Comments on If Shakespeare Had a Mom by atomickristin in reply to North

Yes that's one of the criticisms of Woolf's original essay - that working class people and minorities were at so much greater a disadvantage that looking at it through our lens in the here and now, it almost seems a bit self-indulgent for a wealthy woman to have written it.

I agree I suspect that upper class women had a fair bit of leisure time for creative pursuits (based on my understanding of the times) and lower class women may have had more freedom than we suspect.

Someone pointed that out to me on Twitter - everyone deserves time for self-care regardless of whether or not they're creative and I absolutely agree. There is definitely an air of classism and intellectual superiority about the essay (hopefully not present in mine, but it may be) that is offputting.

I spend 40 hours a week getting paid to help people conceive. It's not as easy as many people think. And parenting books are a juggernaut industry unto themselves. IDK I definitely felt a negative attitude from leftist friends when I had a baby at 21. Much more available in Christian circles at that point in time.

That has also been my experience although that may have changed some since I was that leftist. Having kids was decidedly outre when I was 18-22ish among leftists.

The level of commitment I have for writing surpasses the level of commitment my husband has for driving a garbage truck, though. While there are certainly workaholics in any number of fields people have passions and then they have careers and for most creative people the art is a passion that can flare out of control, while a career is easier to keep in perspective IMO.

That was her point really - that men have the luxury of using "art" to excuse all manner of bad behavior and yet women feel we can't even cut a few corners here and there because we're so worried we're being too "selfish". But ~some~ selfishness is required to make art at all.

It's interesting you say this because I've often rolled my eyes against the industry of art-for-profit rather than the love of it, which has given us the endless streams of rebooted movies and "Robert Ludlum" books that came out a decade after the guy had died. Maybe it's some sort of natural cycle - poor artists who are motivated from love of craft slowly becoming a guild gatekept by a chosen few who were motivated more for profit and now we're seeing the pendulum swing the other way again.

Troubadors, as you say. Thanks for commenting!

Yes it's very strange how mixed the messages are.

I am coming to realize that people embrace mixed messages because it always gives them the higher ground. I've been criticized for not being a good enough homemaker and not working outside the home by the very same people in the exact same conversation. It's a tactic people use to control each other, and unfortunately a lot of women are really susceptible to that. WE seem to think that if we get it "right" no one will ever criticize us, and it's an important step towards adulthood to finally learn that some people just like to criticize for their own reasons and will find any basis on which to do it.

It's very interesting about children and learning self-sufficiency. My mom worked and was super busy and I did more than my fair share of the chores growing up. It really did help me to learn skills I needed to be a successful adult. My older two sons, while I did give them some chores and stuff, it was nothing like what I had, and as adults they aren't anywhere near as capable of taking care of their home (or maybe they're just unwilling). Now, is it because I had so much responsibility? IDK but I don't feel too awfully bad about making my younger three take on more chores than their big brothers had.

There's a version of the Legend of the Selkie where a man marries a woman from the sea, and she can stay on land and be human but had to go back into the water once a year to renew herself. One year the husband keeps putting her off and putting her off until she finally starts to disintegrate and only then he realized what he was doing to her. Women need some time to themselves that isn't being scheduled constantly by the needs of other people.

This is why I added the footnote. It sucks to be a guy and to hear that all women's problems are due to men, even the problems that both men and women both experience (like struggling to earn a living and not being able to indulge your creative urges to the fullest.) And men do tons of amazing and self-sacrificing things for the greater good of others all the time, many of which have been incredibly devalued/belittled.

I will quibble with you about the "voyage of sexual discovery" because while there are a few stories like Stella, they exist alongside dozens, if not hundreds of similar tales in which a middle aged man is renewed and rejuvenated by a sexual experience. I still think our society is much harder on older women with younger men than the other way around too.

Homer Simpson voice: "bacon...ughlahlgjalhlahghh"

I agree, and used the "Virginia" as a cohesive choice and not because I ~really~ thought she was deliberately leaving that out. I hope she forgives me.

The thing is, in a good many pieces of this nature, cultural/economic forces that affect both men and women are put forth as something men are doing TO women, deliberately and maliciously and I don't think that's entirely fair.

I didn't want to do that in this piece, and so I added the footnote to point that out.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

We had our first two at 21 and 25. Then years later I had baby fever and we had the three little ones. So our oldest is 27 and our youngest is almost 7. I don't regret it (and I personally have enjoyed parenting a lot more in many ways this second time around, since we're both better equipped emotionally) but it does eat into the time. I feel much more urgency now with writing than I did when my older two were young, and than I did when we were deciding to add the younger three. I would still make the same decisions, but this urgency I feel now wasn't present when I was making them, if that makes sense.

thank you! that's awesome!

Yes, I'm ~maybe~ getting to that point now and can assign chores and stuff. Thanks for reading!

Thank you for reading! So glad you liked it.

Or his wife did it. :)

I'm friends with some people who sell ebooks via Amazon; they're making a run at it. But I do tend to agree with you that in the modern world it's not a career choice many will be able to make a living at.