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"It helps that he still likes to squeeze my butt when I walk by naked."

You may be reading this right now and going “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH AIDAN?!” Keep calm. I’m guest posting. “BUT WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!” Well, I’m Dara Resnik Creasey, a John-Hughes-lovin’ screenwriter, mom of one who’s almost one, and former New Yorker turned Angeleno who still refuses to wear pink. (Okay, sometimes I wear pink, but don’t tell anyone.) Any other questions? Please comment below. I’m happy to answer them.

After the hoopla surrounding Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic Monthly article this summer, I started to panic. Was it true? Had I been sold a bill of not-so-goods? Could I really be a writer and a mother at the same time? Man, either that kid of mine was gonna be screwed, or nobody was going to hire me ever again.

Enter ADR, whose blog I’ve read for years, but started to frequent on a daily basis. She seems to embody what the late, great Nora Ephron once said to Wellesley’s class of ’96: “...of course you can have it all... It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications.” ADR asked if I’d guest post and I responded with a resounding “Yes!!!” (I think I used three exclamation points, which is actually a pet peeve of mine, as one will always suffice.) I like reading Ivy League Insecurities because it’s one picture of the joyous chaos of a woman having it all. Also because I went to Tufts and I thought we were the only ones who were that insecure.

You can Have It All. The picture just looks different for everyone. Here are the five most important things that make it work for me:

1) I have a partner with whom I share responsibilities 50/50. This is number one because in my view, it’s the most important. My husband is my screenwriting partner, my life partner, my savior. Our mornings are a delicate waltz (okay, maybe it’s more of a breakdance) of you-walk-the-dogs-while-I-feed-the-baby, our afternoons are a two- step of trading script pages, and our evenings are a mambo of bathing, dog-feeding, and bill-paying. He never gripes about watching our kid, cleaning, or supermarket shopping. If anything, he does more than his fair share. He knows the dance keeps our life running... and me sane.

2) I have bosses who have kids. I’m not saying your boss has to have kids or even like kids to understand when you have to leave at 3pm because the baby is puking and your dogs just pooped all over the living room. I’m just saying it makes life easier. Our first post-baby gig this year was as Co-Producers (read: mid-level writers) on an ABC series that will air this summer. TV writing means going to a studio lot every day, as in, not working from home. My bosses were both women, both with kids of their own. They encouraged me to pump at work, even going so far as to get me a fridge for my office. They encouraged writing from home when it was time to write our episodes. And they never so much as blinked at me having to run out to deal with a child emergency. During the part of the year when I’m not on a television show, I am writing from home, which is wonderful for the “life” part of the work/life equation. I have a flexible schedule and can write at 5am or 6pm so I can take my kid to the zoo on a Monday afternoon if I want to. Plus, I am a Boss Who Has a Kid, so I’m an awesome boss. To myself. You should see my evaluation.

3) Sometimes I have six-day-a-week help. Sadly, my family still lives in New York City (Hi, Mom!), which means when the poop really hits the diaper pail (a metaphor that doesn’t really work), or when we need a night out (see #5 below and I’ll stop it with the parentheses now), we need the nanny to work on Saturday. This happens frequently and as long as we pay her time-and-a-half, our nanny is glad to do it. On a related note, we love her. Whether it’s daycare or a relative or a nanny, it’s not possible to do everything unless you truly trust the person who has your kid when you’re not there. We compensate our nanny well for the astounding job she does, and though that might one day bankrupt us, it’s a worthwhile expense that we’re currently lucky enough to afford and would happily give up a family vacation to maintain.

4) I only have one kid. This may change one day. But right now, there are only three in our picture. My husband and I outnumber the baby, if I did the math right, two-to-one. It feels manageable. There are always more hands than there are emergencies. There’s a separate bedroom for everyone in our little California bungalow, and even enough space for a separate office. I envy ADR and her boundless energy raising those three in NYC, but I don’t yet know if it’s for me. That said, there will be no Creaseykid number two without the following:

5) I keep the romance alive. My husband and I promised ourselves we would not be that couple who has a kid and never Does It ever again. It’s not easy. It takes effort, but our marriage is better for it. I made a point of losing the baby weight so that I could feel sexy again. We get out for regular date nights. We light candles. We say frequently that we love and appreciate each other. Through the poop and the puke and the dark circles under our eyes, we make our love a priority. Also, it helps that he still likes to squeeze my butt when I walk by naked.

I hope I didn’t paint too rosy a picture. Because sometimes my husband and I fight, and the baby prefers the nanny, and I had to stop breastfeeding because pumping was really not working for me. And did I mention poop and puke enough for you?

But the crazy thing is I can’t imagine a world anymore in which I don’t want that in my life just as much as I want to win an Emmy someday. This kid has spent the last year stealing my time, my sleep, and my boobs.

And given me more than I could ever have imagined. That’s what it looks like for me to Have It All.

Thank you, Dara, for your fabulously witty & wise words. Oh how I wish I knew you better back in our Dalton days.

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