We’ve all heard it a million times, “Motherhood is a thankless job.” Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s some straight up bullshit. Yes, motherhood is the most thankless situation in the history of time; you do everything for everybody and they only realize this awesome feat when you fuck something up, but motherhood is not a job.
Prime example, today was spirit day at the 4-year-old’s school which means he’s supposed to wear a specific shirt. I vividly remember, washing this shirt, folding this shirt and putting it in his drawer. Of course, we couldn’t find it today. Of course, it’s misplacement was a disaster of epic proportions and of course, my middle child went off to school, in the wrong damn shirt, thinking that I sit on the couch and eat Cowboy Bark from Trader Joe’s all day (which I really should start doing if shirts are gonna grow fucking legs and walk away).
By definition, a job is a situation where you work… and earn money. Shit, unemployment in this country is more of a job than motherhood. And with a job you get vacation time (I can’t remember the last time I had a vacation from motherhood) and sick days (SICK DAYS!!?? I currently have a sinus infection and a double ear infection, still doin’ the mom thang) and mental health days (don’t even get me started on how bad I need one of these).
Nope, I am not working at being a mom. There is no severance package. There is no 5 o’clock whistle. There is no lunch break. Some days, when my head hits the pillow, I close my eyes and recall some adorable moment shared with my children: a funny little nuance, a real belly laugh, a “thanks mama,” or a sincere, “I love you,” and my heart is full with payment. But most days… most days I don’t remember getting into bed; body heavy with the physical and mental labor I’ve shelled out with every fiber of my being.
This isn’t a job because it never ends. My life could be equated with being the janitor at the mall. You mop the mall floor, over and over and over again, just to watch a heard of people walk over the spot you just mopped, leaving a trail of muddy footprints in their wake. Never able to rest the mop against the wall and examine your completed handiwork. Except even that guy GETS PAID!
I really wish I could listen to that sage advice of the old lady at the supermarket. The one who grabs the baby’s cheeks as he gives her a megawatt smile and she touches my arm and whispers, “Enjoy it darling, it goes by so fast,” because I know she’s right. It is going by at a rapid pace, but I can’t even savor that fact because it’s all I do. Motherhood has swallowed me whole and while sometimes I wish it were a job, just so I could throw a basket of laundry on the damn floor and scream, “I QUIT. TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT!” I can’t. I don’t. Because it’s not a job, it’s my life.
A mental health day would be nice though.
© 2014 Amy Hunter, as first published on Scary Mommy.