The women who ‘have it all’ (5×8 – 7/19/12)

Does having it all require money, the Olympic mom, the sons of the Kent State generation at Penn State, when the water recedes in Duluth, and another look at the Boy Scout decision.

First this plea for help. Yesterday, the boss asked me the question I’ve been dreading he would ask for at least the last three years. “How,” he said, “would you describe 5×8 in one sentence?” Ruh roh. I, of course, had no answer as there is little logic and certainly no strategy in this daily endeavor. But the sentence is needed for a project he’s working on, so I still have to come up with one. To prove my qualifications for potential management, I am taking an assignment to me, and passing it on to you. If you have suggestions — one that can actually be used — kindly post it below.


Anne-Marie Slaughter, who spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival earlier this month about her controversial cover story in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” says “having it all” isn’t “having everything.”

“I was writing for my demographic,” she said at her Aspen session, broadcast yesterday on MPR News Presents. “We have all these women, we have 50 percent of women entering the workforce, more than 50 percent of women coming out of top schools and yet as you go up, you have 20 percent in board rooms and CEOs and in government and legislatures…. So if you say the problem is not enough women at the top, you gotta write for the women who could make it to the top.”

Reality? Stereotype? Something in between?

How do the women who do seem to “have it all” have it all? My friend, Vince Tuss, calls my attention to a Wall St. Journal article today — Don’t Hate Her Because She Finds Time for the Workout — which portrays, perhaps, a different demographic — women who have carved out the ability to have their version of “it all.” In this case, it’s women who exercise.

It’s about the freedom from guilt…

Many moms say they are in the best shape of their lives. Heather Prokop, of Maple Grove, Minn., is 35 with four kids ages 2 to 12, and weighs 30 pounds less than she did in college. When the weather is nice, she bikes 3.5 miles around a nearby lake towing two children in a trailer; often, she runs a second lap while pushing her youngest in a stroller.

Finding time to work out is a constant challenge. Recently, Ms. Prokop was on the treadmill in her home when one of her sons needed help with his Legos. Ms. Prokop got off the treadmill, played with him for a few minutes, and then jumped back on–only to learn her youngest was awake after her nap. “Sometimes I am popping them in front of ‘Sesame Street’ just so I can squeeze it in,” she says.

To some, a fit mom’s regimen may seem self-indulgent. These women, though, see their workouts as a guilt-free stress release. They don’t feel badly about taking time to work out because they are setting a healthy example for their children. “It’s this thing that she does for herself but that makes her better for everybody else,” Athleta’s Ms. Roering says.

According to the article, all you need is money.


We heard from Mary Martin yesterday. She wrote to tell us that her daughter, a South St. Paul high school grad, is on the U.S. rowing team and heading to her second Olympics. Would we mind following her progress during the Olympics, she asked? Sure, no problem, but we find ourselves just as deeply interested in the Olympics from the perspective of a parent. So we’re recommending Ms. Martin’s website, The Olympic Mom, which is chronicling her own experiences of enjoying London from the perspective of the parents.

Even better: She can “bring it:”

The one clinker this week was the Congressional hullabaloo about the uniforms that the American athletes will wear at the opening ceremonies. I would love to see American-made uniforms, but the timing and presentation of the issue were disgraceful.

If Congress appropriated money to the United States Olympic Committee, it might make sense. But America remains the only country in the word that does not provide government funding for its Olympic athletes. For Congress to tell a non-profit organization that it refuses to support where it can buy things seems like a bad case of overreaching. And to create a public debacle by suggesting that the uniforms be burned is just childish.

I realize that the Olympic team is a symbol of America at its best-but I’d like to know if Congressmen-who represent America not just during the Olympics, but every day of the year-wear American-made clothing when they are on the floor of the House or the Senate? How about military procurement policies? Are all U.S. military uniforms made in America?

Related: Still the best Olympic parent moment ever, from the 1992 games in Barcelona…

Even more: The sports you won’t see in the Olympics.


The kids at Penn State are holding a vigil at the statue of football coach Joe Paterno, to keep anyone from vandalizing the memorial to their hero after last week’s report determined he was complicit in the coverup of sexual assaults on children at the school’s football facilities.

Related: Penn State deserves the NCAA “death penalty,” the Star Tribune editorial team concludes.

At the very least, those who support college athletics should see in the Penn State tragedy an opportunity for introspection. Those who won’t admit that there’s a connection between our national infatuation with big-time sports and the scandals that continue to plague otherwise credible academic institutions are blind to the fact that power and money often corrupt.


Often, the media leaves when the floodwaters recede. But MPR’s Dan Kraker’s story is must-listening to understand the mess that’s left behind for homeowners, who have no way to rebuild.


The Boy Scouts have reaffirmed their policy excluding gay youth. PBS NewsHour finds it’s as much a business decision as anything else…

Watch Boy Scouts Uphold Policy to Exclude Gay Youth on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Bonus I: The toilet cleaner bombs of Dakota County.

Bonus II: It was four years ago today when an ambidextrous pitcher faced a switch hitter.


The NCAA must decide how or whether to respond to the scandal involving sexual abuse of children by a former assistant coach in Penn State’s football program. An independent investigation found wide-ranging failures reaching to the top levels of the school’s administration. One possible response would be the so-called death penalty, or the temporary shutdown of football at the school. Today’s Question: Should the NCAA suspend the football program at Penn State?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: How the subprime crisis will continue to affect minorities.

Second hour: Assessing Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

Third hour: Marissa Mayer’s new job.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): College sports at a crossroads.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The long reach of the Midwest drought.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR provides a conversation with the authors of “Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus.” Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy share a passion for rabies. She’s a veterinarian and he’s a journalist. The-husband-and-wife team have charted 4,000 years of this disease, which still confounds medical science.