Friday, April 5, 2013

success, cake-making and other thoughts

today i got up and got my nails done and went to lunch with my MIL. then i got a gift for a wedding shower and came home and baked a cake. a supremely leisurely, and even, some would say, unaccomplished, of a day.

then i read a post my friend nicole wrote on her blog about Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In and the difference between the way we respond to a woman's story of success and a man's. her post was actually more about the terrible plight of our country's education and how even though the system isn't really working, there's got to be a way to fix it, and also, maybe we need new games to teach us what we need to know. obviously i really oversimplified her point, but i think you can see that she has something going there.

however, her post — and really, this article — made me realize that i wish our notion of success wasn't what it is in this country. success really means fame and fortune. am i right? success looks like book/movie/record deals, Porsches, haberdashery socks and trips to Bali. or maybe it looks like flawlessly cute children in funky etsy hats and rain boots, expertly pinterested nurseries and gosh dangit the most perfectly dreamy pregnancy photo shoots. you know what i'm talking about?

and here's the thing, i feel it too. i am as stricken with the lust of the brightly colored kate spade bags and lightly tanned, creme de la mer'ed skin as the rest of them. and with the internet, the keeping up with the joneses phenomenon is magnified by a gazillion. because the joneses aren't just the people in your neighborhood anymore — who, if you're not in buckhead, say, are frankly not too fancy. no, the joneses are all over the blogosphere, creating and collaborating their little hearts out. they're on youtube, harmonizing with three or four digital versions of themselves on ukeleles and iphone pianos. they're on etsy and reality tv and even the homeschool moms are making millions.

and sometimes it's just exhausting keeping up with it all. or not keeping up with it but wanting to.

sometimes i wish that we measured success by how loved we felt. or gave away. by how many times we smiled or dinners we made. by how many days we went without washing our hair or how many nights in a row we brushed our teeth. by how many homework assignments we didn't put off or how many times we walked the dog in a week. i suppose those are too small of accomplishments to be worthy of NYTimes articles. and i get that. even i can't measure my own success in only those things (though not for lack of trying;). and i also get that if we didn't measure success by fame and fortune, there probably wouldn't even be a vehicle for me to put these thoughts out there for the universe to read. there wouldn't be computers or blogs or the internet. and i'm thankful for all those things.

i guess i'm just (re)realizing that i need to spend a little more time appreciating my life and not comparing my situation and successes to others'. so i'm going to close my computer and get me to an ever so humble friday night home meeting to which i'm bringing a (very ugly) chocolate birthday cake. that is my success story. for today.

tomorrow i conquer the world you know.


  1. Hey Rebecca! I've never commented here before even though I've been reading your blog pretty religiously (especially since baby's arrival has gotten imminent!). This post was such a beautiful articulation of how I feel about the internet most days! I joined pinterest for about 2 minutes before I realized how incredibly unhappy it makes me (or has the potential to make me), so I quit and haven't been back. I'm on a 3-month Facebook hiatus too. I hate most blogs for the same reason. Yours doesn't try to do that posturing thing where it's nothing but recipes and crafts ideas that show off how perfect of a wife/mother/human being the writer is, so I love visiting it -- I can always depend on your posts being honest and thoughtful. And I CANNOT WAIT to see baby Grace pictures! You've been in my thoughts a ton lately, and I wish you so much joy with your little family!

  2. Anna! Wow, what a huge compliment! That really makes my day as I mostly feel like a failure with this blog...still trying to figure out what kind of blogger/writer i am on here. so anyways, thank you! I cannot wait to send baby grace pictures!! Thank you too for your well wishes! I love that we have begun to stay in touch:)

  3. I've been checking daily for updates, and I saw your tweet. Congrats!!!!!! Very happy for y'all. Naomi