There was a lot of backlash about the comment made by Hilary Rosen that Anne Romney has “never worked a day in her life”. Which resulted in a comment made by President Obama that being a mom is the “hardest job in the world”. Which then caused a backlash that it’s not the hardest job in the world. I know this is kind of old news, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot as it seems like we SAHMs are always defending our jobs as actually being just that, jobs.
I remember when I was about to go on maternity leave with my first child and many women at my office joked that it would be nice to have a long break like I was getting. I was taken aback by the comments, especially being by women, because even though it was my first child I knew it was gonna be a lot of work.
As much as I love being home with my boys there are many days I wish I was going to “the office”. It gets very hard waiting hand and foot on my kids. All I do is feed, hold, dress, change diapers (or in my 3-year-old’s case, wipe his a**) and entertain them all day long. And the fact that my 3 year old behaves like diva doesn’t help. I grab a yellow sippy cup, “I want the blue one!” I make lunch, “I don’t want that!” I pick out his clothes “I don’t want that shirt I want my Batman shirt!” I tell him we’re going to the playground “I don’t want to!” Do you think I care to go to the playground?? I’m going so you can have fun?! And how about a thank you?!
After all this, at the end of the day it still isn’t enough, they don’t want to go to bed, they want more! It’s a very thankless job in that regard and gets frustrating that I don’t have anything to quantify how much work and how good of a job I’m doing. I don’t get a raise or a bonus for a job well done. And most people take it for granted. But Being a parent is a 24/7 job and we get very little time to ourselves. I can’t even go to the bathroom without my son busting in on me saying “watcha doin?”
After saying all this, I realize that the difficulty of motherhood is relative, as the cartoon above insinuates. I probably have it harder than Mrs. Romney because I don’t have nearly the amount of money that she has. And there are many parents who have it harder than I do, they have children with special needs, multiples born at the same time, more children than I do, they are single parents and the list goes on. But to do a good job as a parent is always difficult. And it’s also a sacrifice to give up working. It’s scary to think “Will I be able to go back to work if/when the time comes? Will I be hired if there is a big gap on my resume that is filled by being a stay at home mom?”
I don’t like to call it the”hardest job” because there are so many variables and it just results in critics getting worked up and trying to prove that it’s not. In turn it becomes undervalued once again. Can’t we all just agree that it is a job and a very important one at that?