Motherhood is NOT a Job

My first “real” job was with a debt collection agency. I endured day in and day out of listening to people’s hardships and being verbally abused over the phone. My boss was an arse; rude, condescending and nasty. The “human resources manager” had not a humane bone in her body, our breaks were the length of time it took for the kettle to boil, and friendships waned as we were pit against each other. Friday’s after work were spent catching up on anything we could.

At the time I was seeing (and living with) someone who worked in a factory. Lots of standing on feet, hard manual labour, breathing in lordy knows what fumes and particles as he worked. Smoko breaks were relaxed, so long as the orders got done by the time the shift ended, and Friday afternoons was knock off early, for drinks with the boss who shouted first round. Lots of catching up with workmates for bbqs on the weekend.

Regularly, he’d come home and comment how much “harder” his job was than mine. Not a debate I got into after the first two or three arguments, because, really, you couldn’t compare the jobs. Sure, his was physically more demanding and potentially dangerous, but mentally and emotionally, he was pretty ok. I was stressed to the max, not sleeping and sitting on my bum on the phone all day. I refused to enter the discussion, because I agreed with him on one level – his job was “harder” but on another it wasn’t. It was just too hard to compare the two.

(And probably part of the reason we broke up; that I wouldn’t argue with him, or worse, not agree with him!)

For a long time, I’ve been irked about couples arguing over who has the harder job, the more demanding, the more stressful.

Thus, I was most incensed when I was alerted to one of the latest “post this in your Facebook status” thingies doing the rounds …

I am a cook, a cleaner, a parent, a nanny, a nurse, a handy man, a maid, security, and a comforter x <number of kids>. I don’t get holiday, sick pay, or a day off, I work through the day and some of the night, I am under paid and over worked, now tell me that your job is harder than mine. Repost this if you’re a parent that works hard and is good at what they do : )

Firstly, what makes me a little narky is the whole “oooh, what I do is harder/better/more worthwhile/whatever than you”. Which I personally find extremely egotistical, condescending and completely dismisses everything about the other party. But that’s my stuff to deal with.

I’m not debating that some aspects of being a mother aren’t hard. They are extremely demanding at times, extraordinarily stress inducing and the levels of responsibility

11 Replies to “Motherhood is NOT a Job”

  1. I think the key to how your perceive your own reality is demonstrated in your opening. The key is feeling appreciated, which mums often don’t – neither do many employees. We often hear this term “rewarding” – people say to me “oh, that must be very rewarding!” and if I use my imagination hard enough it could be rewarding but I don’t get to see the fruits of my labour most of the time. Parenting often takes a long time to be “rewarding” … ie it’s often not until your kids are adults themselves that you can see what you’ve managed to instil in them. Sometimes it’s nothing because they’re totally strong willed and won’t listen to anything you say – which is not necessarily a failure if you’ve raised them to be confident enough to be who they are – I say that’s a reward right there.

    Humans require things like appreciation, love, reward, acknowledgement – I think “hard” is just a word people use to cover up the fact that maybe some of those things are missing.

    But you’re right, parenting is not a job, and in my opinion if you see it as a “job” you are probably in the wrong business.

    1. Awesome point re “perceiving your own reality” – I think that applies to all areas of life.

      I see that, also, in your comment about when your kids are adults; seeing what you’ve instilled in them, or not and how that can also be a reward in itself. I like that 🙂

      I worry that when people keep referring to motherhood as a job, and demanding payment for it – well, I wonder when it will get to a point where someone (or a bunch of someones) says “I’m not paid enough for this shit” and refuse to change nappies cos the pay isn’t good enough.

      (May be exaggerating slightly 🙂 But you get the gist?)

      Thanks for your comments.

      1. Expectations are huge. They can make or break us as mothers. I spoke to one mother who based her expectations of motherhood on that late 70’s Meadow Lea ad that declared “You ought to be congratulated”. Bloody oath we should. Unfortunately she thought it meant she would be. Alas.

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