This news story has been floating around on my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the last day or so from other moms. I finally watched the video, and . . . [insert confused face].
Motherhood is hard work. Don’t I know it. While I have a full-time job out of the home, I’m also a full-time mom. I wake up every morning at 6 a.m. and drag my sleepy toddler with me on the bus by 7 a.m. so that she can be at school in time for breakfast, by 8. Then, I’m off to work for 9 hours until it’s time to head back to daycare and pick her up. I commute home with her in the afternoon, which is inevitable twice as long due to traffic. (Do you know how difficult it is to keep an exhausted toddler occupied on a bus that’s practically stationary for 45+ minutes? HARD.) We get home. Someone makes dinner. Our daughter gets a bath. We have some down time that consists of reading and/or Sesame Street, and then it’s off to bed for her and (one hour later) for me.
Weekends are exhausting, too. We have chores to do, like grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry, but no toddler wants to sit inside all day and do those things. We work in time at the park or other activities. We have to fit in at least two hours, sometimes three, for a nap. And we are always moving. Sitting still is not an option, because she doesn’t sit still. Not unless she’s sleeping, of course.
Yet, I don’t consider being a mom a job.
A job is defined as “the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money.” I have a job. It’s the place I go to every day and execute tasks for which an employer pays me. Being a mom is not my job. I wouldn’t even consider it my job if I were a stay-at-home mom. Being a mom was a choice that I made. It’s a role I play. It’s part of me, but it certainly doesn’t define me. Being a mom is important — to me. That doesn’t mean that it’s important to everyone or should be important to everyone. Not every woman wants to be a mom, and that’s okay. Not every woman can be a mom. Does that make their value as a woman or a human being any less significant?
I don’t want my role as a parent to be defined as work. I don’t want my worth as a woman to be defined by the fact that I am a mother. I don’t want the fact that I am a mother to lessen anything else significant I might do in my life. Yes, mothers are amazing. ALL women are amazing. All women are important and can do incredible things. We don’t have to be mothers in order to achieve that status.
Motherhood is a responsibility I have, and it’s a hard one, but I made the conscious decision to take on that responsibility. I didn’t become a mom to get a pat on the back or have people marvel at how “difficult” my life must be. I didn’t become a mom because I wanted my existence to be defined by the number of times I wipe my child’s ass or how many hours of sleep I lose in a lifetime. I became a mom because I wanted to be a mom, and I wanted to share my love with another human being.
It’s not any more or less complicated than that.