Growing up I always wanted to have children and when I gave birth to my first daughter at 32-years-old I felt such a sense of relief that I was a mother. That didn’t mean I didn’t have career dreams but the idea of ‘having it all’ is bullshit. I’ve made sacrifices in my career since becoming a mother. I’ve said no to dream jobs that would have been impossible with two babies at home.
I also have friends that have chosen to forgo motherhood so they could commit to their careers 100%, and I say good on them. They have decided where they want to put their energy and what will make them happy and I absolutely back them. Motherhood isn’t for everyone. That I know for sure.
Being a woman does not equate to being a mother.
Sarah Silverman copped a heap of backlash when she recently posted a series of tweets on choosing her ‘fullest life’ over motherhood. Sarah who is an incredibly successful stand-up comedian and actress tweeted; “As a comic always working & on the road I have had to decide between motherhood & living my fullest life & I chose the latter.” She also acknowledged that her fellow male comics did not struggle as much with this choice tweeting; “Men don’t have to do that. I’d so love to be a fun dad, coming home from the road & being my best fun dad self,” she continued adding; “u can’t be a woman w/out sacrifice & that’s the fact jack.”
Because of these comments Sarah was smashed on Twitter and in the media for her mum-shaming man-hating view of motherhood and career. Sarah responded with the fact she was only referring to comedians and that many of her male counterparts acknowledged that women make a greater sacrifice on the road in the world of stand-up. But doesn’t she have a point? We still have a long way to go until women and men are viewed the same in relation to parenting.
The truth is that society still sees it as the women’s role to be the primary parent and make the career sacrifices. Slowly we are moving into a new world where dads are stepping up and staying at home while women go back to work, but we are far from that being a 50/50 situation. When a man gives up his job to stay at home with kids he is showered with praise from the outside world but if a woman does the same thing it’s considered the norm and how it should be.
Unlike men, women are also still questioned about their choice not to become parents. Jennifer Aniston wrote an incredible essay last year after being shamed by the tabloids for being a woman in the public eye and remaining childless: “Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.”
Hear hear Jen and well done Sarah for speaking about the value of following your own path. Every woman has different needs that make them feel fulfilled in life. We may have a long way to go in fight for equality but a great start is supporting our fellow women and supporting their choices, babies, no babies, career, stay at home, working – whatever they may be.