This is the third post/article/picture-with-quotes-asking-for-re-posts that I’ve seen like this today. I will not write a counter argument with equal or greater punctuation marks. Someone feeling the need to go out of their way to write or create something like this just makes me frown. It’s not about how many aspects to mothering you can name that make it into a job, or like “real” work, or ways you can add up fictional hours to calculate how much you’d get paid. I see women fighting for defining their roles as hard-workers, calling their days “on the clock” a job, and I wonder if they feel valued at all.
I remember how that feels to hear your old college friend who you haven’t seen in years who just got back from Fiji or wherever they went this time ask you “So…what have you been up to?” while you’re holding a newborn at a Farmer’s Market and afraid someone can smell your armpits. I’ve been there when you shrug, sleep-deprived and dazed, and they say, “Oh, so you’re just doing the mom thing.” I’ve seen the look they give you. And at one time that made me feel horrible because I’d totally lost my identity in this writhing little human’s needs and I wanted my old self back more than anything. But that was okay. I know that now.
Maybe it was last year that the Interview for the Hardest Job in the World video went viral. The one that was supposed to empower mothers, or make people without kids call their mom to thank them. Or both. It did neither for me.
Because, don’t call motherhood a job.
A job implies that you expect to be treated professionally, or in a courteous manner. My friend got kicked in the crotch last week by her son. Another one had ice cream shoved in her face. My older daughter, though she means well, has taken to spanking her friends when they’re being funny. Kids, for the most part, will do or say whatever it takes to get a reaction from you-good or bad. And they are total assholes most of the time in that. This is a hundred times worse than the Jim and Dwight feud in “The Office.”
A job also means you should go into it with a list of duties that you willingly sign on for and if those change you are able to bring it to someone’s attention and reevaluate your position and possible pay. If you no longer feel you can manage these duties, you have the option to resign. You can look for something else entirely. You could even give it all up and walk away in one big dramatic gesture with colorful words and hand signals. Motherhood does not give you this luxury.
Motherhood wears you down, slowly, in the worst ways imaginable.
Motherhood will ream you until all of the expectations you had of sweet children sitting quietly in the grass for a picnic vanish indefinitely.
Yes, while we all made choices which led us to motherhood, don’t gallivant about judging other ways moms choose to mom. Don’t proclaim you work for your family as a job and get paid in kisses and hugs. And please don’t compare yourself to an ATM machine. I know what these articles or sweet photos with words are trying to do: rationalize your choice to not work and raise your kids instead of going to work and sending them to daycare. Or it gives unappreciated moms a laundry list of things for the “DoYouEvenKNOW” argument. Or it just brings to everyone’s attention that caring for other people is hard.
Yes, it is hard. It is so hard that your friend with that tan from Fiji doesn’t think she can do it. But you can. Not only that, you’re fuckin’ rockin’ it.
Comparisons to jobs or lists of duties or what you’d probably get paid if you got all the monies need not apply here. “Mom” is, in and of itself, a word that carries its own hefty, magnificent, glorious, wonder-to-behold weight. If someone puts the word “just” in front of it, pat their shoulder, maybe bless their heart, and ask them how their flight was. People always have lots to say about that. And then, when your kid, covered in dirt, tugs at your pant leg or skirt to hand you flowers they picked from you know not where, smile, accept the love. The love only you know.