I think I get it, but I also think the scare quotes are vital to the use of the word "selfish" here. (And I'm sure you know this better than I.) Often when a woman is told she's being "selfish", the intended message is "you didn't do what I wanted you to do" or "you are not fully self-abnegating".

I could make an argument that art is inherently UNselfish but that's a whole 'nother can o' worms.

Yeah, I sorta think the "selfishness" thing is more of an excuse for bad behavior. People are always using art to excuse bad behavior. (Genuinely bad behavior, not mere disagreement.)

I'm glad you wrote this because I've been thinking a lot lately about how (when Western Civilization is working) women are lauded precisely because they give up their bodies and lives for the care of others. A whole lot of energy has been devoted (since well before I was born) to convincing women that this sacrifice was both too much (arguably) and trivial—think of "only a housewife/mother/homemaker", which is a sentiment that is practically the default these days.

It's an issue for me now because my middle daughter is 18, and she wants that life. She's also an amazing artist and working hard to improve her skills. My hope is she'll be able excel at both.

The thing is: Mom is irreplaceable. Dad is important, for sure—we've seen plenty of damage from absentee dads. But they are a distant second to Mom. (See for more info on that.)

But there is this insanity that emerges where everyone else suddenly becomes helpless if Mom isn't available 24-7. And one of the things she has to do is make everyone a.little more self-sufficient. Children will squawk, but it's vital for them growing up.

Husbands are a different problem. I've seen husbands get positively wounded because their wife takes 90 minutes out of a week to play basketball. But everybody needs a chance to switch up their games, and every husband knows that he himself takes breaks from whatever his "job" is to do something else—and it makes him better at that job. Wives and mothers are no different: If they can step away for a moment, they come back happier and more focused. It's not even subtle.

It's so obvious only a human could miss seeing it.