Eleanor Roosevelt

I just finished Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book No Ordinary Time, about the effect on WWII America of the interpersonal relationships in the White House and throughout the homefront.

It’s an amazing book that has me all exited. Because I often forget, if I’m not reminded by Pulitzer-Prize-winning authors, that mothers who’ve changed the world rarely do so in one, long, eighty-year push. That women often phase their efforts, stringing together impressive lives that include long breaks we don’t talk about in most history lessons. Spells of insecurity, years of depression, a decade or two of childrearing.

I had always assumed, ridiculous child that I am, that Eleanor Roosevelt had spent her entire adult life changing the course of feminist history.

And she did significantly and impressively change American history. But not in one unwavering straight line toward advocacy and activism.

So, bolstered by the reminder that we do all that we can when we can, and that, as Ann Marie Slaughter has said, we have investment intervals in any number of efforts, projects, and careers, I still have time to change the world.

I might even have separate bedrooms and a marriage that acts like a partnership rather than a marriage.


For now I’m just happy that Neil Kramer’s mom has boldly staked her claim for feminism.

2 thoughts on “Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. 1) I want to read this book, and I needed to read this post today as I’m feeling like I’m half-assing EVERYTHING this week — parenting, work, writing, housekeeping, etc.

    2) Having our own bedrooms has more or less saved my marriage — or at least has given us a fighting chance for survival. My wise therapist recommended this ages ago, but we only made it happen sometime in the past year.

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