With the ongoing debate and attack on a pregnant person's right to decide when, and if, they want to become a parent, it's never been a better time to discuss the fact that parenthood is different for everyone. If we don't assume that all of our babies are the same, why do we keep jamming women into a one-size-fits-all category when it comes to motherhood? So this mom’s honest take on not loving stay-at-home motherhood is the conversation we need right now.
Facebook's Humans of New York (HUNY) page has received thousands of likes and shares for a brand-new posting regarding one new mom's decision to return to her work as a doctor.
“He’s starting to be less dependent, but so far it’s been pretty relentless and repetitive," is the caption alongside the newest image on the HUNY page, next to a quote from a mom originally from Rome, Italy.
"A lot of changing diapers and feeding. The same mundane task over and over again. It can be exhausting and depersonalizing. Dad will be staying home and I’m returning to work full time. I’m an emergency room doctor, and that’s where I think I’m most useful to the world.... If some people love parenting, that’s very lucky.... But to believe motherhood is the most important job in the world, you’d have to believe your child is the most important person in the world.”
This incredibly honest response certainly got keyboards fired up, but interestingly enough, it seems to me that many, many more of the comments were supportive than one would think. Hell, even the stay-at-home moms were positive, for the most part, in applauding the mom's decision and courage in being forthright about her experience.
"Stay at home mom here, for 16 years and counting. GOOD FOR YOU for knowing yourself, your spouse, and your life!" wrote one user. "You will be a better mother and a better citizen when you use the gifts that bring you joy and meaning."
Other posters seemed to find relief in the remarks.
"I'm not cut out to be a stay at home parent either," chimed in another user. "I had my year of maternity leave and am so grateful and blessed to have been able to spend that time with my daughter, but I was happy to get back to work. My daughter is my universe... but too much of a good thing.... lol."
"I love being a mom. I just wish that wasn’t my whole identity. Her breaking from that gives me hope," added another fan, while a fourth just wrote: "Thank you for having the courage to say something many mothers wouldn’t."
If the users at least on this thread seem to recognize that the typical U.S. parent is, after all, just as imperfect and idiosyncratic a human as anyone, could it possibly be because culture overall is changing?
After all, as magazines such as Fortune have noted, even the world's most privileged moms, like Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, are expected to work nowadays, with both duchesses having appeared at official functions far into their pregnancies, and with both having returned, or expected to return, to the "family firm" within a couple months of giving birth.
Meanwhile, look at the news: JPMorgan Chase just settled a lawsuit with fathers at the bank who were denied paternity leave to care for newborn children as primary caregivers, according to USA Today.
So maybe the basic understanding that the care of a young child isn't just woman's work seems to be finally in the mainstream? (I mean, duh, yes, this shouldn't be news, you already knew that.)
I'm glad this conversation came up on my Facebook, and I hope to have many more chats regarding work, class, parenting, and how we might build a system that works for more people. Call me crazy, but if we're getting this evolved, who knows what might be next. Daycare for all working parents?