LONDON—Yep, it’s been a while. For those of you who check up with she-files regularly, you probably noticed that we haven’t posted any new stories for some time. We can explain. Kristin and I have spent the last several months doing what we advocate on she-files: Living life to its fullest as best as we can. For us, that looks like a carefully orchestrated balance between work, family, continuing education, living a healthy lifestyle, travel and personal exploration. And, if we can be real, it takes a lot to get she-files out and into the world. Seeing how it’s the two of us, sometimes something has to give. So this summer (and into early autumn, as its, yikes, now early October), she-files has been on something of a hiatus. But we aren’t apologizing for that. We’re saying sorry, not sorry.
So what have we been up to while not crafting new stories for our readers? Well, Kristin is working on a novel about a young woman coming to terms with her mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s. New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Brown is her mentor on the novel project through Lighthouse Writers, a vibrant writing community, based in Denver. She also this summer had to deal with the ramifications of a tragic school shooting at her kids’ school in the Denver area that left one child dead and many others wounded. Thankfully, her children were not on campus that day. When she has enough distance and perspective, she hopes to tackle this subject and use words on paper to spark change. After the shooting, she and her family were able to decompress with a trip to Europe followed by a quick vacation to Michigan. When she’s not writing or parenting, she works in marketing at an art museum and believes in her bones that art is good for the soul, can make the world a better version of itself, or, at the very least, can lift a dreary mood.
Meanwhile I finished my non-fiction book (about a youth orchestra in a slum in Nairobi based on a story I wrote for the New York Times) that I have been writing for three years and took the summer off to spend time with my toddler twins (that’s them in the cover photo) and not think about much but being with them, save being excited to see a mention of she-files in the New York Times! When the twins were born last year, I never really took maternity leave, in part because as a freelance journalist you feel like you are only as relevant as the last story you have written. Also, in hindsight, I realize that I was so scared about how out of control I felt as a new mother in my mid-forties that continuing to work felt like a lifeline to me and something that still made sense in the nonsensical blur of twin infanthood. So this summer I took the time to really get to know my kids better –with no nanny or husband for seven weeks while I was in northern Michigan—and I became a more confident mom who could admit I didn’t know what I was doing half the time, but that was okay. I also got into forest bathing while in the Michigan woods, but that’s a story for another time.
That whole “women can have it all” mantra that many of us grew up hearing is bullshit to be honest. We can’t have it all the time—if we are working, we are worrying about our kids or feeling bad we aren’t home with our partners or parents or pets or if we are at home with all –or some—of the above, we keep thinking about what we are missing out on in the workplace. The BBC show “Motherland” tackled this exact issue this autumn in their super second series and it was spot-on. So I say, hands in the air, I can’t have it all…at least not all the time. And that’s okay. I am cool with that. Sometimes something has to give and I’ve learned in the last year, in part by becoming a mom but I think also trying to balance my journalistic work with writing a book, it’s okay to say “no” to things or put things on the back burner for a while to catch my breath. I don’t need to have an excuse, I am learning to just say, “hey, here’s the deal, I can’t do this right now.”
All this to say we have some great stories coming your way as we head towards the latter parts of 2019…a story we are posting next week on female entrepreneurs in Cuba, some interviews with a few writers and a few profile pieces as well. So thanks for sticking with us, thanks for coming back and visiting our site and thanks for being cool for getting what we do. And sorry not sorry that it’s been a while.