My life didn’t turn out the way I hoped. I’ve downsized my goals exponentially over the years, and at this point my expectations are modest: I want to create stuff, I hope people like it, and I don’t need to make money from it (but if I did, that would be amazing). But the dreamer in me still believes I have a shot at a big career.
I should have been a man. I have an ENTJ personality, I’m an Aries, I have more male personality traits than female, and all I’ve ever cared about was my work. I never wanted to be a wife or mother. My fantasy was to live a gypsy life roaming around the world with a different lover in every city, only married to my art.
But it’s lucky I’m not a man because I seem incapable of making money. As a woman, I’ve always been able to attract men who want to support me, the best one of these being my husband. Dr. G is great at being a man. He excelled at school, became a brilliant doctor, and is a great provider. Making money comes easily to him, and he makes it possible for me to focus on my art despite my lack of financial success.
So being a woman worked out for me after all. But being a mother is a different story. Being a mother means being the primary caretaker, which is a raw deal for an ambitious career woman as myself. There are scenarios where I could outsource most of the caretaking, but that would not be optimal for my child. Studies show that the best primary caretaker for a child (especially in the first year) is the mother, then the father, then a family member, then a nanny. The worst option is daycare, which can lead to recurring illnesses in the child, behavioral problems, and worse outcomes later in life.
I think it’s harmful to tell women they can “have it all.” There are simply not enough hours in the day to have a full-time career and be the primary caretaker. I’m struggling to “have it all” just as an artist. I have so many projects going on (this blog, that blog, poetry, art, music) that I feel like none of them get enough time. I constantly feel guilty that I’m not doing enough, and when I focus on one project I feel like I’m neglecting the others. I’m assuming this is exactly what it feels like to be a mother with a big career.
Being a mother is not just a time suck, it’s an energy suck. Have you ever tried to get work done on no sleep? For me, it’s basically impossible. I have chronic fatigue due to my illness, so most days feel like an uphill battle. Adding a kid to that seems crazy. I’m already overwhelmed taking care of myself and my three dependents: my husband who can provide but doesn’t know how to warm up soup, my dumb dog who keeps eating foreign objects, and my puppy who will forever piss in my house because I don’t have the energy to potty train him effectively.
Having a kid is emotionally draining as well. My head is already so jam-packed with worries that I’m not sure there is room for more. These are just a few of the thoughts swirling around in my head every day:
- If I write this article is anybody going to read it?
- If I share more about my life are people going to hate me?
- Am I ever going to be successful?
- Would it be career suicide to quit Instagram?
- I’m tired, why am I always tired?
- Are we going to be priced out of our city?
- Did I pay the utility bill?
- Do I want to spend an hour in traffic to go to the gym, or should I sit here and watch The Voice?
- Do I look my age? Can I get away with pretending I’m 28?
- Should I get my boobs done?
Life is hard enough as it is. Being a mother means giving up a lot, so you’ve really gotta want it. After years of disappointment with how my life has played out, maybe having a kid would be the highlight. But I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to let go of my dreams.
Continue reading: “I Got Pregnant Twice Last Year”