If Motherhood Is the ‘Toughest Job’ You’re Doing It Wrong

upside downBy now you’ve probably seen the viral video of folks interviewing for the “toughest job in America.” Spoiler alert: it’s a stunt put together by an advertising agency meant to sell cards for Mother’s Day. Yes, they duped real people into interviewing for a job that doesn’t exist just to make a point about how we should all appreciate our mothers more.

As a mother, I suppose I should appreciate the sentiment. But I’m having a hard time seeing this video as anything more than a cheesy publicity stunt that — when you get down to it — is more than a little insulting to us all. It’s insulting to people who don’t have moms or who don’t have good moms. It’s insulting to dads. It’s insulting to the poor folks who got dressed that morning and thought they were interviewing for an actual job that they probably need (I haven’t read anything yet about these being paid actors — if they are, fine … if not, my complaint stands).

And it’s insulting to those folks who get up every day and go to real jobs where the work is hard and the pay pisspoor.

Am I saying motherhood isn’t tough? No way. Absolutely not.

Being a mom is one of the hardest things I do on a daily basis. But it’s not my job.

It’s not my job because I don’t get paid.

It’s not my job because I chose to be a mother for the right reasons.

You don’t become a mother to put food on the table. You don’t become a mother to pay the mortgage.

You become a mother because you love children. You become a mother because you want your family line to continue. You become a mother to give something to someone else. You become a mother to open your heart. You become a mother for more reasons than I could list in one blog post … but none of them are financial.

More From Inside Out: Stop Calling Me Mommy For Crissakes!

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. If you’re doing this whole parenting thing right.

I know I actively sought out motherhood, putting myself in this position and deciding that one of the things I wanted to do as a human being was to raise a person who had a little bit of my DNA and a little bit of my husband’s.

Is raising my daughter difficult? At times, yes. Like most parents, I’ve dealt with sleepless night after sleepless night. I’ve changed diapers that made me want to vomit. I’ve battled postpartum depression and the mind-numbing boredom of re-reading the same book over and over and over again until a child falls asleep.

Parenting is not all roses and clover.

But anyone who does their homework knows that going in. We know that we’re going to be worried about paying for diapers and braces. We know that we’re turning our homes over to small goblins who make off with our sanity and our knicknacks. We know that there will be shoe-tying to teach and potty training to tackle.

We know going in that motherhood, that fatherhood, is going to be a challenge. It should be. You’re raising a person; not baking a cake. There is no recipe, and the parenting books are rough guidelines — at best.

But still, we decide to do it. Even those who say they became parents “accidentally,” have to admit that they knew when they decided to proceed with the pregnancy that this was not going to be a walk in the park. They may not have been able to wrap their heads ’round the depth and breadth of what they were taking on — and let’s face it, even those of us who “plan” our pregnancies never fully grasp the magnitude of the decision — but there’s no mistaking that 18 years of trying to keep someone alive is going to be tough.

And yet, all that aside, we do it.

We charge on into parenting, some of us many times over.

We agree to take on this difficult task because of the infinite rewards.

And then, then we seem to lose our way. We expect people to pat us on the back and tell us what a marvelous thing we’re doing, how selfless we are, how hard we have it. We (the editorial we, that is) even go so far as comparing our decision, our life’s path to a “job.” We try to put this position we’ve created for our own reward as something on par with ditch digging or military service, with being a lumberjack or an ice road trucker.

When was the last time being a mother put you in mortal danger? The last time it forced you to work outdoors in blazing heat or freezing cold for 12-hour spans? Put you on another continent, far away from your family for months on end?

That’s what happens to folks in  several of the very real jobs I mentioned above.

Tough, isn’t it?

Tough … jobs. Jobs these folks do not because they love being in mortal danger or love being away from their families or love extreme conditions. Jobs these folks do perhaps because of a sense of duty, perhaps because there’s a passion involved, but at the end of the day, jobs they do because that’s how they pay the bills. They do those jobs the reason any of us do a job … because nothing in this world is free, because working enables us to make the money to pursue our passions.

Passions like raising kids.

Here’s my advice — if you’re thinking about taking a job as a mother, you might want to find another profession. If you just want to open your heart to a little one and give them a piece of you because you have plenty to go around … then, and only then, should you consider motherhood.

What do you think of the “job” of motherhood? Why did YOU become a parent?

 

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