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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lizz Winstead is a comedian and writer based in New York. She was a co-creator of “The Daily Show.” Her newest book, Lizz Free Or Die: Essays comes out on May 10. Pre-order it here.

I don’t know what the “hardest job in the world” is, but I am in the camp that motherhood is near the top, along with coal miner, President of the United States, and porn theater janitor. Some disagree and have other ideas, like this guy who makes the case that simply being a man qualifies as the hardest.

Now with all of these jobs – yes, even the job of angry white guy — to excel at any of them, you have to possess a specific skill set, combined with a tireless resilience that I simply was not born with.

So I chose to opt out of all of the above, because I know, in no uncertain terms, society would not be a better place if I were doing any of them.

You’re welcome.

Yet with only one of those jobs, motherhood, I am judged about my decision not to pursue it. Instead of saying, “Thank you for realizing you don’t have the selflessness it takes to raise a child,” I am, ironically, often called selfish.

And I resent it.

It seems to me that motherhood is the only job that people seem to confuse having the equipment to do it with having all the skills that go along with being good at it. And it is only a woman’s natural born equipment that seems to be put under such scrutiny. The uterus is the only non-vital organ many think we are inherently born to utilize.

I have never heard anyone declare, “If you are born with a penis, you instinctively want to make children with it.”  Why the double standard? I mean, after all, men alone make one of the, shall we say, ingredients required to make another human.

Of what other job, besides motherhood, do we say, “Just because you can physically do it, do it, we will impose it upon you, regardless of how ill-prepared, incompetent or disinterested you are?

The answer: NONE OF THEM.

  • Excellent!

  • Thank you.
    As a childless by choice woman this column says what I’d like to say… but the people who question my decision, they don’t want to hear it :O

    • SaneJane

      Like you I chose to be childless. When I graduated high school in 1960 females had a pretty specific path laid out for them. Some, not many, went directly to college, some married and got pregnant right away, while others, like myself, got a clerical job which we were only expected to keep until we married and got pregnant. I did the marrying part and already vaguely knew I didn’t have a real desire to have a child. This was blasphemous in those days so I kept it to myself. People asked me constantly when we were going to have children, I lied and gave some excuse for waiting. The invention of “The Pill” make things so much better. In 1979, at age 36, I had my tubes tied and finally admitted to my friends, family and myself that I was rejecting motherhood. People still say what a wonderful mother I would have been but I do not regret my choice.

  • Having children is inherently selfish. Raising a child costs about $100,000 or more– an amount that could save hundreds of lives if donated to charity. So having children means valuing your own reproductive success over hundreds of human lives.

    • TC

      Perfectly put! Very smart insight, never looked at from that point of view!

    • turnipgreens

      Aren’t you glad your mother decided to do that?

      • What is your point, robotic bingo repeater? If my mother didn’t have a miscarriage before me, I would not be here either!

      • ehartsay

        What might be good for me, is not necessarily good for the world.

        And if she did, I wouldn’t exist to care either way….

    • Having children is selfish but this isn’t why. By that logic having anything other than the bare essentials is greedy and selfish but that isn’t true. Having your own children is selfish because there are millions of children without homes or in abusive homes who you could be taking care of instead of bringing another child into this world who if you die will join their ranks. Having children is selfish because that same act could do so much more.

  • TheSkalawag929

    As an American male I wholeheartedly endorse a womans right to choose. I think that it is best when a person chooses to do something of their own free will rather than being trapped into it.

  • Great article!

    When I was asked why I was a member of Medical Students For Choice, I answered that, as a mother, I firmly know how sacred children are, and something that sacred should NEVER be forced on someone as some sort of punishment for an unplanned pregnancy.

  • joyscarbo

    I am a mother and still feel very strongly that women need to have the freedom to make their own reproductive choices.
    Being a working mother was fraught with guilt and regret. I had to work but I regret not being there with my kids as much as I would have liked. All of my kids are doing okay…but I know I could have been a better mother. Doesn’t most moms feel this way?

  • marybeam

    Females are very fortunate today to be able to make a decision that impacts so many humans over a lifetime. I followed the path that was set for me back in the 1950’s, and love all my children dearly but….there were many things I would have done differently if I had thought I had a choice. We were short of money, time and energy with 6 children in 6 years and my children missed many advantages they should have had….