Actress and mom Elizabeth Banks announced she is pulling out of directing the movie Pitch Perfect 3 because she wants to put being a mom first. And because I find balancing work and motherhood extremely challenging myself, she is pretty much my new hero.
The mother of two sons—Felix, age 5, and Magnus, age 3--both of whom she welcomed via surrogate, explained her choice during the PGA Produced By Conference, saying, "It was all timing."
Since Banks and her team wanted to make the best movie possible (she directed the second movie), and it took more time than she'd anticipated to develop the new story line, the release date for the film was bumped. Banks went on to explain, "We have been in development and it took longer than we thought, and I needed to shoot another movie in the summer. If we pushed into fall it bumped up against my parental responsibilities, which made me feel uncomfortable."
Whether you agree with her choice, you have to admire Banks' honesty and decisiveness. I find it's hard to just be real about why you can't commit to something professionally. I'd like to say, "I want to go and watch my daughter's soccer game this evening." But sometimes I worry about being judged, or even penalized, for not putting work first.
I also waffle a lot back and forth when it comes to how to manage my schedule. I love how Banks took charge of her work/life balance, no matter how hard it may have been. Because if she's like me, she's going to wonder what might have been had she just said "yes" to directing the movie.
But it isn't directing a film, or any job, really, that you will remember most when you are 90 years old. You'll remember the time you spent with your kids, watching that soccer game, or going for that impromptu bike ride, or reading just one more story before bed. Those are the moments to cherish for a lifetime, and should ultimately guide every working parent as they try to navigate balancing work with family time.
You go, Elizabeth!
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.