How Felicity Huffman Helps Mothers Find Their Voice
Business Solutions When the award-winning actress began her website “What the Flicka?” she did so in recognition of one of the most defining and valuable aspects of her life: sisterhood.
“I grew up with all my sisters hanging out together in one tiny little bathroom,” Huffman says. “We would all hang out and talk, and sit on the counter, and blow smoke out the window so my mom would never know. And it became this wonderful female community that was about laughing, sharing, learning, confessing and telling our stories.
Continuing the conversation
“And it’s one of the great strengths of my life,” reflects Huffman, now 53. “I decided to start a website where we could all jump on our cyberspace counters and sit down and tell our stories—and hear each other’s stories.”
Huffman particularly felt the need for support when she first became a mother. Lynette Scavo, her character on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” had by that point made her a maternal icon fans responded to. And Huffman appreciated and felt “honored” that parents found solidarity with Lynette.
Still, she found herself feeling overwhelmed with early motherhood, and felt that the only acceptable narrative for a new mother was to talk about the joy and happiness she was feeling, rather than the negative aspects experienced by so many new parents.
“I found mothering to be bewildering, exhausting, boring and lonely, and to add insult to injury I had to keep my experience a secret,” she says. “The first big article that I wrote for "What the Flicka" was about mommy guilt, and I got a response from women in England, women in France, women in Turkey, women in Ireland, all saying, ‘I feel the same way.’"
Huffman feels it’s crucial for women to reach out to each other and help each other through adversity. The site is apolitical, and her main message to other women is one of empowerment.
“Speak up if something feels unfair or unjust. Reach out,” she says. “I hate the question, ‘How do you find a work-life balance?’ Because I don’t find a work-life balance. It’s a question that’s never asked of men. I think a better question is, how are you doubling forward joyously and fully alive? That, I think, is a good question.”