You've probably heard the saying, "Motherhood is the most important job in the world." Heck, I've even said it. You've probably also heard, "Being a mom is the toughest job," or even, "A mom's job is a 24/7 job." Please understand that I in no way mean to devalue women or motherhood when I say that I think we should never call being a mom a job, because it's not one. In fact, it's totally more important than just a job.
It's funny, because no one ever refers to being a dad as a job. In our culture, dads are expected to work outside the home, and moms are expected to be moms and to work only if it doesn't interfere with that primary role. That's some seriously heteronormative, sexist, regressive bullsh*t, if you ask me.
Also, consider the fact that many moms already literally have freaking jobs. Is my value as a person solely determined by my ability to parent? Is a woman's career less important than her ability to be a mother? Will women ever gain workplace equality if they are expected to be mothers first and foremost, and ironically, experience workplace discrimination and fewer career advancement opportunities when they decide to have kids? Again, that's pretty much the definition of sexism and a serious double standard.
I've been a stay-at-home mom, a work-outside-the-home mom, a work-at-home mom, and a single mom who had to do it all, literally. Not one of these roles was harder or more valuable than the others, they were just different. I also don't believe that being a mom makes me more important or hardworking than my child-free friends.
Besides, if being a mom is a job then I want vacation days, weekends off, overtime, fewer biohazards and butt jokes, and a damn paycheck. In fact, I'd like to lodge a few complaints, too. Wait, do you man to tell me that there's no Human Resources department to report these things to? Dammit.
I Don't Get A Paid Check
Where's my paycheck? If you take my hourly rate times 24 hours in the day times the last eight years of my life, that's a helluva lot of over time and hazard pay.
I Don't Get To Go Home
It's true. Motherhood is a 24 hour, all day and every day endeavor. Your job shouldn't be. Seriously. There's was a time when I thought that I had to be available to my work all of the time. I burned out. It was epic. There are labor laws designed to protect against constantly working for a reason. It's not healthy.
It Violates Pretty Much All Labor Laws
Even just the hours and bodily fluids involved would be grounds for a lawsuit, not to mention the amount of workplace harassment you have to deal with from toddlers who have no concept of personal space to tweens who tell you to go to hell on a daily basis.
It's Seriously Sexist
We don't expect the same things from men and women in our culture, especially once they become parents. How can we expect to change our culture around gender roles and what's considered "women's work," if we keep placing men and women in their respective, gendered boxes? We really can't. Besides, being a mom is part of who I am, but was I not as important before I became a mom? What about women who chose not to or can't have kids? Are they less valuable than I am? 'Cause that's bullsh*t.
My Job Description Is Miles Long
Caregiver, nurse, therapist, maid, chef, short order cook, teacher, cheerleader, financial manager, shopper, event planner, chauffeur, singer, actress, server, IT help desk, manager, landscaper, soccer player, dancer, sprinter, comedian, coach, biohazard clean-up crew...
I Don't Report To Anyone
The best and worst part about being an adult is not having to be accountable to someone to tell you what to do or to take care of you. Moms are both expected to be entirely responsible for their kids wellbeing and to not have a supervisor setting expectations or telling them how to do it.
There Are No Vacation Or Sick Days
Mama needs a break. Even when I am sick, I don't have the luxury of ever being completely off from motherhood. Also, vacations with kids are actually a ton of work.
No Amount Of Education Or Training Can Prepare You To Be A Parent
There's no advance training program for being a parent. It's all on-the-job, requiring you to try to figure things out on your own, often with no sleep and frequently getting things wrong. Also, just when you figure things out, it changes, and there's no employee handbook to refer to if you get stuck. If this was my job, someone would have fired me years ago (probably for being a smart ass.)
It Devalues Women
It devalues women when we reinforce sexist ideas about gender roles and women's "work." We need to start expecting men to play an equal role in parenting if we want women to play an equal role in the workplace.
I Have A Job
Not to mention the fact that I have a freaking job. Do I consider my job to be more valuable than my role as a mom? No, but I am proud of my career and its impact on the world.
It Devalues Motherhood
The word job has a negative connotation. When we refer to something as work, we are typically referring to something we dislike or have to do. I love being a mom. Also, talking about motherhood as an endless job that we have to do all of the time seriously feeds the "mommy martyrdom myth." You don't have to sacrifice yourself or your well being to be a good parent.
It's So Much More Important Than A Job
As the saying goes, I don't live to work, I work to live. I am not my job, the paycheck I earn, the car I drive, the house I own, or the sum of my 401K. Those things don't define me as a person like being a mom does. It's part of my identity and so much more important than my job.