In a series of tweets the other day, comedian Sarah Silverman said she sacrificed motherhood in favor of a career.
As a comic always working & on the road I have had to decide between motherhood & living my fullest life & I chose the latter.
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) February 28, 2017
She continued: “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.”
Moms accused her of “mother-shaming” by implying that it’s impossible to have a fulfilling career while being a good parent; dads took offense at her insinuation that fatherhood is a part-time gig.
“Being away from your kid is a sacrifice no matter what your gender. As a dad I don’t think of fatherhood so casually,” tweeted comedian Hal Sparks.
This social-media brouhaha will blow over, as they all do, but the problem runs deeper: Why do we assume that our truths apply to everyone? Not all dads are comfortable being absentee “fun dads”; not all women want to be mothers.
Sarah Silverman wasn’t saying that working moms are by default bad moms. She was saying that parenting is the wrong choice for her. Nobody’s life is perfect, and everyone’s life is different. Hers doesn’t have room for biological kids. So?
It would be nice, though, if she’d acknowledged that dads sacrifice, too. (Thanks, Hal Sparks!) Plenty of dads don’t want to travel. Plenty of dads would rather sit in ratty PJs playing Legos and eating Cocoa Krispies with their kid instead of working. Same with moms.
Inevitably, these parenting debates always flare up when the masses turn one person’s opinion into a judgment call. Good for Sarah Silverman for owning her choice and the ensuing backlash. She put her career first because she knew she couldn’t be the kind of mom she wanted to be while still working as a comedian. I know plenty of people who feel like they can’t do both well all the time (me included). Maybe they’re OK with feeling this tension. Some people aren’t. Better to know it and live with it instead of becoming a parent due to societal pressures instead of actual desire.
What do you think?