The Motherload

I feel like what I’m about to say might be controversial, but this is my take on it. I am up for a healthy debate if you are. This might also be considered a rant. A friend of mine recently forwarded me a beautiful video of a man praising a mom and recognizing her for all that she does. He said something to the effect of, “The hardest job in the world is being a mom; moms do everything…” and then he proceeded to list all the professions he believed moms take on every day: psychologist, hairdresser, nurse, teacher, etc. I have mixed feelings about it because on the one hand, it was a lovely video of a genuine man trying to be kind and encouraging to a struggling mother wrangling up her children in public. And he’s right about how moms do everything- they literally do. But so do (some) dads, and sometimes even grandparents, aunts, and uncles- all depending on the circumstances (just to be fair).

I know what you’re thinking: way to dampen the feel-good moment, Carol (that’s not actually my name). I have a tendency to do that with over-analysis, you see; I can’t just let a good thing be but hear me out. I am not dense; I get the concept when people make these comparisons. I see the intent and the need to validate moms for their overflowing plates, but it honestly feels a bit like overreaching to me. The fact is, these aren’t full-time professions that moms are taking on every day; they are simply comparable applied tasks spread out throughout any given day in the overall life of a mom.

There is no doubt moms are overworked, overwhelmed and undervalued. That’s not what I have an issue with. I am very aware of gender equality and how far we still have to go, as a society, to get there. One of the major disparities comes down to plain biology. Simply being a woman and/or mother biologically puts you at a significant disadvantage when it comes to career advancement because, historically, the childrearing and caregiving responsibilities tend to always fall upon the women. And, because women are the ones carrying babies and birthing them after 9 months, they require some leave from work which ultimately hinders their ability to maintain a consistent upward trajectory on the company “corporate ladder” versus their male counterparts. And that’s just if you have one baby; imagine those with multiples! It’s truly an unfortunate domino effect that creates an even wider chasm within the gender pay gap too.

So, trust me, I am not here bashing mothers. I am a mother myself. I’m not saying mothers don’t do it all. Because, oh, we flippin’ do; we do all of it, all day long. Parents (specifically good parents) must bear a lot of weight on their shoulders- the motherload, if you will. That’s a fact. Raising a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever done- mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, theoretically, metaphorically, rhetorically, alphabetically (okay, you get it). But does that make me better than anyone else, though?

I don’t think, when this sentiment is used, that it’s coming from a bad place- absolutely not. I just don’t think it needs to be said, that’s all. If anyone wants an example of everything that moms do on a daily basis, I’m happy to list it all, but let’s not do the reaching of things. I think when we do that, it under-credits these professions and sounds like we’re attempting to validate ourselves in an empty and superficial way. Counselors and psychologists and nurses do more than just listen, guide, or put Band-Aids on knees. A nurse who might nurture a patient during an appointment wouldn’t automatically be thought of as a “mother.” A friend who is there for you, listening to you, and giving you sound advice wouldn’t be considered a psychologist. I don’t feel like we need to fluff it up with these fancy titles just to be substantiated. Many of these professions require a lot of education, sacrifice, skill, practice, hard work, dedication, training, apprenticeship, risk of life/courage (i.e. frontline workers). My point is, let’s lift everyone up and make space for all. Let’s respect nurses, therapists, teachers, chefs, hairdressers, wait staff, mothers. Everyone works hard, deserves kindness, needs recognition, and should have space to be valued.

What do you think? Have you ever thought about this? Do you think it’s problematic?

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47 thoughts on “The Motherload

  1. I was a one year disaster as a primary teacher, two year disaster as a policewoman and certainly never had any desire to be a nurse. So actually being a stay home mother of three was easier and I have great admiration for anyone who can hold down a career. Also my son and son- in-law are great hands on Dads, but the fact remains their careers pay the mortgage. Even part time working Mums have a hard time and we have to face the fact that it doesn’t work that well and is unfair on colleagues when they often have to take time off for sick children, not to mention all the extra strife Covid has caused!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Men’s pay checks often cover the mortgage bc their career aspirations aren’t hindered by childbearing, maybe? In some cases, for sure. I find it’s always the women’s career that is sacrificed. Even for households where the man and woman work in the same industry with very closely-related occupations, if not, the same.

      My mom was a mom of 3 youngsters, I give her credit for holding it together but I think after a certain point she just had to go with the flow and relinquish control bc there was no more order lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes my son did twenty years in the Air Force and could be away for six weeks so someone had to stay at home! My husband was a policeman doing shifts and we had no family nearby – someone had to stay home! When the children were older I gradually worked more and it was good for their independence.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was a high school English teacher for 7 years in the US in the 90’s and the pay was about $27K a year. It was THE hardest job I have ever had. I have been a mother for 15 years to 2 daughters and while it pays $0 is is much much harder but I love it more because I DO get thanks and love. So I see your point and this is a great post and something that needs to be discussed for sure. I think you are on point to say that people in the careers we are being compared to deserve a lot of credit. I am no counselor or nurse (although I am a teacher so I can say I taught my children well LOL). I think all good parents deserve respect but we don’t need to be compared to other professionals. We should be complimented for who we are and what we do. I chose not to pursue my career while I was a mom but I teach my girls they do not have to have children for anyone but themselves and that they have a choice always. I also tell them that it is superbly difficult to maintain a great relationship with your children while also pursuing your career – not impossible, not undoable but DIFFICULT. I’m not sure if I added much to the conversation, but thank you for writing about it intelligently.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you 🙂 I really appreciate your perspective and sharing! Sometimes I think moms forget that thriving as individuals outside of the “mom” title is setting a great example for their children, along with being comfortable in your own skin!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg 💯 I agree, and from personal experience. I think it’s true that mothers are undervalued overworked underpaid and all of that and it sucks! But the truth is, some mothers suck at being mothers. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. My mother was just not good at it and should never have had kids. She tried I know but she was so damaged. And she traumatized me on so many levels that I’ve spent my whole life working through (still an). So my angels were my dad and grandmother. And I’d get so upset when teachers would say go home and ask your mother to sign this permission slip. I’d be like what about my dad? He’s the one that’s gonna sign it! So I think the mother role can really be falsely glamorized and put on a pedestal. But again, some mothers are amazing (like u!) and it’s all just so individualized. So like u said, it just doesn’t need to be said and it’s kind of an ignorant, broad stroke kind of thing to do, even tho I’m sure good intentions were there, ugh. 🥺😖😕💖

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember in grade school (probably grade 5) we didn’t do anything big as a class on mother’s day (the year before we made cards, drew pictures) bc I think it became more widely thought of as insensitive to the different family dynamics of all the children in the classroom. I appreciated that (although I know some didn’t).

      So sorry you had a tough childhood with your mum but glad you had other loving adults too fill her shoes.

      Also, thanks so much for saying I’m a good mum ❤️😭🙏😊🙌

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this blog post!! Very interesting analysis! Hmm…. Yeah, I was a reading teacher for a while and now I’m an expert at phonics, spelling patterns, and what your mouth does for every sound you make. (For example, when you say /k/, the back of your tongue scrapes the top of your mouth. You can check this with your finger. When you say /g/, same thing, as they’re matching sounds, but your voice box is turned on.) But I was paid, for goodness’ sakes!! And then those wonderful ADHD-ridden kiddos had to go home with their parents, who were unpaid and broke because their kids needed reading attention. I have to say in stating my opinion that the parents ARE the true unsung heroes. God bless good parents like you! It’s not a path I’d ever be comfortable going down, Heaven help me. And that’s fine, because we all have different callings. But it is upsetting, even to me, that parents get so little respect for all that they do! I think it’s more like being the hairstylist without any formal training and hoping you can wing it, which is a tough position to be in, am I right? Parenting is like everything. Parents deserve so much more praise and support than anyone ever gives them!! I can’t even begin to imagine the difficulty. I mean, not to bash myself, but I was tired and slept until 1:30 this afternoon. I’m thinking that if I had a kid to tend to, the kid would NOT be pleased. I can’t even imagine. Good parents are the future!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Being a mom is not so bad when you have a supportive husband. Much respect goes out to single moms who have to raise their kids solo AND work. I don’t know how they do it. My husband and I don’t have family out here in Alberta so we rely on each other. We balance each other quite well and work together as a team.

    I find working incredibly difficult but I find a lot of fulfillment in being able to help support the family financially. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I was really miserable. I’m still struggling with work and mental health, and I need to remind myself to take a step back fo spend time with family too

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You raise some really good points here. I remember years ago there was debate about whether stay-at-home moms should be paid for the work they do inside the home. At the time, I remember thinking “What the heck?”. If we’re going to pay stay-at-home moms, why shouldn’t I – a mom who works both inside and outside the home – get paid for the work I do inside the home? Bottom line – there’s no right answer to this, and definitely no answer that will satisfy everyone.

    It’s a similar debate to whether kids should be paid to do chores at home. My answer to that has always been a hard no. There are things you do because you’re part of a family, and there should be no expectation of being paid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right! There is no right answer or an answer that would satisfy all… But it should be clear that everyone deserves validation. 🙌

      Also, thanks for bringing up the second point… As a parent of an almost-4 yo, I’m trying to decide what to do about chores and allowance. I want her to participate and contribute to the household by doing age-appropriate chores and I also want her to be money-savvy so an age-appropriate biweekly allowance would help in that regard. But do I associate them? What happens if she doesn’t do her chores, does she still get a biweekly allowance? 🤔🤔🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think the hardest job I’ve seen (as a spectator) is single parenting, be it a man or woman. I have no idea how they don’t lose their s*** every day just trying to manage it all between working, cooking, getting the kids to their extracurricular activities, etc. In some cases, the ex is out of the picture and a non-factor in their children’s lives. Talk about a tough conversation to have with a kid.

    I can’t argue with anything you’ve written, BB. I think we all like to be appreciated, so I’m going to give kudos to any spouse who looks out for their partner to say thanks for what you do. It truly is a team effort, so when one spouse drops the ball, more of it falls on the other to pick up the slack, or the child suffers. Thanks, as always, for a thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your perspective, Pete! Yes, absolutely couldn’t agree more, single-parenting seems daunting, impossible and a very tall task! I do appreciate having at least a very present spouse and parenting-half in my husband.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed reading the post and comments. I have not viewed the referenced video but clearly the emotion of one man’s tribute to his mom did not and could not resonate with everyone, considering the variety of experiences in this world. The sharing of such experiences is eye opening.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I 100% agree with you. My corporate work and consulting is much more intricately detailed than my job as a Mom. That’s not to denigrate or lessen my role as a Mom, but I most definitely know where you’re coming from. My husband is one of those working dads who does so much too, sometimes even more than me. So – to your point, let’s just give thanks where it is necessary and be grateful for the people and the roles they play in our lives and move on. Respect for all working to build up these kiddos into the productive humans we hope they’ll become.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! Everyone (well, most people) is just trying to do their very best! And quite often that’s good enough or it ought to be good enough. It’s all in the intentions too. Thanks for reading and commenting! 😊🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good point, Carol-not-Carol! And I literally laughed out loud at “alphabetically.”

    I get you. There’s no reason to add the extra hype of motherhood. If you’re a good mother, and you’re out wrangling your kids, then you’re doing what “good” mothers do. I have a phrase I use, “you’re putting too much on it,” and I think that fits here.

    Maybe if the guy in the video would’ve just said, “Hey, mom! You’re doing a great job!” that would’ve been sufficient.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good phrase and so fitting! I don’t fault the guy, it was a very sweet gesture and it likely made her week! That’s not a bad thing, just a little peeve I had and wanted to see if I was unreasonable! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your perspective – so appreciated!!! 🙏❤️🙌

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Value everyone–definitely. That’s your point, and there’s no arguing with that. I suppose calling moms these other professions is simply a much shorter task than listing each individual thing they do that can also be called on by those other professions. That would be exhausting.
    “Alphabetically”–Haha! Good one, BB. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I feel this is a great post, from what I read you hit all the major points. I just finished my post for this Sunday about superheroes who I view as single dads raising their kids, foster parents, grandparents and others who take on the responsibilities of raising other peoples children and so on. While we moms and Grandma’s (in my case) are amazing, there are also those who don’t get the acknowledgement they deserve. I didn’t say “credit” because I personally don’t look to be rewarded for a job/position I cherish and do strictly out of love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I love that you’re spreading the love and recognizing those that don’t often get honourable mentions! I was also raised by my grandparents while my parents worked throughout my childhood. I have memories of my grandmother walking me across the street to go to elementary school (although, at the time I quipped that I was the one walking an old lady across the street haha)… She fed me, bathed me, entertained me- all the things.. And I am so grateful that she was a stable fixture growing up! ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lol this is a great post and I agree with you. There’s no reason to compare being a mom to other professions. There’s no reason to do that for dads either – giving them credit for being landscapers or mechanics or electricians, etc whenever they complete a task at home. It’s just what people do when they are taking care of their home and family. Lol, this post reminded me when I had my daughter, my workplace gave me 6 weeks of maternity leave and my husband got 12 weeks. Which pissed me off!!!! I understand the gesture was to facilitate bonding and help in the home, but still, I don’t think the father should get more leave for having a baby than the mother. At most, it should be equal. Sorry for my little rant about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pepper! Honestly, I still can’t believe the maternity leave in your country is 6 weeks. To us, here in Canada, it is like a myth that we’re not sure actually exists (seriously, hope you don’t take offense)… I simply can’t imagine one having 6 weeks or even 12 weeks (which I’m sure 12 compared to your 6 was plentiful)! 🙏🙏


  14. I love this. It is nice to be appreciated as a mother but I also agree that it’s a little bit of an overreach too. I can honestly say as hard as being as mother is, my full-time job is much harder. I could never have stayed at home, which I’m glad now because by staying in work, I was able to financially support me and my son when his dad and I broke up.
    For a lot of people, becoming a mother is inate. It is instinct. We don’t even consider it a ‘job’ but rather just an extension of who we are. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I just think we can’t paint every mother with the same brush! Major kudos to you for doing it on your own, I couldn’t even imagine the strength that took and continues to take (and everyone in the comments agrees too)!

      I know friends who would rather be SAHM than work and that’s totally fine, but for me I know it would be incredibly difficult bc while I love being a mom, I love having a separate life outside of motherhood too. ❤️🙌 Thanks for reading and commenting 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi “Carol” (haha). Thanks for pointing out that it’s not just moms doing all the work all the time. I, for one, take care of my child and support my working wife while I’m out of the corporate world. I also can’t do it all myself. It’s definitely a team effort, and it’s all for one child. I don’t know how parents of multiples do it.
    I think it’s important, at times, to give credit to people who live outside the norm. This is one of the many reasons I started my blog. Kudos to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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