Monday, February 10, 2014
Further Monday Musings on Motherhood
I've received quite a few emails from readers with regards to last Monday's post. I can't say that I'm surprised, as I think that all Mothers struggle with balancing both their own wants and desires with the truly demanding, often horrifying, realities of raising children. A reader did point me in the direction of a New York Times article about how Ivy League Education is supposedly being "wasted" on women who plan to stay at home with their (future) offspring. I know that this article was supposed to make me mad, but I had a different reaction. Mostly, I just felt that asking 18-22 year old girls (yes, girls) what their plans for their futures happen to be, and from that assuming that these plans are even going to work out for them and then, taking it one step further, to decry that valuable spots in top-of-the-line universities are being wasted because these girls plan to "just" become Mothers is, well, laughable.
The thing is, when one is 18 or 19 or even 23 the idea one has about where her life is going to take her and how it's going to work out is, for the most part, completely and totally delusional. Yes, we all plan to do certain things and to be married by this age, and buy a house by that age and have a baby before 35, and blah blah blah. You know the old saying life is what happens when you're making other plans? Well, I'm pretty sure that applies here. Because the thing is that you just really, really don't know at the tender age of 19 what you're going to be confronted with. Every woman assumes she's going to meet the right person at the right time and it's all going to work out just swimmingly, but too often it doesn't. You have to play the hand you're dealt and do the best you can with what you've been given.
I applaud that young women understand the importance of being Mothers and that they want to be the primary caregivers for their future offspring. But saying that's what you want and then actually doing it are two different things. No matter how you slice it, if you want to have a child you have to take a step off of the career treadmill. Whether you stay home for three weeks or three years or thirteen years, you do have to hit the career pause button to a certain extent, and when you've busted your ass for ten or fifteen years to achieve a certain level of career success, it is incredibly difficult to make the decision to take a break in order to be a Mother. Even though I never achieved incredible success as a performer, I worked damn hard for years on end, and I really struggled with putting on the brakes in order to have a child. Honestly, I feel fortunate that I even had the ability to make this choice. There are so many factors at work here: What if I hadn't met the right guy? What if I hemmed and hawed about taking time off from my career-driven life and then discovered that I couldn't conceive? What if I wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home Mom but my spouse was unemployed and I couldn't take time off of work? These are the realities of life that you never see coming when you're eighteen years old.
Look, it's impossible to do it all. The idea that you can is total and complete b.s. My house is a wreck, the roots of my hair are revealing my actual age (instead of my Hollywood age), and I've resorted to ordering groceries from Yummy.com because I'd rather write than go marketing. I will tell you this, though: I'm damn glad I have an expensive college education, because that theater degree comes in really handy when I'm putting on a puppet show for the under-five set.