Once or twice a week I send my editor a tirade about how much I hate Sheryl Sandberg's idea that I should lean in. I don't want to lean in and I don't want to hear her telling me why I made bad decisions and that's why I'm not running corporate America. I'm not running corporate America because when I was leaning in, I had two full-time nannies for two years and I felt like the shittiest parent in the world.
Did I ever tell you that when I was doing my last startup with two guys in their 20s – because you should always do startups with guys in their 20s because they don't care about anything except being a rip-roaring career success – they had girlfriends and the girlfriends would say, "Oh, God. I never want to have to deal with kids and a career the way Penelope is doing it."
I'm still friends with both those girlfirends. Actually, they both married my co-founders. And if you asked me who the most influential women were to me when I was deciding to opt-out of start-up life, it would be those two women: Caitlin and Rebecca. Because I knew they were going to do their lives much better than I was doing it, and I wanted another try. I wanted to do it better.
So tonight I sent my editor – Did I tell you I have an editor? I have an editor because the only way I can write things like "I use 23-year old women as role models and I hate everyone" is if I have an editor saving me from myself.
So one thing he does is save me from publishing tirades about leaning-in every day of the week. Another thing he does is field my needy calls about how I am not writing enough or not doing enough or not thinking enough or whatever and I'm a terrible person.
Tonight I called him to tell him "Shut up. My tirade is different from all other tirades and we should not throw it in the garbage."
He didn't answer the phone. Instead, he texted me that he can't talk because it's bedtime for his kids.
So what? It was bedtime for my kids, too. I told my family I have to work, which I don't. I have to come downstairs and write about all the shitty parents who are leaning in. And I have to tell you that I am opting out. But how can I say I'm opting out when I am working instead of tucking my kids in?
And I am writing a tirade about hating Sheryl Sandberg when I actually think she is a pleasure to watch succeed. She is brilliant and great. It's just that I'd hate to be her kid. I'd hate to be my kid. It's very hard to be consistent. I am not consistent. I even have an editor to keep me consistent and I'm not doing it.
I'm not sure there is value in being consistent, though.
The Gray Matter column in the New York Times reports that there are concrete ways of thinking and philosophical ways of thinking. And it's hard to be consistent if you go between the two. Also, the Journal of Personality reports that it's difficult to maintain consistent thinking as our income changes.
I tell you this because it's psychologically too challenging for most people to be consistent, so forget about being consistent when you try to homeschool. Just do your best and accept that you will have to change your mind.
But more importantly, it's a boring life to always have everything lined up in your head just right. I don't think it's possible to be consistent as a homeschool parent. I think it's too revolutionary still, and too complicated, and there is not good enough data about what makes a good homeschooler to know, really, what we are talking about.
There is an article in the Harvard Business Review, which I can't find, about people who are pundits. Pundits are not right more than other people. They just give more opinions more than other people. Which is why I feel okay saying today that being inconsistent is part of being a homeschooler.
Maybe tomorrow I will change my mind.