Life in Afghanistan was easier than life in Washington, DC.

Yes, I realize how terrible that sounds.

The day-to-day grind of two big careers, two small children, major urban commutes, maintaining a home, and trying to have some semblance of a family and personal life is hard.

It is too hard.

In Afghanistan, we didn’t have commutes.  We didn’t have chores.  Food was prepared and provided to us.  We had work, and we had whatever everyone was doing after work as our social life.

Sure, we missed home.  We missed family.  We could have happily done without Duck and Cover alarms that sent us sprinting to the nearest bunker.  We’re thrilled to be away from the omnipresent dust and putrid smell.

We lost colleagues and friends and some of the guards that greeted us each day.

Now, to be fair, we had each other, and we did not yet have our children, so, this is an imbalanced comparison.  But there are certainly days when my husband, Caleb, and I look at each other and reminisce about our simpler times.

In the last couple of weeks, my office rolled out yet another initiative aimed at convincing the work force that the leadership cares about them as whole and healthy people.  Except, if you cracked the hood on that car…


There was literally nothing there.  No engine.  Nothing.

I’ve been listening to Rachel Hollis’s books and watched her Netflix special.  Caleb is usually the one super-into motivational speakers and their books.  Hollis is often referred to as the “Tony Robbins for women.”  Caleb loves Tony Robbins.

Hollis has done something pretty remarkable in that she tapped into an ocean of female need and desire for someone to inspire them to become better versions of themselves; to become something more.  A key theme for her is that women should aspire to whatever they want to aspire to and apologize to no one about wanting to be something more.  Actually, she wants us to have the audacity to get explicit and write down what we want and who we want to become and shout it out to the world.

Ambitious kids who want to partner up with other ambitious kids and have kids together need a a more targeted example.  Two big careers and young children under one roof needs to become not just notionally possible but rather an enviable option.  It needs to be a passionate and fulfilling existence, not a soul-sucking, guilt-ridden slog.

I can’t find a single person to look to for inspiration on this.

I posted the following on a Facebook group for over 17,000 local moms:

“Hi ladies!  Does anyone have a favorite blogger or YouTuber they feel really speaks to the career mom?  I’m looking for a Rachel Hollis of the executive aspirant, MMLaFleur crowd.”

One response:

“At my work place, the working moms either all work part-time or have a stay-at-home dad.  Yeah, the only two females in management have husbands who stay at home.  And I know they don’t have time for mentoring younger women.  I’m midlevel in my career, and with a full-time job and two small kids, I wouldn’t be able to mentor anyone either.”

And this:

“The woman you are looking for is too busy for blogging.”

And another:

“When I got pregnant with my first child, I was in a leadership development program.  I was lucky to be able to schedule some time with a fairly senior woman at my company.  I expected wisdom and magic, but she had a stay-at-home husband and a nanny.  I have since tempered my expectations for my career—most VPs at my company are not much older than me, but again, they all either have no kids or a stay-at-home spouse.”

The final comment on the thread?


Indeed.  I mean, I know it means “follow,” but that it could be read that other way only made it all the more apropos.


This post originally appeared on Isaac & Isabel.