Thursday, April 2, 2009

American Idol and Women's Work

When we were living in Africa, we could have gotten satellite tv transmission, but we didn't want to spend the money. So, we asked our family to send us DVDs to watch. As a result, our children know Austin Powers movies by heart...good family viewing, right?!?
Since we've returned to the US, we religiously watch American Idol, particularly with our teenage daughter. I love that bonding and for what it is, you gotta admit, the production value is excellent. This is also our model for the TV show Peter is working on. Good family viewing so that grandma's and dad's will have something to discuss and enjoy together with their tough to please teens.
This year's show, more than previous years' is more about the singing and less about the human interest. But oddly enough, there were more single moms on the show than before-hmmm...
Last night, and I'm hoping I'm not giving anything away, Megan was booted off. Each week, this beautiful, bubbly, sweet tattooed young woman (I think she was only 23!) sang in her odd jazzy unique voice that often times did not work with the song choice (see, I could be a judge!), but she was beautiful and each week she hung on. What I noticed in her and another of the single mom contestants was that they were singing their hearts out but their hearts belong elsewhere. They missed their children. Each week you could see that heartbreak and as a mom, I thought, they are both saying, it's OK (which as Megan's exclamation last night as she heard the news) because she just couldn't wait to get home to her baby.
This is a show and a very well orchestrated show at that, but I believe the emotions of the contestants are genuine. I believe that they are singing for their careers, if not their lives, as is dramatically proclaimed by Ryan Seacrest. And so, I think they all realize what this exposure would mean for them as singers.
And with each of these single moms, I think they couldn't compete - not because they weren't able singers, but because their hearts were somewhere else.
This is the basis of Women's Work and every day I see the sacrifices women make. The importance our children have in our lives keeps us from fulfilling our dreams. Not that it's a bad thing - not that we who struggle with it resent it, at least I hope that's not what we feel - but our lives, values, priorities change with the birth of our children. For many of us, they will always come first.
I applaud the talents so many women possess and empathize with their choices to find a place for those skills within the values of caring for our children. Can Megan still sing? Sure she can. She just won't be doing it right now, away from her child for weeks at a time...

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