Oprah Winfrey convened a group of her “accomplished women friends” so she could ask them about their lives, specifically middle-aged life. She had a number of questions, including: What are the best and worst things about being a woman?
One said something Oprah considered profound:
The best and worst things about being a woman are the same: the way we feel drawn to caring for others, and the way this impulse becomes so much larger and stronger and more consuming once we have children… Motherhood brings with it a clear and compelling awareness of human vulnerability, and a sense of having been charged with the care of others. The dream that most women have—of having children someday, of being at the center of a family—is one of the most powerful impulses in the world, yet it is also a destroyer of dreams, of ambition, and that fact is a hard and sometimes bitter truth about being female.
I am not qualified to judge this remark. But I have not often heard women sound bitter about motherhood, or feel it has destroyed their dreams. Rather, they know that you can’t do everything in life, and motherhood is their choice. I dare say that there are a good number of men who would rather log a lot more time with their kids.
It’s also possible that this woman is gnashing her teeth because she is feeling the daily pressure of motherhood. Whereas once your family is launched into the world you can take a longer (magical?) view. Then you imagine what your life would have been like without having children, and you’re very happy with your choice.
(And no, the picture is not about middle age. But it is about some of the good and bad things about being a woman. And it is SUCH a great photo.)