This is a post you can file under, "I can't believe we are still having this conversation".
Last week I read this blog post, originally from xoJane, now in it's crowing glory on Time.com. It's title, Unpopular Opinion: Being a Stay-at-Home Mother is Not a Job. The title alone boiled my blood, but curiosity got the best of me.I knew it couldn't be as awful as it sounded. The author obviously knew that it wasn't going to be embraced my the masses as the title suggests ("unpopular opinion), still I had to see for myself.
Here is the opener:
"I was able to do nothing but focus on giving my daughter
the best early years at home that I could provide.
That was a gift. Not a career."
Read the article for yourself. I'm not going to rehash it here. I can't. It would take me a year to make an argument for every piece of the article, which is what I really wanted to do, but that wouldn't solve a thing. If I'm honest I'm still analyzing it daily as I do more and more "motherhood" chores and think, sometimes this job does kind of blow. In case you are wondering I say that about my "outside" job too. Most of that doesn't matter, what does matter is the idea that being a Stay at Home mother isn't a job. Does that mean that being a Work from Home mother isn't a job? What about a working mother who comes home and plays a Stay at Home Mother on the weekend? I'm not rallying for awards or medals of honor, but lets be frank here,
Being A MOTHER, in general, is a really hard job.
It doesn't matter if you work outside the home or inside the home, being a mother has been the hardest job I've ever had. And yes, I believe it's a job. Because I'm required to be here. I'm required to show up every day, and be kind and polite and graceful. I'm required to cook, clean, taxi, launder, powder, and raise tiny humans to be amazing big humans. Okay, fine, I don't get paid in real money, but I still work my ass off daily. I have two supervisors that I may never please, that I may never impress, that may never promote me. Sure they love me anyway, but my bosses are total hard asses and super demanding. Especially at three in the morning when they want a glass of water.
So yes, my dear friend at xoJane, being a mother is a kick your ass, never get a pay raise, beautiful, covered in sloppy kisses, wonderfully fulfilling JOB.
It's a position I did choose it, though I never had an interview. I chose to be a mother, and I also chose to be a full time Stay at Home mother for six years. It was my choice as a woman and a feminist. Did you all know that I was a feminist? It's not a bad word, hell it's the word that allowed my mother to burn her bra and wear pants to work. It's the word that allowed my Grandma to work her night shift to pay for school clothes and milk. It's the word that will allow my daughters to choose any job they want, including a Stay at Home Mother. Because supporting feminism means having choices, like the one to stay home, the one to work, or the one to become whatever we want. Including mothers.
Being a mother is the most liberating thing I have ever done. I admit that the early years were rough. I had to give up a lot of me time, and for a selfish only child that was tantamount. But in the end, having a choice, choosing to stay home was very liberating. I let go of so many of my hang ups. Staying home allowed me to immerse myself in a world I knew little to nothing about. As if I went to a foreign country and learned the native tongue. Being a mother made me brave, it finally made me see that I was beautiful and flawed, and it allowed me to love an be loved in a way that has changed my entire life. No job I have ever held has done that for me. No career will ever be as fulfilling. Not even writing, because, let's face it, those books will never love me back, not the way my two daughters do.
Maybe being a Stay at Home mother isn't a career, but damn if it ain't the hardest job I've ever had. When I think about it, being a mother doesn't have to be your career of choice. Like the woman in the article states, it's basically just a bunch of odd jobs bunched together. I've held lots of odd jobs that weren't my career, but that doesn't mean they weren't hard and almost broke me. Some of the odd jobs I've held were physically and emotionally demanding. Much like motherhood, which has almost broken me a time or two.
Can we just decide that MOTHERHOOD is a job? Can we allow those around us to consider it their career? Can we just say yes, and shut our traps and nod graciously as we agree to disagree? Because if you say that calling Stay at Home Motherhood a job is doing a disservice to women, you are doing a much greater disservice to all women. One woman's day dream is another woman's nightmare. Have we learned nothing from our friendships and mean girl movies? I love me some real housewives of (insert fancy city here), but I'd cry buckets if I had to hang out with those crazy bitches in high heels and lipstick every day. Forget it. I'll take these two year old leggings and sports bra (even though I don't sport), any day of the week.
Bottom line: Motherhood is a job. A hard, easy, fun, boring, isolating, loving, amazing, life changing, heartbreaking, take up every spare moment of your life that you can't even pee alone JOB. I don't care if you work seven jobs or zero jobs outside/inside/beside the home, if you are a mother, then you have a job, and perhaps a career, that will take you to the ends of the earth and back. Twice. Maybe potty training, wiping snot noses, and singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider will never go down as "my life's work", but raising my daughters will. Raising my daughters will be the highlight of my life's work. Saying otherwise does a disservice to all moms and their little humans running around eating goldfish crackers. Because if I'm on call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, then I'm calling that a job. And no one, not even Time Magazine will convince me otherwise.
So let's get back to work Mamas, where ever your office happens to be.
PS: Can we just take a moment to talk about Time Magazine? Come on Time Magazine! Did you learn nothing from your cover story a few years ago of that lady breastfeeding her ten year old? Are we MOM ENOUGH? Yes, for the last time, HELL YES. We are all working very hard at our "jobs" to be mom enough so you'll get off our backs! Go home Time Magazine. You're drunk.