Should Women Be More Selfish Mothers?

While doing some searching around when I was writing the post on career vs motherhood, I came across something interesting. I debated about putting this on that post, but decided this could be it’s own topic entirely.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson is known for speaking his mind on various subject matters, but his thoughts on the role of modern women might be one of the most viral. He is sometimes critical of the behavior and priorities of women today. In fact, Peterson recently “quit Twitter” due to the aftermath of shaming a swimsuit model on the cover of Sports Illustrated. So I found it very interesting when I heard him making a particular point in a video discussing women at thirty and the roles they choose in their life.

In this video, if you skip to the 8:14 mark, he begins reviewing a comment he received by a highly creative woman fearful that having kids could be “spiritual suicide.” Peterson then responds by saying, “Well, don’t let it be spiritual suicide.”

Fair enough. Then he says,

“Maybe there’s a certain amount of time you need to take away from the kids so you can pursue your own creative endeavors. Children do not have to devour your life. In fact, if you let them devour your life, then you’ll hate them and mistreat them. So what you want to do is set yourself up so that you can have children and have a life.”

He goes on to explain why this is not only better for you, but it’s better for the children as well.

One could wonder how many women are afraid to have children because they are under the impression that becoming a mom has to devour your life and forever be your only identifier. I believe there are things in society that we see and hear that does seem to give that impressions as well. In a different video also worth watching, Peterson’s daughter, podcaster Mikhaila Peterson, discusses with a guest how women have been lied to about what being a mom is really like, insisting that it’s actually customary for mothers to not be around their children 24/7 because they were so busy.

Regardless, it’s fascinating to hear Dr. Jordan Peterson with this sentiment:

“The trick is, if you’re a highly creative woman, is be disagreeable enough so you can carve yourself out your own space so you don’t come to resent your children.”

“I would say, your best bet is to be a more selfish mother.”

He continues,

“Believe me, I’ve had more clients who were ruined by mothers who were too unselfish than I’ve had clients who were ruined by mothers who were too selfish. You need to be there when the kids need you but you shouldn’t be there any more than what’s necessary.”

Basically, the idea is that you can have kids and still have a life. It’s entirely possible and necessary to continue to pursue your interests and maintain your own unique identity.

What are you thoughts? Do you think moms could stand to be more selfish with their time in order to get a break from parental responsibilities and pursue their own hobbies and interests? What about fathers? Should women call for their husbands/partners to play a more active role in parenting when they are busy or need a break?

Until next time,

Ash Pariseau


  1. I’m honestly kinda shocked to hear this guy say something like this, but I do agree with the idea. Hearing other moms talk about their lifestyle and claiming their their kids are their whole world and how “it’s not about you anymore” doesn’t really help.

  2. I’m not a big fan of Jordan Peterson but I agree with what he’s saying here. Women are afraid of how their lives will chance once they start having children but it doesn’t have to mean you have to stop living your life.

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