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Motherhood is a Second Job–With No Promotions

January 25, 2012

“Lots of mothers prefer to think of their role as “mom” — separate from that sometimes-accompanying role of “homemaker” — as a career; even a calling, and they want it taken seriously” Meagan Francis, Babble.com

I have been around children and  their parents for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for the last  3 months and I have heard and seen some alarming things (such as a newly minted mom describing the placenta of her 3 day old infant as ‘a jelly-like brain the size of my baby’, which she detailed after recounting the unspeakable things that happened to her nether regions) as well as husbands who verbally abused their wives in the parking lot, only to kiss her and act lovingly in public view.

One of the things I noticed consistently is that motherhood is really just another job. Chauffering toddlers to gymnastics, swimming or soccer and staying for the entire duration because…well you don’t want to look like a bad parent, is one of the examples I have of this. Watching a kid roll around on a mat is BORING, and yet parents are sitting there on the bleachers in the middle of the day knitting and reading, and occasionally shooting their offspring an encouraging smile from the sidelines. Did they know their lives would just be years of sending their kids off to music classes, parking their SUVs in a lot full of identical vehicles? Or unloading and re-loading the car seat and scooping the nuts and popcorn that inevitably fall out of the Snack Trap? The highlight of these drearied parent’s life is a sale on at Costco and seeing another young mother groan as her three year old has a public meltdown. They get to smile inside and know they are not alone in their misery.

Fathers who confide in me, “I never imagined I’d have kids” don’t finish their sentences optimistically as they rush to stop their young child from falling on his eye at the park. I am candid about being childfree even in the midst of an army of childed adults, and I’m not sure whether or not to feel pity for the stunningly gorgeous Greek mom who pulls out a leather-bound organizer to pen in a playdate for her little girl inbetween her ballet class and grocery shopping. She is serious, letting the other mom know her busy 3 year old has a booked schedule for weeks and urging her to join the skating class she is in. The mom who has gone from an office job has taken to managing her daughter’s life like a job. She has studied and prepared to make sure her daughter has an enriching life, but there is nothing meaningful and adult-oriented in her life. Everything she does from morning to night is focused on her kid.

It’s hard to find motherhood appealling when you are just leaving one job (your career) to just do another (parenthood). If motherhood were more like, say, a vacation–it would seem worth leaving work for a couple of years but I don’t see any incentive in leaving the workforce to join a different kind, with no promotions and barely any gratitude from my employees (ahem, the family). Hearing regular complaints of backpain, loss of sleep and distant spouses has me scratching my head on why these women are pounding out one to three kids. If you’re going to work to climb a ladder, I understand. But if you’re going to work…and then just get old…I just hope it’s worth it.

 

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3 Comments
  1. <>

    I Love This. So well said! The monumental, largely thankless job of raising kids IS a job and seems like such a lot of work…for what? Where is the payout, grand kids?

    Excellent article!

    • Thank you, Claire!

  2. Kelly permalink

    Oh this is great! My daily life in print! and so reassuring to hear I am not the only one who feels like this! Don’t get me wrong I adore my children but……… so busy! Thank you also I love the fifties poster!

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