When women reach a certain age and achieve modest success after sacrificing time, money, and their lives to questionable ends, they start to wonder whether they made the right choices. The body sags, the gigs dry up, the “success” is emptier than once thought.
Sarah Silverman is one of these women.
A few months back, Jonah Hill mercilessly roasted Sarah about her age and being single. She admitted later that the jokes stung:
Sarah Silverman has an idea of what she’s lost and fears that she has indeed missed something important and so she rationalizes and says things like this:
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
Sarah Silverman cannot fathom living a full life and being a mother. She at once justifies her own decisions by deriding the lives of women who chose to be mothers.
The moms have the last laugh, though. They know the truth: it is possible to live a full life and be a mother.
For many mothers this is also a truth: life before motherhood felt full but that’s only because a woman without children doesn’t know what life with children is like. Life with children is new again and more diverse and more nuanced and it stretches a woman and makes her wiser, more patient, more self-aware, more efficient. A mother is born when a child is born and she is a whole new thing.
Then, the child grows up and to a mother’s delight she has friends and companions and more love than she thought possible. If she’s blessed with grandchildren, the love multiplies and grows again. Her life, far from limited, is fuller and renewed with each generation.
Sarah Silverman cannot dare to think these thoughts. She has to imagine that she’s made a good choice; a better choice. Like other women her age, she looks into the mirror and sees the wrinkles, the time. It goes so quickly. What does she have to show for it? A bigger house? A better bank account?
More importantly, with whom does she share her blessings, her experiences, her life? Like a good joke, sometimes the payoff comes after a long and winding story. That’s what motherhood is–the winding of a story with your own. The payoff comes when you least expect it.
Somewhere deep inside, Sarah Silverman doubts her decisions otherwise she’d feel no need to justify them. She is right to doubt them.
Motherhood and career are not mutually exclusive. The joys of motherhood make the joys of career pale in comparison.
Don’t tell Sarah, though. She’s already filled with regret.