When it comes to any kind of success, the question to ask oneself is: How bad do you want it? With any type of creative success especially, one has to want it very badly, because the competition is fierce. Sure, if you look like Megan Fox, chances are you’ll get work in the entertainment industry, but truth is most of us resemble Zach Galifianakis, from The Hangover movies instead.
Mega-stars and bestselling authors have admitted to wanting success more than anything else in their lives—more than their families (evident by those who are on their third or fourth divorce), more than upholding their morals (casting couch, anyone?), more than success in any other area.
I don’t believe women can have it all, like the glossy magazines suggest. Unless you’re taking your child’s Adderall, something will suffer. My stepmother’s sister works as a lawyer in a “prestigious” firm. She recently had a baby. Everyone seems to think she can work from home a few days a week and everything will be fine. Seriously? Unless she gave birth to a Stepford baby, their full-time nanny will be mostly raising that child. You’ll never convince me she’ll be able to make partner in her firm AND be an effective full-time mother.
My stepmom couldn’t understand why I wasn’t willing to commute for a higher-paying job. I told her I didn’t want strangers raising my son. What’s the point of having a child if other people get to see him more than I do? Now granted, she was a stay-at-home mom for both her kids. She never had to make the dreaded Money vs. Welfare of my child decision, so as I always say, “Until you walk a mile in my shoes, shut the duck up.” Besides, who can take advice from someone who has NEVER made Mac n’ Cheese out of a box?
I find myself having to make difficult choices constantly with regard to my writing career. Writing is a full-time job. So is raising a child. Serious decisions have to made, like: I’m in the middle of my work-in-progress, words are finally flowing, my son has had only Cheerios for breakfast. It’s now 2 pm. What do I do?
Okay, so that’s a no-brainer. I haul my butt up and feed him, of course. Ah, but what do I make him? Something microwavable or chicken soup from scratch, like my stay-at-home mom friend does? You got it. And if I don’t have something microwavable, anything from a can will do, as well.
Scenario # 2: I’m trying to figure out something on the computer, like how to separate my Facebook personal page from my fan page. I’ve already spent sixteen hours on it, but I’m stubborn, so I’m willing to spend sixteen more. I hear shouts from my son’s room, obscenities being yelled. My son and his friend are getting into it over who knows what? It sounds like it’s escalating to something physical. What do I do?
Let them duke it out, muttering, “boys will be boys” under my breath, while continuing to read yet another post of how easy it is to do what I’ve been trying to figure out for hours and hours.
I’ll admit that sometimes my maternal skills are crappy. I spend more time on the computer than I do making homemade Play-Doh, or taking my son to the park. More often than not, my writing and all that’s involved with it takes precedence in my life. Does that make me a bad mother? I’m not satisfied being just a mother. And while I admire mothers who can find fulfillment in, well, mothering—who embrace and commit to it 100%, I am not one of them.
I try to be both—mother and writer. At times I fail; sometimes I do a half-assed job at each. At least I’m the one picking up my son from school and helping him with his homework, rather than a day care or a grandparent. With any luck, the only gripe he’ll have about me in future therapy sessions will be the fact that I was a crappy cook.