Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Natalie Portman & mommy wars

The conversation happened four years ago, but I still remember it vividly.

I was having dinner with three female friends. Somehow, motherhood entered the conversation. My friends, all of whom were working at the time, agreed motherhood is the greatest job of all.

"Don't you think so, Sonya?" someone asked.

I said no. My friends were briefly silent. Then, they asked me to explain my answer.

"Well, I'd really like to work at a bigger newspaper one day," I stammered. "And maybe write some young-adult novels."

We ate our Thai food to avoid a greater debate.

Fans of Sunday's Oscars watched best actress Natalie Portman call motherhood "the most important role of my life."

Now, some people are questioning the line. Check out this excerpt from a Salon.com essay:

Why, at the pinnacle of one's professional career, would a person feel the need to undercut it by announcing that there's something else even more important? Even if you feel that way, why downplay your achievement?

Why compare the two, as if a grueling acting role and being a parent were somehow in competition? And remind me -- when was the last time a male star gave an acceptance speech calling fatherhood his biggest role?

Share your thoughts, please.