I hope I was not the only one watched Beverly’s Full House (if I was, don’t judge me—my husband and I always enjoy laughing at other people’s foolishness). But if you did NOT take the time out of your busy schedule to watch it, it is a very telling look at the thin line women walk between being parents and having careers.
So, there’s Beverly, her daughter Anansa and her granddaughter (the men are just there for comedic effect). What you see is: Anansa, now an adult, whining and pining for love that she never received from her supermodel mom; and Beverly, a former supermodel who clearly has no idea how deeply her choices affected her daughter’s emotional wellbeing. Beverly’s clueless sincerity shows as she tells her daughter, “I’m trying to build a business that you will have when I am gone.”
I am totally not bagging on Beverly—Mothers everywhere have had to make the choice to be mother and try to make up for father; to provide and protect their children in the place of an absent man. This necessity makes you have to close off a lot of the natural nurturing that can get in the way of provision. It makes you turn off your panic as you feed your child that 2nd dose of children’s Tylenol in hopes that the school won’t call you to pick her up. It makes you yell at your kids when you want to weep and hug them. It makes you swallow your shame at having to give your 8 or 9 year old a key to let themselves in. It makes you ashamed when you pick your kid up 30 minutes late…again.
So I absolutely understand the choice.
What I wondered about is if there is a way to explain to a child (who simply wants his/her mommy) all the reasons why you can’t be there for them (like his/her friends’ moms). I wonder if mothers who sacrifice daily can ever be absolved of the wrongdoing associated with having to do what they need to do to survive and make lives for themselves and their children.
I wondered, as I watched Beverly Johnson, Sweetie Pies, how much we give up when we pursue the career over the child; the money over mothering. Even with the best of intentions, can any of us ever really respond to the questions that will surely come after they’ve grown up and begin to have families of their own?
Beverly definitely hasn’t found the words yet—at least none that her daughter is willing to accept. I can only pray that my own children can see how much I love them and the hard choices that I have made to make life what it is for them both.