What is with the women of Mad Men? Christina Hendricks just walks into a room, and the women of the world all feel inadequate. January Jones just opens her mouth, and the women of the world want to beat her over the head with a shoe.
Usually it's Jones' character making a bad name for mothers everywhere, but this time it's Jones herself, pregnant with her first child, who has become a shining example of exactly what's wrong with mothers everywhere. They think they're right just BECAUSE they're mothers. Or, as Jones put in an interview with The Sun this week:
Everything seems kind of pointless [if you do not have kids].
Back away ladies. Back away very quickly. Unless you actually agree with her?
I can see how women feel that way. Call me corny, but since giving birth to my daughter, I have trouble remembering the days before her existence. The placenta brain may be playing a role there, but the mushy gushy part of me thinks it has more to do with the effect she's had on my life, that I can't imagine my life without her so to speak. For that matter, being six years into motherhood, I can't imagine doing anything greater with my life than helping her grow into an extraordinary human being. I've been at times loathe to admit it, but I've let motherhood begin to define who I am. Motherhood is by its very nature life building and life affirming. So it's easy to fall into that smug mommy trap, to speak of the child-free with condescending platitudes.
But how often is easy also right? A quick look at some of my child-free friends: one just played a significant role in a Duke University study that could protect millions from the dangers of water contamination caused by natural gas drilling in the United States. Heavy stuff. Another is an adult student who has returned to school to become a nurse. She's working weekends, taking classes, and will one day care for our sick. Important stuff.
I could continue the list, but really, why should I? It should be enough that these women are human beings to prove that their lives aren't "pointless" simply because they've chosen a different path from my own. They are child-FREE, not child-LESS. Case in point: were we moms living pointless lives prior to the birth of our kids? I'd prefer to think I spent two-plus decades being a contributing member of society, not a vessel in flux, waiting to be filled with a fetus.
As mothers, most of us cry out for the ability to be identified as someone other than Little Jimmy's Mom. We hope our kids, our spouses, our friends, our co-workers see us as something more. I've been a mother for nearly six years, but I'm also a writer, a photographer, an active member of my community. In falling into the "pointless" trap like Jones, we aren't just belittling our sisters but ourselves.
If our kids are the whole point of being, then why do we bother to think? To read? To indulge in a hobby? If you think Jones was right, what does that say about your life today?
Image via Getty Images/Scott Kirkland/Stringer