The Price of Motherhood

18Jun08

I just read a really interesting article by Alice Walker’s daughter Rebecca here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1021293/How-mothers-fanatical-feminist-views-tore-apart-daughter-The-Color-Purple-author.html

Dear mama Alice thought that motherhood meant enslavement and basically spent more time traveling, writing, teaching and doing anything but being a mother. Since I’ve become a mother, I’ve tried hard not to judge anybody–especially other women who chose to or not to become mothers. Some people should never have children. Period. Just because you have all the right parts doesn’t mean you have the mental ability to rear another human being.

Reading this article definitely portrays another side of a woman I admire greatly. There is a price to be paid for all of this freedom. Feminism aside, there are only so many hours in the day. I think women of my generation (X, I think) have been told over and over again that we can do anything and be anybody we want to be and that is true to some extent. But we can’t do it all at once or have it all at the same time. Unless you can live on 3 hours a night of sleep, you can’t spend the time you need to with your children, cook, clean, manage the house (let’s face it, that hasn’t really changed much), work your full time job, make doctor’s appointments, etc. It just isn’t possible. It is an illusion that we can have it all. Something will suffer.

As a SAHM, I feel undervalued in the eyes of society. I haven’t worked this hard since I taught 9th grade English and yet people look at me funny when I say I’m still at home with my daughter. There are days when I jokingly remind my husband that Lincoln freed the slaves a long time ago; there are days when I feel like I’m drowning in domesticity. Then I strap the babe in her stroller and we take the train into NY to a museum so I can feel sane again.

No matter what it is, you’ve got to put the time in: friendships, motherhood, marriage, blogging. If you don’t pay attention to it and put some effort in, the results can be disastrous. It’s been 4 years and Alice Walker hasn’t even seen her grandson–that’s her flesh and blood! That’s her legacy too, not just her writing. I guess she doesn’t see it that way.

Simone de Beuvoir refused to marry or have children; she didn’t want her art to suffer. I’m glad she didn’t so her children wouldn’t suffer.

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