Hey, we all know how important strong female role models are right now. However, rather of feeling empowered, acclaimed novelist Danielle Steel’s most recent interview with Glamour left us feeling scolded and disheartened.
In reality, it’s pretty much everything that contributes to the delusion that “moms need to physically do it all” and causes so much anxiety and misery in so many of us.
Despite having published 179 novels and having nine children, the best-selling novelist argues that exhaustion and the need for a break are “millennial diseases.” We sincerely apologize. Ms. Steel, I take offense since this writer is a Gen Xer who appreciates sleeping.
According to Glamour, Steel revealed the “millennial sickness” to her son and his boyfriend, both of whom are in their twenties. Her son was clearly gloating about how he always finishes work on time and gets free food, alcohol, and video games at his modern office. Steel felt this to be irritating.
“They’re looking forward to having fun,” she said. However, I believe that your twenties and a large amount of your thirties should be spent working hard to improve your quality of life in later years. I mean, at 25, I never expected to have that kind of life. I worked three jobs at the same time and wrote after work. Everything is now guaranteed to be delightful.”
Okay, we see the discomfort with the idea that “everyone gets a great job with free beer by the age of 25” — and how it may be really uncomfortable for folks whose lives do not include that level of luxury.
However, knowing that Steel is a mother, we find her disdain of sleep offensive. That is where we must draw the line. According to Glamour, Steel works 20 to 22 hours every day.
Yes, you read that accurately. When she’s in “the pinch,” she’ll forego her lazy-ass two to four hours of beauty sleep and instead work nonstop all night in her cashmere nightgown:
“Dead or alive, rain or shine, I get to my desk and do my work. I’ll finish a book in the morning and start a new project in the afternoon,” she told the magazine.
Danielle, that’s fantastic. I’m halfway through my career and I’ve never had: 1) A workplace with IPA on tap. 2) a cashmere nightgown OR 3) the ability to function relatively effectively as a working mother on a regular basis on, say, six hours of sleep each night.
Is that to say I’m a worthless piece of garbage? No. Also, if I may be so bold, Ms. Steel: Who was looking after your nine children while you worked 22 to 24 hours a day? In some ways, this doesn’t make sense.
If you can have smoke, mirrors, and invisible childcare, that’s great, but most people can’t picture living with nine children they only see for 30 seconds in the morning at the toaster.
Whether or not Steel intended to insult a large group of working mothers who are trying to manage responsibility for their children, aging parents, employment, domestic chores, a personal life (ha! ha! ha! ), possibly a marriage or partnership, and self-care in order to avoid burnout, she did.
When Steel spoke with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts about her 2017 novel Dangerous Games, she confessed, “I’m usually juggling around five [projects] at a time… It’s exhilarating, similar to jumping through flaming hoops.”
It’s almost as though Steel and sleep are at odds. “I don’t go to bed until I’m completely exhausted and could sleep on the floor,” she said to Glamour. “If I have four hours, it’s a fantastic night for me.”
It’s worth noting that Steel, 71, avoided answering the interviewer’s question about whether her old age had any effect on her performance. “I want to die face down in my typewriter,” she remarked (something she said Agatha Christie once told her). Damn.
As a result, Steel believes that self-care or balance for working mothers is for snowflakes, just like sleep. Steel only drinks decaf coffee, eats dry bread (you can’t make this stuff up), and eats bitter chocolate bars. And the wailing of ladies like me, who are wondering if she is a robot.
Is this lady behaving appropriately? That depends on your definition of “correct,” I suppose. After all, she has achieved remarkable success with each of her efforts. By that criteria, I believe she is succeeding.
Is Steel weakening at her elderly age? She did, however, admit to Glamour that she wished she had “a bit more fun.” Don’t worry, she’s on it thanks to her Paris shopping and a week off in the south of France, where she claims to have read some novels in addition to her own manuscripts.
Is Steel’s way of life and path to success something I’d want for myself, celebrity and money aside? No way, no how. Is that something that other working mothers—really, any mother—should aspire to?
We truly do not believe that. You do you, however. After all, sleep deprivation and inadequate self-care are both well-studied and well-established flaws (and not by random snowflakes and afflicted millennials either).
People, burnout exists. Furthermore, mental health is both genuine and fragile. Too many people would come dangerously close to hitting rock bottom on this strict self-imposed routine. Steely Steel attests to its efficacy, but there are far too many risks associated with living such a work-focused lifestyle.
Please, I’ll resist, and I’m hoping my mother-friends will as well. because my bed and my children are both calling. I can complete my task after work tomorrow. even if it means I’ll never make the New York Times bestselling list.