Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Motherhood - It's Not the Toughest Job in the World

Perhaps you've seen that viral Hallmark Video proclaiming that Motherhood is THE TOUGHEST JOB IN THE WORLD.

If you haven't, save yourself.  It's horrible.  First this company puts out a fake ad for a job they called "Director of Operations."

Then they tricked a bunch of people into a fake interview and told them the job involved working 24/7/365 with no breaks, no sleep, no pay, you can barely sit down and you can only eat when you associate is done eating. Then they tell them millions of people already hold this job....I'm sure you see where this is going.  Moms.

About the only true part of that is the no pay.  And, actually my 6-yo son gave me a dime he found on the ground the other see, I do get pay.

Let's not even mention the moral issue with getting people's hopes up for a fake job so you can trick them into making a sappy video to sell cards.

Even besides that, motherhood isn't that bad, and it's certainly not the toughest job in the world.  I could think of about a billion different jobs that are tougher...things like oh...brain surgeon where one slip of the knife leads to death.  Or the slaves...working outside in the hot sun, slaving over cotton fields.  Or the people who built the Pyramids of Egypt back before they had cranes.  Heck, my job one summer working on a dairy farm milking cows was tougher than this...I had to get up 2:30 AM, every day, clean boatloads of cow poop off the cow's udders and deal with stinky ornery cows in the summer heat.  Or being a grad student, and having to get up at 3:30 AM to drive 25 minutes out to a farm, just so I can wrestle cows to take their blood.  And, let's not mention ultrasounding cow involved long gloves and more poop.  All that is tougher than motherhood.   Sure, motherhood involves dealing with some poop....but not nearly as much or as disgusting as those cows produced.  And, at least my kids love me, the cows couldn't have cared less about me.

I can get plenty of sleep.  Sure, occasionally I have to wake-up in the middle of night to attend to a child, but overall, I am well-rested and get plenty of sleep....even with co-sleeping.  I do plenty of sitting down (the size of my rear ends attest to that).  I can pretty much eat when I want to.

Yes, there is laundry to be done, food to be prepared and children to be attended to, but it's hardly the toughest job in the world.  I mean...I have a dishwasher, a washing machine, a dryer, air conditioning, heat, electric stove.  We even have Netflix....electronic babysitting available 24/7.  It's not like I have to chop firewood and stand over a boiling pot.  Some of my daily duties involve things like taking my kids to park day so they can run around with friends and I can sit around and chat with my friends in the warm sun.  Oooo...that's tough.   Or, sitting on the computer, reading blogs while the baby/toddler nurses...not exactly hard labor.  Last week, I spent a few hours just sitting on the front steps in the sun reading a book while the toddler played in the yard.

The video is meant to make people appreciate their own they will spend money on Hallmark Cards for them this Mother's Day, but ultimately I found the entire thing to be very anti-child and anti-life.  No woman is going to want to have kids if she thinks it is akin to slavery.   No one is going to want to have more than 1 or 2 kids if they think motherhood is so difficult and tiring and lack of sleeping and you can never get a chance to sit down again.  We need to be telling people that motherhood is wonderful, not that it's horrible.  Yes, there are hard parts, but it's not 24/7 slavery.  A baby doesn't ruin your life.  It doesn't take your life away.  A baby enriches your life and makes it so much better, it may be a bit harder, but it is better. You don't lose yourself when you become a mother, you gain yourself.

Yes, motherhood is hard...but  guess is hard. The sooner you can accept that, the better off you will be.  Sometimes I think that a lot of suffering we bring upon ourselves is because we spend so much time kicking our feet and complaining about how hard life is.  We're so used to comfort, soft beds and pilllows, air-conditioned/heated comfort, instanteous food at the touch of a microwave button, pain relief at the pop of a pill.. that we lose all sight of the fact that life is hard. That life is supposed to involve work.  That hard work is GOOD.  That everything isn't supposed to be easy.  We complain when we have to get out of our warm, soft beds in the middle of the night to go into a warm room and attend to a crying child that we forget about the legions of people before us who slept on the cold, hard ground. We moan about poopy diapers and forget about the nurses and doctors who take care infected, pus-filled wounds on a regular basis.

None of this is meant to belittle the work of motherhood. It IS hard, but its not the toughtest job the world as the video claims.  Matt Walsh basically said the same thing, but he's a man, so not actually a mother.  I wanted to put my two a mother (a homeschooling mother even)..out there.  Granted, I don't have special needs children, I can only imagine how much harder that must be.  I'm sure many mothers do have a life much harder than mine.  There are mothers who have to deal with feeding tubes and therapies and wheelchairs and numerous doctor's visits.  There are mothers who have to say goodbye to their children way too soon.  That is tough, very, very tough.

But generally, I don't think *my* life as a mother is all that tough.

Not that I don't want my kids to appreciate me on Mother's Day.  I'll accept a card (chocolate is even better).   But, I don't think my job is all that difficult.  I don't think motherhood is the toughest job in the world.  In fact, I don't think it's a job at all. It's a vocation.  When I'm nursing a baby, or reading stories or answering a million questions, or holding a clingy toddler, or hugging my child, I'm not working, I'm loving.  Yes, there are parts that are work (cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner) but those are acts of love.  I don't do them for pay, I do them because they need to get done and it is an act of love to do them for my family.

Let's not put mothers up on a pedestal.  They don't belong there.  The more we buy into this idea that mothers are these super martyrs that belong up on a pedestral, the more anti-child and anti-life we become. You don't have to be a super-human martyr to be a just have to have the capacity for loving another human being.

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  1. I would be cooking and cleaning up after myself if I didn't have children. There is a lot of 'down time' as the kids get older. I struggle making the best use of this time. But the down time isn't a scheduled down time, it's here and there.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I watched this video yesterday. I felt bad for my reaction, as I am not yet a mother. I LOVE and appreciate my mom. I think her work is never ending, and she is SO hardworking. I don't know what it is like to be a mother yet. However, just as you mentioned , the video could definitely "convince" me to NOT have children. No worries, I hope to have many little ones, but after watching it... its like... IS THAT WORTH IT? I know the answer is YES, I just haven't experienced it yet. Not to mention that yes, this was a gimmick to sell more product not actually about moms.

  3. Some of my thoughts exactly. Was I tired when I had to get up and attend the needs of my child in the middle of the night, many nights? Sure I was tired. But as I went up and held him, I felt privileged that God gave me this child in my life. I privileged that I was given a family to care for. Motherhood is hard sometimes, but that doesn't make it bad. If we look at it with gratitude, it only helps us grow. I would rather grow caring for my family than any other way I can think of. Thank you for your post in the support of family :)

  4. Well-written, Amelia. I love the way you think!

  5. Oops. I guess I'm not logged into gmail right now. That was Stephanie just now... ;)

  6. Thank you, Amelia, for sharing your post at the "Let's Talk Motherhood" link-up!! I agree with you, the video was an utter disappointment. I find it alarming when people look at me in disbelief when I actually talk about how much I love my children and I love being a mom (instead of complaining about all of the struggles and sacrifices). We need to share the joys and beauties of motherhood with others more freely, especially in a culture that is afraid to commit to marriage and family because it might just be too hard. Loved your thoughts and wisdom!! Happy Mother's Day!!


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