Parents magazine recently conducted a poll. One of the questions asked respondents to agree or disagree with this sentence: “There’s no tougher job than being a mom.” 92 percent of the mothers polled agreed with that statement. Any time a mother agrees with a statement like that, she is opening herself up to ridicule.
There are so many “mom” stereotypes that exist, I really don’t think we could disregard them long enough to look at a survey like this objectively. Anytime you say anything is the “toughest” job you are opening yourself up to disagreement, right? Why is it so much worse when it’s motherhood we’re talking about? I don’t know for sure – but I have a theory.
We haven’t come a long way, baby. That’s my theory. The image of the smiling mother, seamlessly and effortlessly keeping a happy, spotless home is burnt so vividly into our psyches – whether we realize it or not. No one really believes motherhood is a hard job – unless they’ve done it.
Work is a pain in the ass. Who doesn’t like to play hooky? Who doesn’t feel like they’re getting away with something or having some kind of mini-vacation when they’re able to skip out of work for a day and stay in the comfort of home? The thing is, the comfort of home isn’t all that comfortable when you’re the one taking care of it all. It can be a monotonous and tiring progression of tasks and thankless chores. Taking care of kids and a household is hard work – add a full time job to that as well, and it becomes next-to-impossible. But don’t ever admit it if you’re a mom, because this shit-storm will soon come:
It was your decision!
Nobody told you to have kids!
Try answering to the CEO I answer to and then tell me how hard your job is!
Then there will be the requisite references to staying in your pajamas and wine-drinking.
The woman’s movement has given us a voice so we don’t have to suffer in silence any longer, but you wouldn’t know it if you’ve heard the avalanche of insults that come if we actually open our mouths and admit that motherhood is a really fucking hard job.
I’m not saying it’s the hardest job. I don’t have a goddamn clue what the hardest job is. I’ve only been a bartender, a waitress, a photographer, a writer, and editor and a art teacher. It’s definitely the hardest of any of those jobs, in my opinion. Being a sherpa is probably way harder. So is re-tarring highways in the summer in Arizona, I bet.
The point is – don’t ever use a superlative adjective when describing the level of difficulty of your job when you’re a mom. It won’t go over well.