I wasn't going to do this. I wasn't going to turn my blog into a hot bed of controversial commentary on social and political issues because I only wanted it to be a fun, light-hearted account of my life, including all my beloved pets, my love of nature and gardening, maybe some stories involving my quirky but lovable husband, and my talented, funny & smart, all-grown-up daughter or other family members. But I have to admit, I'm aggravated and feel the need to vent. I read a quote yesterday from Jennifer Aniston who is currently promoting her new movie "The Baster." For those of you who aren't familiar with the storyline, Aniston plays a 40-something woman who decides that although still single, she wants to have a baby. The comment she made was as follows:
"Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have a child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing....that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you waited too long."
Sigh...Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer. Where do I begin? As someone who was a single mother for 13 years, I can tell you that her statement, though probably well-meaning, is just ignorant. What I think bothers me the most about it is the implication that in this day and age, fathers are simply unnecessary and obsolete. Furthermore, it demeans the importance of them in a child's life. Women should be able to have whatever they want, whenever they want it, right? (I think I hear Helen Reddy singing "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" in the background right now) Listen, I understand that things like death and divorce happen, and I would never (Repeat; never-EVER!) for a fraction of a second advocate that any woman stay in an abusive or miserably unhappy relationship for the sake of the kids. So of course its not always possible for a family to consist of a mother AND a father. HOWEVER, do you think its fair to short change that new little human being you've brought into this world of a father, simply because you couldn't get the ticking sound of your biological clock out of your ears - or maybe you're bored with the career thing and need a new hobby and a baby sounds like just the ticket? How totally selfish. This is also a particularly ignorant statement coming from a woman who has NO children, and therefore, NO idea what single parenting even feels like. For one thing, its lonely. A very lonely place, in fact. So many times you want a partner to share in the fun times with your kids, along with the tough times (teenage years are a killer!) ; someone to talk to about everything going on in his /her life at the end of the day ...or to help them with their homework, which is frankly, over your head(!)....or be your relief driver in that unpaid taxi business you now seem to be running...or hand you the tooth picks for your eyes or strong black coffee the next day when you've been up all night with them, nursing their ear infection/cough/fever/nightmares, etc...or someone to hold your hand after you've given them the car keys for the first time because you're just so scared of what could happen. But that person isn't there to share all that with you and that's very tough. Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not saying that a single woman can't raise a child (or children) alone. They do it everyday and do an incredible job. In fact, they're unsung heroes in my book. And although I personally made tons of mistakes along the way, my daughter and I have a great relationship. Sure, we still have minor disagreements from time to time (just no escaping that red-headed Irish temper!), and in some ways, we're exact opposites. But as I get older, she's more like a girlfriend to me now and we laugh constantly, probably because we share the same cynical, sarcastic sense of humor. But although we both made it through a single parent home without too many scars, would I encourage a woman to do this simply because she's nearing the point of no return in terms of age, and can financially afford to raise a child on her own, or because some Hollywood actress (whose not even a mother) gives you the thumbs up and thinks its a great idea? Get real, honey.