Thank God it’s almost Thursday, the last day of a job that sucked away all of my time, and obviously another day in Shondaland! Speaking of which, I’m finally getting the chance to flip through the latest issue of Essence magazine that has all my favorite Shondaland inhabitants: Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and the owner of ABC’s Thursday night line-up herself, Miss Shonda Rhimes. The article is basically a round-of-applause for Shonda and I will be the first to add mine to it. I admire this lady for everything that she has achieved. Oh, I also learn that she’s got three kids–two adopted and one through a surrogate. Holy smokes. How does she do it?
The reason I’m quitting my job is because I worked a schedule where I barely saw my two girls. Here, Shonda is running three award-winning shows on a primetime network so she’s got to be crazy busy. Really, I need to know how she does it?
I guess I’m not the only one who wants to know because the journalist asks her the very same question. Come on, Shonda, drop those jewels!
“That’s a stupid question,” she says.
“Nobody ever asks a man how they balance it all. Men go to work and take care of their families all the time. So when people ask women, ‘How do you go to work and take care of your family?’ you’re somehow suggesting that I am not as capable as a man. You’re somehow suggesting that I don’t have as many skills as a man, and you’re also suggesting I am neglecting my life at home. That I find really insulting and not gender equal.”
Seriously, Shonda, why you so defensive? Oh, I get it. She probably hasn’t figured it out yet so this is her way of avoiding the whole question. Just blame it on gender equality. It’s really disappointing though because I thought that she might have answered that question given that she’s attained so much. Oh well.
It still leaves me with the question of how to balance work with motherhood. Whether it’s this job I’m quitting or the next, I gotta figure this out.
I flip through the magazine and take another look at Shonda’s answer because the truth is I’d trade places with her in a second. Obviously, she’s figured something out.
“It’s a stupid question. It’s stupid question. It’s a stupid question.”
Okay, what if she’s right? What if it is a stupid question? What if in this male-dominated society this question keeps women in our place? Because as long as we keep asking ourselves and others how to balance work and motherhood we keep implying that it’s really hard, or impossible, which keeps us from seeing ourselves on the same level as men, which keeps us from moving into really powerful positions. Shonda’s right, no one asks men that question, which means that they don’t have to entertain the question, so they can focus on handling their business.
What if we stopped entertaining this question and just handled our business too?
It’s funny that Shonda dismisses this question and she’s the only woman in her field, white or Black, who is accomplishing what she is in television.
I’m gonna have to go with her on this one. I will no longer ask myself or any other woman how she balances work and motherhood. What I will ask as I embark on this new stage of my life, post-quitting my job is, what do I want to do next?
This article first appeared on Madamenoire 10/13/15