In Defense of Ben AffleckBeth Anne Ballance
There’s been a lot of hoopla surrounding a recent interview that Ben Affleck gave about his new movie, Argo, and his role as a family man.
The interview caused a few shockwaves throughout the interwebs, mostly the “mommy blogs,” because Ben quotes this bad boy:
Always, always. I’m not very present in the rest of my life. My wife’s very patient. She does everything. If I have time, I try to spend time with the kids, even if just to be a physical presence, the bath, whatever. But my mind’s always going, “How are we going to light that shot tomorrow? What’s the master shot for that scene? Is there even going to be a master?” Just ruminating endlessly. Because for me—I wish it was discipline or being a great artist. But it’s just anxiety.
…and it reads a little callous and cold to some mommas.
But in truth, I 100% understand what Mr. Affleck is saying.
He’s saying that he feels torn, always balancing, always coming up a little short on the other end. Just like every working parent that I know.
Let’s take the past few weeks, where I’ve had two huge projects for work on top of my usual work load. They are projects that I am totally into, ridiculously excited for, that spark my creativity and eagerness to learn. It’s 5:15pm before I look up at the clock and I gasp because I’ve been so entranced in the project that I lost track of time. I still need another 30 minutes but I need to pick up Harrison and oh, how I have missed him that day, even when I’m wiping charcoal off my fingers. Okay. I’m putting the project down and putting on my momma hat.
I get home and supper is on the stove and Harry asks me to “play cars.” I’m down on the floor and my mind races to the project and ZAM! I have a great idea, so I grab my sketchbook and make a note, which leads to another note and another idea while Harrison plays at my feet. We’re eating supper and I bounce ideas off my husband in between bites and asking Harrison how his day was at school. I’m bathing the kiddo and laying out his pajamas and my mind drifts to work because rubber ducks just aren’t that fun unless I’m the one in the tub. Right now my mind is consumed with this job that puts food on the table and will hopefully provide health insurance and a chance for us to grow our family.
Both my child and my work are top priorities and I am always feeling torn. But providing for Harrison’s future and greater well-being is what I’ve signed up for as a parent and I’m doing it the only way I know how. What Ben Affleck says to me is that he feels the same way – that as a male, as a millionaire, as a celebrity, he feels exactly the same way this middle-class momma in the South feels on a daily basis.
And that’s comforting to hear because we’re all just looking to know that we’re doing the best we can, that we’re not alone.
More from BA:
Toddler car seat safety. aka SUPER IMPORTANT TO READ.