I watched a movie the other night called The Last Five Years. It’s an adaptation of a play about a couple remembering their relationship over the last five years and where it all went wrong. The story is filled with great ballads and heartbreaking realities of broken dreams and the toll they take on a young relationship.
Cathy, a young ambitious actress/designer/artist… falls in love with Jamie, a talented writer. Jamie gets discovered early in life, while Cathy struggles to achieve her dreams of making it on the stage. There was a scene in the movie (which you can watch on Netflix) where Cathy (plaid by Anna Kendrick) is dutifully supporting Jamie at a book reading. While smiling and clapping, Cathy is singing to the audience about how she will not be the woman who needs a man to support her and how she will not be the one lost in the background.
“I will not be the girl stuck at home in the ‘burbs
With the baby, the dog and the garden of herbs.
I will not be the girl in the sensible shoes
Pushing burgers and beernuts and missing the clues…
I will not be the girl who requires a man to get by…”
It’s not the life she wants, but unfortunately it’s the life she has right now.
This scene got under my skin. I think there are few young women in today’s society who would feel comfortable not being able to support themselves and not going after dreams so their partner could achieve theirs, but I also don’t think it’s wrong to want to stay at home and raise the family. And I know that the song is not saying stay-at-home moms are terrible and boring, but it does make me feel that by quitting my job and raising a family is somehow giving up my dreams and my life.
This isn’t the only time I’ve heard people comment on how terrible it must be to live the stay at home life but I say that those people just don’t want it. Every woman is different and each should make up their own mind about where they want their life to go. I have dreams and ambitions and I don’t think that by choosing to stay at home, I’m somehow giving those up. But then again, I wonder if I actually took the time to do something I really loved, would I be willing to give it all up to raise my family. I have a job that is interesting and the freedom to do the things I like, but I wouldn’t say I love my job. I’d love to be a full time writer.
Let’s say someone reads my novel and publishes it and I become a bestselling sensation; I still think I would put my family first and choose to stay at home and raise the kids I’ve always wanted, probably because my dreams and ambitions include motherhood. So maybe that’s the difference. I wouldn’t be giving up my dreams because a stay at home life is one of them.
What I really want is for people to stop assuming that a family life in the suburbs is the worst thing a woman can do. Being a mother and raising a family is hard work and without good mothers this would be a very different world. I truly believe that we can do it all! Why does being a mother and wife mean you have to give up your dreams? If that’s what you think than I feel sorry for you.
I have parents that believe I can do anything I want and a husband who encourages me to do the things I love. If you surround yourself with people who encourage you and who want to help you succeed, then you can have everything you want. I wouldn’t give up being a mom for anything or anyone but I also won’t stop writing. Maybe it’s a matter of strength or confidence; I know I can do both so I will. I can have my cake and eat it too and there is nothing wrong with that.
I look forward to the stay at home life and being taken care of by a supportive husband. I won’t be bored or disappointed that I gave up my dreams because that life is one of them. If you don’t like it then I guess that’s fine, but don’t put it down because it’s not the life you want.
You do you and I’ll do me.