I am a horrible sleeper when I travel. And while I enjoy what I do, I find myself traveling a lot. When I'm in a hotel, I'm often too tired to do real work but too antsy to sleep. And so I do completely useless things. I raid the minibar, drink too much wine and eat too much junk food. I read young adult and sci fi fiction. And sometimes I watch movies. Travel this past week was crazy, even for me. I live in Dallas and have an eight month old and an eight year old. On Sunday I woke up and went jogging. It wasn't pretty, but at least I exercised. I played games with my son, sucked snot out of my daughter's nose, and went grocery shopping. I packed my bags, cooked dinner and caught a flight to DC. On Monday evening, I tried to buy healthy food in an airport while I explained to a camp director why my babysitter hadn't picked up my son on time. I texted next steps to both my babysitter and husband while responding to emails I couldn't get to while in an all day meeting. I flew from DC to Seattle, and woke up at 5:30a on the west coast. I joined conference calls, left virtual I love you notes to my family, spoke in several conference sessions, and went to a networking dinner.
And despite the fact that I was bone tired, I could not sleep. So I watched The Intern to unplug. I mean, who isn't curious about pairing Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway? They go together like Pinot Grigio and Pringles, right? To my surprise, their pairing was more satisfying than my minibar treats. In fact, I loved The Intern for three reasons
- Life was fulfilling, hectic, and imperfect: Jules Ostin, played by Anne Hathaway, was the founder of a startup, the mom to a precocious daughter, and the wife of a supportive husband. On the surface her life fit the definition of the "woman who had it all". But daily life was a series of triumphs and challenges, big wins and small joys, minor annoyances and devastating betrayals. I so often feel that way in my life as I do my best to live, learn and grow as a person and with my family. It was refreshing to see so much of that range captured even though it was admittedly far fetched and storybook at times.
- Business ownership was an act of love: In a previous blog, I said that my son Dylan was my second child and that my startup was my firstborn. Whenever I said that, it often made people uncomfortable. Business ownership conjures thoughts of ego, competition, and white men. The images of Jules as a founder and leader of her company was the antithesis of those stereotypes. She created an environment where people enjoyed where they worked. She treated her customers with respect. She pushed people but they delivered and celebrated together. And when challenges arose, while she wasn't always perfect, she worked with integrity, creativity, and confidence. Her business was not about looking good or making money. It was about nurturing and growing everyone who touched it, just like she did with her own daughter.
- Marriage roles were in flux: In the world of girl power and leaning in, we often gloss over how professional women struggle even when they have supportive husbands. In fact, sometimes having a supportive husband actually makes you feel more guilty. The marriage tango between two career loving parents often feels like you have to sacrifice your happiness at the expense of the other or vice versa. The relationship of Jules and her husband surfaced the series of battles couples who challenge our deeply embedded gender roles wage every day. These skirmishes occurred even though they both clearly loved and respected each other and wanted to be together.
While I'm no Jules Ostin, The Intern made me feel like the hectic and fulfilling life my family is building together might not be so crazy after all. After a whirlwind several days of travel, I walked in my door on Tuesday night, embraced the kiddos and kissed Keith. And with that, I fell asleep grateful and content.