Motherhood and Parenthood

This past weekend there was an article in the NYTimes by Karen Rinaldi called Motherhood Isn’t Sacrifice, It’s Selfishness.  The article had an outpouring of comments online, 1340 last time I looked.  Obviously, this topic shoots straight to the heart.

Perhaps because of the business we are in, we have a lot of friends who are just starting to have children or have kids in their pre-teens even though our kids are young adults already.  I love watching them interact with their children and seeing them as parents as we are not those family friends who come over with our gang in tow but see them socially, sans-children.

Parenting is certainly not for the faint of heart.  It isn’t easy to say no to someone you love with your heart and soul, it isn’t easy to set boundaries, teach good behavior, set examples and above all nurture them on their own journies. There is constant bumps in the road, emotional turmoil, never ending days, exhaustion, worry and above all hard work.

It is different for everyone and that is certainly obvious from the slew of comments around the article.  Parenting is a privilege and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.  As a mother, I stopped working at two times during my career and the hardest part was maintaining my own sense of self during those periods.  The importance of keeping that is not only significant to yourself, it is important for your children to see their parent as their own person.  That makes for a good role model as parents are the ultimate and only role models for their child’s early years and if you are lucky, for life.

Of all the things that I have done to date, having children is the best and more rewarding thing I have ever done.  It made me see the world differently, it opened my emotional flood gates that needed to be opened, it gave me a different sense of family, it pushed me to create healthier relationships particularly learning from them as young adults, to be self-reflective and so much more.

I do not see parenting as a sacrifice but an eye-opening experience to teaching, commitment, relationships and above all love.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Lisa Abeyta

    Parenting – like most everything else in life – if full of sacrifice. That does not make it a sacrifice to be a parent. Being a mother has been the greatest joy of my life; it has also been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And even as my children begin adulthood, I am so aware that I am nowhere near done. I think the thing that grated for me in her NYT column was her very public criticism of her mother. Her mother’s generation was different, and if the words her mom used to show support didn’t resonate – maybe the real ahah moment should have been how much our society has changed so that the messiness of motherhood and career and the rest of life is more easily blended and enjoyed.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Agree with you. Everything is transparent these days. We now all knownthqt parenthood is messy yet insanely fantastic

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      I agree about the mother. Maybe the mother was just trying to sympathize. But we don’t really know the whole story, just that little snippet.

  2. CCjudy

    I am not a parent and I am in awe of people who have children. Its a gift from G_d… J

  3. Susan Rubinsky

    Great article in The Times. Complex, nuanced and interesting. Just like life.

  4. pointsnfigures

    Parenting is never easy-even after they leave the nest. Just different. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My business partner is having a baby today or tomorrow. Can’t wait for him to have two.This is where life is definitely tougher for women. Biological clocks tick-along with energy levels and ability to commit to things. I agree with past comments Joanne has made about female entrepreneurs having kids. Have them-but plan for them. You can do both.

  5. Tracey Jackson

    No question for some women – not all, work feeds a need that simply being a parent does not. Yet I wanted to be a mother from the time I was 4. I never set out to do many of the things I’ve done. Though I always knew I would work. I feel out of certain sorts when I m not engaged in work. But I’ve worked throughout what is now 27 years of non stop-parenting. I gave up certain opportunities to be a better parent or let’s say one who could be home every night and work from home if I chose. But it never seemed like a sacrifice it seemed like an obvious choice. But now as they are becoming adults and I look back and if someone said I had to pick one or the other I would take the parenting over whatever success and I have achieved in the workforce. No question. Even at their most difficult, they are love. They are sustenance, they are my heartbeat. Can’t say that about a published book or a movie poster with my name on it. that hangs on a wall. In the end life is a balancing act. But for me my kids have been worth it all

  6. awaldstein

    For the lower middle class immigrant family in NYC, from my mom’s perspective, everything was about family.She loved being a mother but all was in context of the family as everyone–husband, grandfather, kids even–worked towards and lived within that common structure.I agree with your post but just wanted to bring out that less than two generations ago, the majority of immigrants that built this city, were focused on family as the goal and the umbrella of everything they do.Simple but powerful and a simpler time gone by.So fortunate honestly to being brought up in that.

    1. Gotham Gal

      They wanted new lives for their children. They saw a different future from their past that they wanted to give to them.Watching over that to make sure it happened was a full-time job. Different times but perhaps just different goals.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks for this as it has made me reflect.I have a good track record of advising women entrepreneurs and realize that we never speak about this piece of their lives and how it impacts as it does of course their businesses.I am complicit here and need to examine my poise around this.