One of the cool things I've been doing since I turned 40 has been singing in a band. Our band plays classic rock songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s; as a result, I've become enamored with groundbreaking rock chicks like Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, and Stevie Nicks. Back in the day, these talented women had to make tough choices to succeed in a music industry dominated by men.
For Stevie Nicks, this meant taking a pass on motherhood. "I made a conscious decision that I was not going to have children. I didn't want others raising them, and looking after them myself would get in the way of being a musician and writer."
Whoa - Stevie Nicks clearly viewed committed relationships as roadblocks to reaching her full potential. Isn't this kind of anti-feminist? Come on, Stevie, I know you're pushing 60, but even in your day, women could be both mothers and artists, lovers and writers. It just takes hard work, resourcefulness, and a little compromise.
But Stevie Nicks didn't want to make compromises - instead, she made a choice. The radical thing about her choice was that she put the highest value on her own creativity and self-expression.
Not all the early rockers made the same decision. Chrissie Hynde has two daughters; even the the androgynous Patti Smith has a couple kids. Did their art suffer by becoming mothers? Well...maybe. Patti Smith was quoted as saying, "If I have any regrets, I could say that I'm sorry I wasn't a better writer or a better singer."
Stevie wouldn't change a thing. Recently, when asked if she regretted not having children, she answered, "Would I really want to give up all those years of singing? Would I just have been not that great a mom and not that great a singer because I tried to do both?"
I put my career on hold to stay home with my kids, so I definitely didn't follow Stevie Nick's path. Still, I admire (and maybe even envy) her for prioritizing her life as an artist and being brave enough to live on her own terms.