Review: All Things at Once by Mika Brzezinkski

One more from the ‘new book’ shelf at the library, All Things at Once is an auto biography of Mika Brzezinski, a moderately well known TV news person who is currently the co-anchor of a morning news/political commentary show. The book, in my view at least, isn’t about politics. It’s about the struggle to be a mother and a driven career person and finding the balance, and it’s about falling and climbing again.

It’s a candid book, but not in the sense of shocking. She talks about falling down the stairs with her baby as a result of being tired from trying to do too much, and then the baby not moving. That story ends happily, but it’s easy as a parent to understand the pain and sense of failure such an accident could cause, and how it could change you – and not all in good ways. She talks about almost being raped as a child, and does so in a way that is direct, yet not graphic.

She juggled trying to be a full time mom and a full time career person, and talks about not always managing that balance well. Trying to be a full time mom only and realizing that role, defined that way, wasn’t a good fit, and trying to accept that, to realize that there is more than one path.

She built a career in network news and was poised to do more, then the Dan Rather incident happened at CBS and even though wasn’t involved, the resulting changes cascaded in a way that at age 39 she ended up on the outside looking in. Imagine working your way to the top and in a space of few minutes being unemployed and just about unemployable. Working through that and taking a job that was a step back. Not just a demotion, but just about starting over. Being praised for doing things well that she had mastered 10 years earlier, as if she had learned a new skill. And then, the amazing ending, at least so far, of being “re-discovered” and getting a “real” job, and then having one unexpected moment catapult her to the top again.

Worth reading, for men as much as women. We should talk more about expectations and pressures of managing career and family, and the choices we make, and sometimes the guilt that comes with the choices.