There are those moments in motherhood when life seems to be spinning wildly out of control. I had several of those moments this week – trying to manage my four-year-old’s first-ever seasonal allergies, learn how to work an inhaler and make sure I didn’t get the Nasonex medicine confused with the Xopenex while getting ready for our family’s inaugural trip to Disney World, cooking cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday party in her class and oh yes, getting all the refinancing documents together -- all on top of my job outside the home, which I like to describe as crazier than my position years ago covering the White House!
In between all of this madness, I was to interview Anna Quindlen – the Anna Quindlen, one of the greats, and someone I have enjoyed reading since college. I felt the pressure of preparing, making sure I asked the right – and the best – questions, not to mention wording those questions as perfectly as possible. After all, she is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author! Plus, I had her newest book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake published by Random House. How was I going to read her entire memoir in time for the interview.
Then a funny thing happened. I started reading and I relaxed. Her words put me at ease, as they always do. It was as if she was saying, “Kelly, you are not alone. We’ve been there. You’ll make it through and you’ll one day laugh at just how crazy it all was.”
Watch our in-depth interview with Anna Quindlen here as she reveals the most important decision she thinks we all will make in our lives.
Thank you, Anna Quindlen, thank you.
I was struck by so many things in your book. Your chapter on girlfriends hit home at a time when I miss the female connections I know I need. “For decades I was focused on my work, my kids, my routine. I couldn’t get out of my own head, much less my own house,” you write. And about that most important decision you tell your kids they’ll make? "The single most important decision they will make is not where to live, or what to do for a living, it is who they will marry," you write. I never thought about that but enjoy the feeling I get when I look at my husband and think, "I got that decision 100% right!"
We had so many great questions from our iVoices -- on aging, motherhood (are the teen years the worst?), on how you feel impacting not only women but men? (Check out Anna’s great responses in our interview above!)
Of course, we also had to ask you about politics especially after what’s become known as Rosengate, the furor over the comment by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney “has never worked a day in her life.” I love what you said about the Mommy Wars -- how "it’s easy for women who are not working outside the home to feel condescended to by those who are," and how it’s “easy for those who are working outside the home to feel judged by those who are not." But then, some more wisdom from you that I hope women – and men – will benefit from.
You told us, “In the last analysis, we women of every stripe have to remember that we are holding up the entire world, we are doing jobs out in the world and we are doing all the jobs at home more or less. And really the goal has to be not to judge one another but to try to move toward a more egalitarian life where guys pick up some of the slack.”
Amen to that!
To hear more from Anna, be sure to join iVillage for a special Twitter party Tuesday, April 24th at 9pm EST. You can join by using the hashtag #Quindlen, tweeting Anna @AtRandom or following @iVillage.
Hope to see you then!
Kelly Wallace, a mom of two, is Chief Correspondent of iVillage. You can follow Kelly on Twitter @kellywallacetv.