The Hum

by | 21 Feb 2016

I like TED talks. They’re great for lunch – a break from work but not too long, and good for your philosophical advancement. Today I watched Shonda Rhimes ted-talking about her year of saying ‘yes to everything’. I have to say I didn’t actually know who she was but she looked sassy, I liked the title, and I thought she’d make the perfect accompaniment to the puff pastry tomato tart I had left over from dinner last night.

Shonda started. One minute in and she’d mentioned her three amazing children. Two minutes in and she’d mentioned her four television shows which are translated into sixty seven languages in two hundred and fifty six territories and watched by thirty million people – she calls herself a Titan. Three minutes in, well, I pretty much hated her and there were still fifteen minutes to go.

I waited for this clearly intelligent woman to subvert what appeared to be quite an ego. She talked about being driven by the ‘hum’ of the workaholic. She talked about the hum being the open road, a drug, music, God’s whisper in her ear. And then she said one day the hum stopped and the only way she got it back was by saying ‘yes’ to playing with her children. The moral of the story was that everyone should say ‘yes’ to playing with their children. But for some reason despite all that ‘leaning-in’ I talked about in my last blog, I couldn’t stop myself from shouting at the screen ‘F*** you Shonda Rhimes. What if you don’t have children to play with?’

Afterwards, angry, I Wikipediaed her. Shonda Rhimes, writer and producer of Grey’s Anatomy and other hit American TV shows does indeed have three children. Two are adopted, the other born by surrogate. I imagined her shouting back at me through the screen: ‘F*** you Jessica Hepburn, that will teach you to make assumptions. There are many ways to become a mother and play with your children if you want to.’

I laughed and hoped she couldn’t see the puff pastry crumbs cascading down my top.


  1. kiftsgate

    Woooow. I had no idea about this! If it makes you feel better I had made the same assumptions as you…x


    Ha! Good one, Jessica. I watched the very same one today by coincidence. I knew who she was as have been avid Grey’s fan for many years. I think for ‘playing with your kids every time they ask’ you could substitute ‘ at least once a day, just stop, take a breath, breathe’ and it would work just as well. Anyway, good advice co it sounds like Shonda’s almost as busy as you 😉

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Feels like I’m as busy as she is..although wouldn’t mind her payslip! Am breathing now….Jessica x

  3. Jane

    Thanks Jessica for this post – I still don’t think there’s much to replace shouting at the screen/TV and pigeons every now and again! Thanks too to Dee for the stop, take a breath option – much appreciated. As for saying yes to everything, I am desperately trying out more “no’s” and that’s working really well. I save the yes for coffee’s, lunch with friends and a new top! Its a sharp reminder though – we all make assumptions all the time. 🙂

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      No’s are good, I definitely agree. I’ve never tried shouting at the pigeons, am going to try it! Jessica x

  4. Mel

    Am with Jane- I’m trying to say ‘no’ more- whether it be to work, to social media or one too many cocktails… It’s always good to have assumptions blown sky high though. And it’s always good to say ‘yes’ to what we want to do rather than what we ought to do.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Never say no to one too many cocktails, especially if you’re with me!!! Jessica x

  5. Sheila

    I think this has taught us all a valuable lesson – we all know what ‘assume’ really means (make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’!!) – the rest of us didnt get the puff pastry down our tops 🙂 Love all the other comments to, thank you. xx

  6. thepursuitofmotherhood

    Love that Sheila! Thank you for making me smile Jessica x