Rich Dad, Poor Mom
Just because I don’t sit in a cubicle or work a 9 to 5 doesn’t mean I don’t work. Telling jokes on stage is only one part of my “job” and being a mom is another part, only the mom portion of my work hasn’t made me a dime yet. What the heck?!
Seriously, if they had a “Most Money Spent On Pony Rides” or Highest Number Of Times Purchased the Wrong Size Socks For Their Child” list, I’m pretty darn sure I’d be on it.
The list made bigger news than usual because a new guy, a Mexican guy nonetheless, has dethroned Bill Gates which has only happened, I believe, 3 times in the last 15 years. Don’t sweat it, Bill. 2010 ain’t over yet.
While discussing this rich people list, my boyfriend began to read a list of the Forbes richest women in the world, pointing out that most of these gals inherited their money. Also, there aren’t any women in the top ten of Richest People In the World list. In fact the richest woman in the world is Christy Walton and she comes in at a paltry 12. The only other woman in the top 25 is Christy’s sister-in-law, Alice Walton, at number 16 and she’s a real winner – killed a 50 year old mother of two while drunk driving in 1989 and was never charged or cited any fines. She was then cited for drunk driving in 1996 and it cost her $925. I should mention she’s an avid horse woman. She should stick to driving horses.
After bickering with my boyfriend about this incongruent comparison of lists – richest men vs richest women – I got to thinking of how there will probably never be women at the top of this list and the women’s list will mostly be filled with heiresses.
They are a myriad reasons why this is the case but the one that stuck out to me is that in order for a woman to achieve that much financial success on her own, she pretty much sacrifices her femininity. She has to become one of the boys and this means, among many things, not having children. Most of the richest women do not have children and many are not married. Although about half of the richest men also inherited their fortunes but Forbes (nor my boyfriend) managed to make a point of it like they did about the women.
So this brings us to the good old, “Can Women Really Have It All” debate. It’s an old one and there are no cut and dry answers, but it seems to be much harder for a woman to make a giant pile of money than it is for a man. Can we just agree on that? The question for me now is, “Should I care?”
I’m a comedian which is a very male dominated field. Both men and women asked me all the time if I was going to quit performing when they found out I was pregnant. When I answered no, they asked if I would take the baby on the road with me! Please! No man comedian who is a father has ever been asked these two questions. It’s just assumed a man will go about progressing in his career field after a child is born whereas a woman will probably quit working or if she’s the breadwinner of her household, like myself, she’ll magically take her child to work with her into smokey comedy clubs and remote college campuses and somehow do shows and watch her child, simultaneously. Sure. I’m just THAT amazing.
But as I bust my single-mom hump and spend every penny I make on child care, rent and insurance (and pony rides), just like most Americans, I can’t help but feel guilty about not being with my daughter more often. I can’t help but wonder if I’m screwing up her life by traveling for a living. How is it that men can work and work and work AND have kids and not sit at their desk or on a plane, wondering if their kid slept through the night or did they poo-poo in the potty this morning? How is it that men manage to have both, both but only have to “do” one? Those silly, smart men with their robot-like emotions.
As I ramble on, I’m not claiming to have the answers to any of these open ended, rhetorical questions and I’m not implying that fathers don’t love their children. And I admit, I’m a little jealous of the heiresses and the men who get everything, but at the end of the day I’m not drinking my life away because boo-hoo, I’m so rich and I can’t take it, I’m glad my daughter actually recognizes me when I come home from work. I have accepted my role as working mom and I’m proud to be able to put food on the table for my daughter and me, but it can be hard. Super duper hard. At this point, I won’t be leaving a fat trust fund for my daughter but at least I can say I gained my child’s love the old fashioned way. I earned it.