A couple months ago, I had an absolutely fantastic super awesome opportunity. I was asked to interview TV personality Carla Hall of ABC’s “The Chew” and to see her and several other fantastic super awesome women at the 2016 Bryant University Women’s Summit.
Dude, that is seriously my job.
I had such a good time talking with Carla and then listening to her wonderful keynote that I got that thing people get about celebrities where they start to think of them as their new pretend BFF. You know the drill: “She has curly hair and cries in the shower, too! She’s a Taurus who loves tea! We are SOULMATES!” Then I came back to the real world so I could write about it. Because that, too, is my job.
Carla was gracious and lovely, and I learned several things while interviewing her and listening to her speak that day. Most of them will appear in my article for RISBJ on the subject, but I saved a couple for my blog:
- How to make better meringue (Dude, it is all about the ratios.)
- Balancing work and life and family and eating right is not easy for ANYONE, even a woman who cooks in front of a live studio audience every single day.
#1 was a biggie for me because lemon meringue pie is, as Lola of Charlie and Lola (a super awesome children’s book series and TV show that I wish was still on) calls it, “my favourite and my best.” I am severely baking-challenged, and mostly unwilling to improve my status in this regard. But my mother enjoys baking so she, um, told me to ask how to make better meringue because I am her “favourite and her best.” (Just kidding–if I ever had that title, it was pretty much lost at the moment her grandkids were born.)
#2 came later in our conversation, and I could relate to Carla’s take on self care and why it’s so tough for women: “I could be busy all the time. As women, we’re constantly saying yes, and the last person we pay attention to is ourselves.” Trying to find time for physical and mental health in a life where we are constantly saying yes–to our family, to school and work commitments, to everything–is tough.
“In my mind’s eye, I’m sitting in my apartment in New York, looking at the refrigerator…and everybody would assume that I cook all the time. But I cook at the office, so when I come home, I want someone else to cook for me.” Filming in New York while her husband is in Washington, D.C., Carla doesn’t often take the trouble to make a good meal for herself. “I need to give myself the attention that I’d give somebody else,” she mused.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you were one of those people assuming that this woman who loves to cook and has made it her life’s work would naturally go home and cook up a storm every night, abandoning herself to the sheer joy of sauteing veggies and throwing spices around. In my house, the daily question of “what’s for dinner?” can strike fear into my tightly-scheduled, stovetop-shirking heart. On the nights where I only have to cook for myself, a bowl of cereal or a quick salad is almost a relief. But surely, it would be different for someone who loves to cook.
It’s not. We all have to work at taking care of ourselves. Even those people who seem to have it all together, people who spend every day cooking delicious meals on TV. We need to learn to treat ourselves as well as we treat our families, with as much care as we treat our life’s work. But we can all do this. We can take the time to make sure we’re caring for ourselves with a meal, or a walk, or an activity that isn’t obligatory. We can say no to a few things, carving out the time for self care. And when we do, we say yes to ourselves, our sanity, our souls.