In an interview for the August issue of Esquire magazine (on newsstands July 8th), the always beautiful and outwardly cheerful Cameron Diaz discusses her new film Sex Tape , her perception of being 40-something, and why she is ‘childless by choice’.
“I like being forty-one,” admitted the actress. “I love it. So much s–it just falls away. Fear, mostly. It’s the best age. That’s when a woman knows how to work things, or she doesn’t care about that anymore. You just stop being afraid. You don’t worry about what men think. You just don’t worry that time registers anything awful.”
Perhaps this acquired fearlessness is why Diaz decided to share the reasons behind her decision to opt out of motherhood. Of course it’s nobody’s business but Diaz’s, but her revelation just might quiet the endless commentary and speculation that come with celebrity status and…motherhood and potential motherhood.
Forget about being a celebrity . If you’ve been pregnant, you know what it’s like to garner attention. Strangers feel compelled to weigh in on your status, your current behavior, and your future behavior. If you are a woman of child bearing age and not pregnant, some people who know you (and some who think they know you—like fans and delusional strangers) will toss out questions related to why, when, where, and how. Suddenly you’re barraged with people, all of whom profess to be experts on conceiving, birthing babies, rearing children, and creating the most significant person on the planet. Diaz tackled the topic head on in her Esquire interview, and she did it brilliantly and confidently.
“It’s so much more work to have children ,” said Diaz. “To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for—I didn’t take that on. That did make things easier for me. A baby— that’s all day, every day for eighteen years.”
As a clinical psychologist, woman, and mother of two children, whom I adore, I admire Cameron Diaz for her honesty and thoughtfulness on this important topic. Making a “childless choice” is a decision and while it may not be, or feel like, “the norm,” it isn’t an abnormal decision. I’ve never met Diaz, but it sounds like she made the right choice for her. Her explanation to Esquire was eloquent and transparent, “Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision. I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That’s just what it is. Doesn’t mean life isn’t sometimes hard. I’m just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me. I’ve done a lot. And I don’t care anymore.”
Diaz appears comfortable with her choices. It’s easy to second guess the roads we take in life, so I’m thrilled to see that Diaz is comfortable with the path she has chosen. And it can’t always be easy when you live in a society where people are quick to label a child-free decision as “selfish” or “self-absorbed.” But I suspect Diaz is neither. Frankly, I think that her careful contemplation makes her a role model for important decision making. She’s carefully weighed the options and made a decision that works for her and doesn’t hurt anyone. Isn’t that an important message all of us should embrace?