Every month, I meet with nine incredibly smart, funny, and insightful mothers to discuss books. Although technically it’s a book club, this group represents so much more to me.
In the town where I live, sometimes finding a mom who can talk Tolstoy and Brahms is challenging. Let me be clear: I don’t need everyone to love art, music and literature; I love a good chat about nap times and recipes and poopy diapers as much as the next mom. But every once in a while – once a month, to be exact – I need to get back in touch with the world. I need to think. I need a good laugh. And I need a glass of wine. This is exactly the service my book club provides.
The women in my group were collected from all walks of life. Strike that. We’re all white, middle-class mothers. But our backgrounds and situations are varied; Last Monday night, we actually had a Muslim, a Jew, and a smattering of Christians sitting down together like a bad joke. And we discussed one of the most provocative books to be published in a long time: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. And we still hugged before we got in our cars to drive home!
I am not going to review this book. It simply isn’t necessary – Google “Sheryl Sandberg is” and you’ll find:
- Sheryl Sandberg is an idiot
- Sheryl Sandberg is hot
- Sheryl Sandberg is annoying
Whatever your feelings on “women, work, and the will to lead,” you will find someone who agrees with you on the world wide web. For my part, the best thing I got out of Sandberg’s “sort-of feminist manifesto” is the encouragement to do whatever I do with my whole self. While I didn’t particularly love Lean In (I’m pretty sure the word I used was “detest”), I profoundly enjoyed sitting with a handful of thoughtful women to discuss what it means. Lean In forced me to distill and define my thoughts on womanhood, and for that matter, personhood. Never a bad thing.
The following day, while mulling over everything that was said, rocking my precious Sweet Chuck and humming softly, I looked deeply into her cherubic face and thought I have made the right decision to be here with her. I can definitely lean in to that.
It wasn’t two seconds later that a silent gush of breast milk, teething cookie and scrambled eggs erupted from her mouth, shooting into the air above her and splashing back down on her face. Three times.
Thanks a lot, Sandberg.