You Don't Have to Do All of Your Hobbies at Once
Plus, an essay on performance motherhood
I used to make kombucha all the time. Three years ago in the middle of a party I was hosting, several bottles in their second fermentation exploded one after another. It left a sticky mess and some shattered glass, and I haven’t brewed kombucha since. My neglected scoby eventually dried up, and I threw it into the compost.
I’ve ignored more than my scoby. As I got busier with work and being a mom, I ran less, skied less, and stopped climbing altogether. It got to the point where I started to feel guilty about how out of shape I was. So I would wake up early, whether I was sick or exhausted or the baby was up half the night, and work out. It’ll come as a surprise to no one that I wasn’t having fun. Running, swimming, and yoga all became chores, things I had to check off of my to-do list before I could get on with my day. So, outside of a quick morning jog to keep the dogs’ energy at a manageable level, I stopped altogether.
A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law had an extra scoby lying around and gave it to me. I started to feed it, and it started to grow. And somehow I’ve become obsessed with kombucha again. As I write this, I’m about to start my first round of second fermentation in a long time, and I have five other mothers, in various stages of growth, floating around my pantry.
What I’m trying to say is that my pantry has turned into a science lab. But also that you don’t have to do all of your hobbies all at once. It’s OK to set them on the shelf and return to them later. Even if your kombucha explodes or your scoby dries up—or your miles are slower because you’re out of shape, or you’re climbing two grades below where you once could—it’s OK. There’s always another scoby somewhere. It’ll just take a few weeks to grow.
What I’m reading
This essay in The Cut on performance motherhood in the age of Instagram stayed with me. I don’t think I can do it justice in a summary, so you’ll just need to read it for yourself.
We made potato prints, but my daughter painted hers over with garish neon-pink glitter and my son made a cartoon-y cat. The only print that made it to Instagram was mine, which featured minimalist arcs. I felt a little guilty for not showcasing my kids’ ugly art, but mostly I felt angry at myself for placing value on their art in the first place and treating it like a reflection of my motherhood. Instagram makes it easy to believe that beauty is part and parcel of the work of mothering. If you’re not trying to make it pretty, what’s the point?
Read “We Don’t Perform Motherhood for Our Kids” here.
One thing I really miss is editing Blair Braverman’s Tough Love column. No matter the topic: outdoor crushes, pushy moms, or losing a dog to old age, her advice is always thoughtful and on point. This week, she wrote to a reader who asked her for tips on a sexy photoshoot.
It’s a total cliché that the most important thing is having fun, but in this case, it’s particularly true. Don’t be afraid of cracking up laughing, or trying something weird. Those might end up being your favorite shots. After all, you’re gorgeous, you’re sexy, and you’re in a beautiful place, taking pictures for someone you care about. It’s a little silly—most good things are—but it’s wonderful, too.
Read “A Newbie’s Guide to Taking Sexy Photos Outside” here.
I’m not ashamed to admit that my husband and I have binged every single season of Love Is Blind, including the most recent one. The show was a way to wind down after a long day, to quiet my busy mind that wouldn’t stop buzzing with work and baby sleep schedules. But then Insider published this behind-the-scenes piece that shows what a traumatic experience the show was for many of its contestants. It dives into the fuzzy morality of all reality shows, like Survivor, Love Island, etc. And just how awful this kind of series can be for the people involved.
Some people really did find love on the show: Four couples from the first three seasons are still married. But for many others, it wasn't worth it. "I thought I might find my husband," the season-two contestant who had a miscarriage said. "I had no idea it was going to be a lot of emotional warfare."
Read “Love Is Blind Is Hell on Earth” here.
The good stuff
Adidas Ponytail Hat ($21): I’m a high ponytail kind of woman. Nine out of ten times, when I tie back my hair, it goes on top of my head. This makes wearing hats very annoying, but I’d much rather throw on a hat than smear a bunch of greasy sunscreen all over my face. It’s quite a dilemma. Enter: The Adidas Ponytail Hat. It’s just a very basic baseball hat, but the hole in the back is cut out larger than usual, which doesn’t limit you to low ponytails and buns. Problem solved.