Thursday, February 2, 2012

Angelina Jolie on the Importance of Being A Parent

Hi guys,
I'm back
Quick explanation for not being here for well over a month: Just didn't feel like blogging.
Quick explanation for suddenly making a comeback: reading Angelina Jolie's statement in the newspaper today morning! I'm sure we all read/heard/saw Angelina Jolie's statement about Everything important in life being related only to parenthood. You haven't? Ok. It's still ok. There, now we all know it, and most of us have probably run the statement in our minds over and over in a loop like a tape in our little heads.

C'mon, you must have asked yourself "Really?? Hmmmm....." at least.

It's great if she feels that way, I mean, great for her kids too!!! It's also fine if there are other women who share her views. As far as they really believe so, deep within their heart and are happy with the way it is.
But damn! Does it put pressure on women like me who don't think so or feel that way.

I have nothing against parenthood. I have nothing against Angelina Jolie. I don't want to be judgemental about anybody coz I hate being judged.

But, honestly, saying just one aspect of life is all-important is, I think, a rather simplistic view of your own life. Can we, women, complex as we are, be defined by just our motherhood/parenthood? I mean why leave the men out...ok we humans are complex creatures, so surely our progeny can't be our only "important' aspect of our life. And honestly I also take offence on behalf of all those people I know who can't have kids for various reasons or have chosen not to. I mean, they all have various aspects of their lives, apart from parenthood, that they are involved in and are happy with, and they are important too.

What irritates me about Miss Jolie is that when SHE says such things the world will sit up and take notice. It only reinforces  a stereotype, what Indian society has been saying all along to its women -- get married, have children, care for them... that's your purpose in life. If you have a career, put it on a backburner; have no interests of your own; self-sacrifice. You interest lies solely in your family. Etc Etc Etc.

No, no don't jump on me yet.
Agreed, our children, our family are important to us. They are  a crucial aspect of our life.
BUT, they are not the be-all and end-all of our universe. An individual can't exist like that. At some point there is an individuality, some aspect of us cut off from our relationship with anyone else except ourselves that needs to exert itself.

I'm not saying every woman must concentrate only on career, or that we must neglect one to uphold another aspect of life. We do some great balancing acts around here and I think we should pat our backs ourselves for that.

But there's a need for all of us to acknowledge that we do have our individuality, that we do sometimes strive to achieve things other than making babies, feeding them, raising them well. That too. But, note it's THAT TOO.

We have aspirations to learn something new, challenge ourself on skills yet to be learnt or master those we already know, learn a new language, a dance, go climb a hill or mountain by ourselves, learn karate....i don't know what else....FOR OURSELVES. Not for our spouses. Not for our parents. Not for our kids. And yes, these things are important too.

You can't nullify all other aspects of life and say all that's important is related to parenthood. The rest is, well, nothing? Doesn't work like that, right? Ok I think I've said too much, all in a rush, a flood of thoughts unleashes...what are you people thinking out there???? I'm sure there are MANY counter-views....


Uma said...

lady, firstly-WELCOME back!!!
you say you were gone for a month? ONLY?
I totally heart this post. You've covered all that can be said on this topic. I haven't heard about that statement, but I so totally hate people who just make statements. Esp. people who know whatever they say can be taken at face value.
Agreed, parenthood is a major aspect..but just one of the many aspects..surely it cant be the only important aspect!

p.s. will you please blog more???

Aparna said...

Hahaha.. I so loved reading this one.. great to see you back in your usual straightforward style :). And it's definitely been more than a month !

No counter views from me for sure :). I'm not one of those moms (if there are any) who can spend their life wrapped up in their children. If I don't "unwrap" now and then I go a bit crazy!

Haripriya said...


You have described the beauty of being balanced in life in a very honest and wonderful manner :)I totally agree with your views. Life offers SOOOO much to everyone. And while raising a child is certainly a divine experience, there is more to life than just being a parent.

Nirvana said...

Hi!! My first time here - but boy am I glad!! You know, it seems the whole world suddenly seems to take motherhood to a new martyrdom level - while it certainly does not need to be that way, does it? Being a mother just adds to the joys in life, honing skills and emotions, right? Fantastic post, and I am tempted to work on the same thoughts some time soon!

Garima said...

I wonder if truly there can be counter argument to this one. I mean, its natural to want more in your life as a person, a wife, a mother, a parents, a worker, a so and so.

Every one would want there individuality! Correct?
I know of a single lady who took pride in being the mother. She counted each milestone, kept track of every little thing and was a mom all the 'freaking' time!

Hmm, I often wonder if she was happy. She seemed happy, but I wonder was it a facade- of perfect happy life?

I know thats me being judgemental, but in my quest to come across other parents, i have not come across any other person, who is happy just 'as is'!

Anonymous said...

Happy parenting ! Nice insight.

Anonymous said...

So very well written and expressed. Ofcourse individuality counts. I read this sentence 3 times -at some point...

So well said. I have never heard it articulated so well. Thank you . I am assured I am not alone. My husband never gets this point ( amongst others !) . He always equates my absence with lack of food, careatking etc instead of feeling the absence of a companion.