mode.

    Sorry. Carried away. I think about this a lot.

  4. teegan responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 9:38 am #

    (btw, just one kid. baby/toddler is interchangeable when he’s 18 mo, to me)

  5. Rachel B responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 10:02 am #

    This is a really excellent piece but I’m having trouble forming a coherent response to it because OMG THAT BABY I NEED TO PINCH THOSE CHEEKS!!

    . . .anyways. I really appreciate this perspective as an ambitious, single and childless woman because it really speaks to a lot of reservations I have about what I’m supposed to be doing. It often feels like I’m supposed to enthusiastically work 10+ hour days all the time and be very single-minded about my career– which to an extent makes sense because I have an amazing career and am doing really well and don’t want to lose that. But at the same time, I want to sit around reading, cooking, spending time with my friends and family. . .and I want to spend a lot of my life doing that, not just the hours between 9pm and 11pm every night. I struggle all the time with setting boundaries at work, and sometimes I make choices that I know might set back my progress– but in the end, I want to live a balanced and happy life and I just have to accept that there might be a career tradeoff for that. I can’t even imagine how it’ll be if/when I have a kid. As Liz Lemon would say, “Being a woman is the WORST because of SOCIETY!!’

  6. Kelsey responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 10:37 am #

    These photos are compelling me to burst out of the aether to tell you that you and Eden — people I don’t know at all! — make me smile. Now, I follow a good number of personal blogs, partially because I find watching babies grow into little people strangely gratifying, but I have to admit that Eden is my favorite. She strikes me as mischievous and unapologetic and… satisfied. Take it for what it’s worth, a internet stranger’s opinion, but your baby is the best. I’m sure you feel similarly.

    And keep living your best life. I so enjoy learning from you.

  7. olivia responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 10:48 am #

    That question didn’t deserve answering, you’re living your life, and whether it matters ‘to society at large or not’ is a very lofty requirement that most people aren’t held up to.

    Plus, I actually think you’re making an incredible contribution, yours is one of my favourite blogs and your writing frequently inspires, uplifts and comforts me. You don’t need to make any justifications.

    ps. such cuuute photos! :)

  8. Amy responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:03 am #

    When people ask me what I do all day I take it as them actually being curious as to what we do all day. There are many women I know whose mothers worked out of the home and they now work out of the home. If you haven’t been exposed to the life of a SAHM you don’t know what they do. Some have thought about becoming a stay at home mother themselves but they honestly don’t know what they’d do all day.

    I grew up with a SAHM and even I wasn’t sure. When my oldest was born I was a single mother who worked and went to school. I often wondered what people did all day as a SAHM myself. After I graduated with my Master’s degree I started homeschooling my son. Then 11 months after I got married, while I was pregnant with #2, I was laid off from my job and after discussion my spouse and I decided that I wouldn’t work for a few years because where we lived the cost of daycare was much higher than what I could earn even with my Master’s degree. There just minimum wage jobs available and we could more than survive on one income. It took a while for me to adjust to the life of a SAHM and I often wondered what other people did all day. That is why when people ask I answer them honestly and remind them that each family is different but this is what works for our family.

  9. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:16 am #

    @Karen
    MAZEL TOV on Leah and Tisch!! That’s incredible!!

    And I swear, to this day, I don’t know what a bonbon tastes like. But maybe sometime I’ll get to try one?

  10. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:18 am #

    @Kelsey
    Thank you! I want to share this comment with Eden, but it might have to wait a few years until she knows words and stuff :-) I love your description of her, and I definitely see her that way, too. It’s refreshing and amazing, to watch her start out like this, so full of her own awesomeness.

    You’re also reminding me why it’s nice to share some pieces of my life with strangers.

  11. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:26 am #

    @Rachel B

    LOL! It takes me forever to go anywhere with Eden because people are always stopping us to exclaim over her cheeks.

    I just read a fantastic book called “It’s Not You” by Sara Eckel about the annoying standards imposed on single people- and it made me think about what you’re describing. No matter where you are in life, there are about twenty conflicting but very loud ideas about exactly how you should be handling the situation. And most of the ideas suggest that you should be working really, really hard all the time but also loving every moment of it. It seems like single people are expected to work even more than everyone else, and also maintain a thriving, fantastic social life at the same time? Sheesh. I’m glad you’re questioning this and figuring out a healthy, enjoyable balance for your life.

    Liz Lemon basically summarized everything I’ve ever written here. And now I want to find time to watch 30 Rock again… :-)

  12. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:32 am #

    @Amy
    That’s such a good approach! I think with these things, though, you can sometimes tell from the tone of the question whether it really is a curious, earnest “I’m interested!” type thing, or an opening to judgement.

    I’m honestly not sure. It could be that as an internet writer, I come in contact with a lot of people who I’ll never meet in person who feel totally comfortable telling me why they think I suck, so that shapes the conversation for me. I think in real, face-to-face life it would go differently. But maybe not always! A SAHM friend of mine recently related a story where another mom asked her exactly this question, and followed it up with “you must be SO bored! I’d go crazy!” Sometimes even when you’re talking, people don’t really want to listen.

    But maybe your earnest, thoughtful response is best anyway? At least it gives a real discussion a chance.

  13. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:36 am #

    @olivia
    Good point, about most people not being held up to “society’s” standards, whatever those may be. It’s true– most people are just living their lives. And at the same time, women’s lives really are examined constantly with the intent of determining whether or not they are “good” enough in some way. It seems like the Atlantic runs another cover story every other month that does just this! The majority of “regular” women escape mostly unscathed, because it’s not about them. But at the same time, it is about them, I think. So it depends how you look at it.

    Oy, that got convoluted. Sorry! Funnily enough, since I’m commenting under this piece about what I do all day, I am trying frantically to respond to a few comments before working on a piece that’s due today while Eden naps. So I need to stop doing this and go do that. But I’m loving this discussion and want to respond to everything!

  14. claire responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:38 am #

    the only answer to that nosy question is, I am doing an unbelievable good job,(as always), and all that know and love me can agree with that. Continue what you are and have always done. Love CRF

  15. Hunter4086 responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Creative people are so often demanded to ‘account’ for themselves! You provided a dignified response to petty observations.

    As a writer, I feel as if there is an hourglass that was tipped over somewhere when I first picked up a pen. Silently, invisibly, my time is running out – as is others’ patience with me and my efforts. This is the anxiety that eats away at me always – sometimes in the background, sometimes steady as a pulse. Always there.

    I tell myself I don’t ever have to stop, though. Until the obvious end, nothing else will ever happen that says “OK, times up! You missed the chance to prove it.”

    I guess what I am trying to say is you are only accountable to those you care for, and yourself. And writing is a part of you.

  16. onebreath responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:51 am #

    Kate -

    Thank you for this piece, I love that you are claiming your life as your own. There really is no need to explain or apologize.

    Rachel B. –

    I’m so glad you commented… I am a single woman as well and I often feel like I’m not working hard enough or having enough fun to justify my childlessness at the moment! As Kate says above, it seems that no matter where we are in life, there are pesky external standards that sometimes we don’t even realize we are trying to live up to (or at least I didn’t). I love to curl up with a good book but hate to tell anyone that b/c I feel it is not exciting enough or that I should be doing something more productive since I have the time.

    Sigh. I am grateful for this blog and these posts as they remind me that this is MY life and the details and specifics matter only in how they matter to me. We are all different and they is a beautiful thing, not something to be countered.

  17. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:54 am #

    @Claire
    So says my fiercely independent, no-nonsense grandmother! Who, by the way, was a fulltime working mother and a longtime career woman. Thanks for the support, Grammoo! Love you

  18. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:55 am #

    @Hunter
    GOD YES to the hourglass analogy. Wow. Perfectly put. I’ve felt that way since I started writing professionally.

    I try to remind myself often: a writing career doesn’t actually have an expiration date. It can be put down and picked up again many, many times, over many, many years. We will be writers forever.

  19. Tricia responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Holy cow – I’m not saying anything new. But taking care of a baby (and I have twins) is crazy-busy. I have three children total so I do know that one baby is also crazy-busy. With my twins, I started gaining weight when I went back to work because I was actually able to eat lunch. It was also amazing to be able to use the restroom if needed too. I miss my babies (single parent so I must work), but there are some positives.

  20. Emily responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Maybe, just maybe, your reader had created an image of you and your life in her mind. Accurate or not. Most likely not. You have talked about writing books, and such, in the annals of your blog. Maybe she was just curious. Maybe she has no idea what is and is not possible – or desirable – to accomplish while raising a young child. Maybe she was not passing judgement. Maybe she just ….was wondering.

  21. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    @Emily
    This is really not about that particular reader, but this question, as it is asked of women at all different points in our lives in order to determine whether or not we are doing the “right” thing.

    But the reader went on to clarify in a way that made her judgment very obvious. So yes, she was passing judgment. And sometimes people do that while pretending to “just wonder,” unfortunately!

  22. Mia responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Just wait till you retire! The hell with the rest of the world—I ask myself this question every single day.

  23. San D responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    I am retired and friends and family want to know what I do all day as well. And when I retired from teaching all of my students and fellow teachers wailed “what will you do? will you get a job?” I said “no, if I wanted a job, I have one that I am retiring from” I wake up each morning and see what the day brings, that is what I “do”. I “did” for 35 years, now I just “live”. I have found that people who ask can not imagine themselves without a title of some sort to give themselves validation. Right now my title is the woman with the crazy hair who walks the cutest dog in the world down the block a gazillion times a day. Geeze what does she do besides that the neighbors say peering behind their curtains!

  24. CL Mannarino responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    This. All of this. Beautifully said!

    Sorry, the first thing that came to mind when I finished was a picture of Gollum saying, “Mustn’t ask us! Not it’s business!” (I re-watched The Hobbit recently…)

    But he has a point!

  25. Susan responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    As a stay at home mom with 2 kids (now grown), I was asked this question so many times. “What do you do all day? I took care of all the errands and chores that a family creates so that my husband could relax when he got home from work and spend time with the children. I was the mom who was always available to volunteer, carpool, pick up a sick kid, plan a party. After school, ours was the house where the children gathered because they knew there would always be a welcome snack and a safe haven to play. Don’t ever apologize for staying at home with Eden. You will treasure this time with her. I am now retired and guess what question I am asked…”what do you do all day?” Whatever I darn well please!

  26. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    SHE CRAWLS BACKWARDS?!!!!

    So so adorable. Keep on being you all day long, Eden and Eden’s mama. That is plenty.

  27. Emily responded on 19 Mar 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    Thank you so much for this. I paused my career a few years ago to birth and raise my two young girls. Raising infants somehow bled right into homeschooling them. And that’s where I am now–a homeschooling mom to a 6- and a 4-year-old and I expect to remain at this work for the duration. I NEVER expected my husband and I would be doing this–that our life would take the shape it has–but, as you said, life is full of surprises. But so, so often I feel like I have to explain myself to other people and I am so, so tired of it. Tired of the measuring, of the unspoken evaluations of my contributions and worth. I hate that describing my day to others so often feels like I’m DEFENDING it. Anyway, I completely relate. I really love your writing; today, it is keeping me afloat.

  28. Asha responded on 20 Mar 2014 at 9:40 am #

    That thing about wanting to have achieved more at your age (late 20s?) – - – I blame Lena Dunham for this! She is wonderful, but having reached that level of professional success that early is NOT NORMAL. Most people need a little more time to hit their prime, and that is FINE because life is long. You are doing really well!

    If you don’t believe just look at Joan Didion, the greatest writer in the land:

    http://www.theawl.com/2010/09/the-joan-didion-publication-timeline

  29. Amy responded on 20 Mar 2014 at 10:52 am #

    You know, this question is ridiculous. And I feel like it is asked of SAHMs all the time, unfairly so.

    I am at work. Reading your blog. But because I am at work, no one asks me what I do all day. I work all day, obviously.

    Not really. There are countless surveys and studies about how much time people waste at work.

    I would much rather be home with my baby than wasting time at work. Being at work does not make you a “better” or even more productive citizen.

    The most clueless people are most often the ones judging others for their decisions.

  30. Sue Blaney responded on 20 Mar 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Wonderful post….I am on the other end of the time period…I was fortunate to retire at age 55. My husband is ten years older…he retired at 63. Our only child, our daughter is now 25, out of college and working and living on her own.

    I get this question too. What I really get is “oh I couldn’t, I would be so BORED…”
    Love my life and now wondered how I work. I got back into art again after a 20 year break and I love it…while caring for my family, aging Mom and early onset Alzheimers sister-in-law. Art is saving me and making me feel powerful and strong even when I feel exhausted and weak.

    So thank you. Your blog lets me know I am not alone in my self conscious bodied self. So glad you are loving your daughter…but I do remember dealing with very little time to myself. – Sue.

  31. daphne responded on 20 Mar 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    I’m not a mom, and I work full time and am fairly “successful” and I still feel this way (“why aren’t you doing more?!?”) — however, I would LOVE to stay home and not even do “work” at all. I really hate having to go to work. Am I lazy? No — I simply would really enjoy staying home, creating a sanctuary for my husband and pets, work on art, and volunteer my time for things that I feel matter. For the record, I currently make about 1/3 more than my husband, work 40+ hours a week, and have no kids, and no plans to have kids. Working isn’t everything, and if you are lucky enough to do what you want (stay home with your baby and work part time) — don’t let anyone make you feel guilty! Enjoy it and spread that happiness into the world!

  32. shelley responded on 20 Mar 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    Ha! this post captures what most of us SAHM mom’s experience. Imagine having three kids and all the ways they pull you and know that you mostly eat whatever is left after you are done prepping three different things for them since they can’t agree on anything.

  33. Sarah N responded on 21 Mar 2014 at 10:00 am #

    Here’s the thing about looking after a child. It is necessary and time consuming work that needs to be done. If you were not at home caring for your daughter, you would need to find someone else to do that care instead. That person would likely be someone you paid and they would have no doubt that they were doing a job.

    Looking after someone else’s children is definitely a job. So is looking after your own.

  34. Kate responded on 21 Mar 2014 at 11:22 am #

    @Sarah N
    So succinctly put. It’s funny that we don’t think like this as a culture very often. I’m going to remind myself of this comment!

  35. Call Me Jo responded on 21 Mar 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    This struck a cord because you ARE fulfilling the feminist ideal. Or at least the one that resonates most strongly with me. You have chosen how to live your life. You are maintaining a career while successfully negotiating the world as a mother. Not all women need to have a career, or be mothers. But we now have the option to choose to do either or both or neither, and the world is slowly molding around us as we find the best balance for ourselves and our families. Eventually we will shrug off the antiquated ideas about what we should be accomplishing and celebrate the myriad of options before us. I understand that can be hard; I’m in the boat with you, and I’ll help you paddle.

  36. Melisa responded on 21 Mar 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    Kate – I read your blog quite frequently, but this is the first time I’ve ever commented. This piece just really resonated with me that I had to say something. I’m 29 years old and currently 11 weeks pregnant with my first. I have my PhD in an engineering field. But after much debate, I’m not going back to work after the baby is born (at least not for a year or two). My hubby is also a PhD in a temporary faculty position, so we will be moving in a few years anyway, so it makes sense for our situation. But I feel like such a failure for working so hard for a PhD and then halting my career before I really got it off the ground. But on the other hand, I am so looking forward to this baby and everything that comes with motherhood. I am jealous that you can still work part time from home as a writer. I can’t exactly do part time laboratory research from home :( Anyway enough rambling – Keep the great, insightful posts coming, I love them!

  37. Larissa responded on 21 Mar 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Thank you Kate for writing this. It was really something I needed to hear today – even though I’m not a mother yet. I’m constantly either judging myself, or feel like others are judging me for what I am or am not doing with my life. It’s really frustrating. Anyhow, thanks again. Your blog always makes me feel better :)

    Larissa

  38. Larissa responded on 22 Mar 2014 at 1:32 am #

    I just remembered this article by Elizabeth Gilbert I read recently. I think it fits this subject perfectly. Enjoy :)

  39. Larissa responded on 22 Mar 2014 at 1:33 am #

  40. Victoria responded on 22 Mar 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Eden is so adorable! You both look so happy :)

  41. Danielle responded on 22 Mar 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    I did not write the original comment asking what you did all day. I don’t know what their original intent was. Your response is very well written and thought provoking.

    I wanted to offer one other possibility. The commenter was young, stupid, and didn’t have children. When they have children, they will cringe when they remember making that comment.

    You see, I made that comment to my future SIL when I was 22. At the time, I was really trying to make small talk. So I thought I was asking about her life and instead I insulted her.

    Anyway, now I am 35 with 2 kids and I do cringe when I think of that. Fortunately, we recovered and she is a wonderful Aunt. It’s amazing just how much children changed my perspective.

  42. Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 3.23.2014 | pink-briefcase responded on 23 Mar 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    [...] again, Kate from Eat the Damn Cake writes something that sticks with me.  This week’s post, What Do Women Do All Day?, is kind of awesome and wonderful and, just like last week’s post about danger and whether [...]

  43. carolina responded on 24 Mar 2014 at 11:53 am #

    i love how the commentator that inspired this awesome post is pretty quiet on this thread. her question, when posed, did seem bold and a little off-kilter.

  44. Sara responded on 25 Mar 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    It just feels so much better to focus on joy, rather than focusing on living up to anyone’s expectations. I have also had to work lately to let go of my own preconceived notions of what I “should” be doing. What if I “should” be enjoying myself? What if I woke up everyday and thought about what I could do that would be the most joyful? Would that make me a worse mom or women? I think most people think it would, but actually, I think I’m better at everything when I focus on joy.

  45. Alicia Cumming responded on 27 Mar 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Your baby is gloriously fat! I love it.

    The more people get in my business (& judge), the more intolerant I become about it. Such people need a taste of their own medicine. Will be turning 28 myself -tomorrow. Happy Birthday!

  46. curlygirl responded on 10 Apr 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    Kate – Thank you for writing this post. It felt good to “hear” someone else express just what I’ve been struggling with since I opted to slow down my career and spend time with my daughter. I feel extremely fortunate to even have the opportunity to be a part-time mom, part-time lawyer, part-time housekeeper but, beneath it all, I do consistently feel judged – if by no one other than myself.

  47. Chet responded on 19 Apr 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Thanks for finally writing about > Eat the Damn Cake