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Sorry, but being a mother is not the most important job in the world

Posted by on Nov. 18, 2013 at 5:48 PM
  • 56 Replies

Being a mother is not the most important job in the world. There, I said it. Nor is it the toughest job, despite what the 92% of people polled in Parents Magazine reckon.

For any woman who uses that line, consider this: if this is meant to exalt motherhood, then why is the line always used to sell toilet cleaner? And if being a mother is that important, why aren’t all the highly paid men with stellar careers not devoting their lives to raising children? After all, I never hear "being a father is the most important job in the world".

The deification of mothers not only delegitimises the relationship fathers, neighbours, friends, grandparents, teachers and carers have with children, it also diminishes the immense worth and value of these relationships. How do gay dads feel about this line, I wonder? Or the single dads, stepdads or granddads? No matter how devoted and hard working you are, fellas, you’ll always be second best.

I’m also confused as to what makes you a mother. Is it the actual birth? Or is a "mother" simply a term to describe an expectation to care for children without payment? Is this empty slogan used to compensate women for gouging holes from potential careers by spending years out of the workplace without recognition?

Enabling this dogma devalues the unpaid labor of rearing children as much as it strategically devalues women’s worth at work. If being a mother were a job there’d be a selection process, pay, holidays, a superior to report to, performance assessments, Friday drinks, and you could resign from your job and get another one because you didn’t like the people you were working with. It’s not a vocation either – being a mother is a relationship. 

Even if it were a job, there is no way being a professional mother could be the hardest when compared to working 16 hours a day in a clothing factory in Bangladesh, making bricks in an Indian kiln, or being a Chinese miner. Nor could it ever be considered the most important job in comparison with a surgeon who saves lives, anyone running a nation, or a judge deciding on people’s destiny.

There is also a curious sliding scale to the argument. "Working career mums" are at the lower end of the spectrum, and stay at home mothers are at the highest echelons, with ascending increments for each child you have. The more hours of drudgery you endure the more of a mother you are and, therefore, the more important your job is. The more you outsource domestic labour and childcare to participate in the workforce, the less of a mother you are. 

It really is time to drop the slogan. It only encourages mothers to stay socially and financially hobbled, it alienates fathers, discourages other significant relationships between children and adults and allows men to continue to enjoy the privileges associated with heteronormative roles in nuclear families (despite men sucked into this having their choices limited as well).

It’s fine to use "motherhood" as a credential if you're talking about something related to actual motherhood, like vaginal tearing during birth or breastfeeding (despite not all mothers experiencing either). But if you're using "motherhood" to assert that you care more about humanity than the next person, if you're using it as a shorthand to imply that you are a more compassionate and hard-working person than the women and men standing around you, then feel free to get over yourself.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/sorry-but-being-a-mother-is-not-the-most-important-job-in-the-world


by on Nov. 18, 2013 at 5:48 PM
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Replies (1-10):
RandRMomma
by Maya on Nov. 18, 2013 at 5:56 PM
14 moms liked this
Someone is hypersensitive and reading too deeply into this issue. Oh my. I don't think that this "slogan" is the cause of the issues this author talks about. This "slogan" isn't indicative of "Golden Uterus Syndrome."

Motherhood isn't easy, and it's definitely my most important job in the world. I do not think that acknowledging this undermines the relationships other people have with your children, especially their fathers. I was raised by a single father. His most important job was to raise his children. Does that undermine the role mothers take in the lives of their children? Not at all.
LaughCryLive
by Silver Member on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:00 PM
Agreed!
KatLee42513
by on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:03 PM
4 moms liked this
Well.. considering you have to feed, nurture and somehow keep another human alive I'd say that's a pretty tough job.
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:04 PM
5 moms liked this

It is to my kids.

I think the comparison is (intentionally) artificial. It's not about who cares 'more' about humanity, but who cares at all FOR it.

rfurlongg
by on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:06 PM
3 moms liked this
I agree whole heartedly with you.

Quoting RandRMomma:

Someone is hypersensitive and reading too deeply into this issue. Oh my. I don't think that this "slogan" is the cause of the issues this author talks about. This "slogan" isn't indicative of "Golden Uterus Syndrome."



Motherhood isn't easy, and it's definitely my most important job in the world. I do not think that acknowledging this undermines the relationships other people have with your children, especially their fathers. I was raised by a single father. His most important job was to raise his children. Does that undermine the role mothers take in the lives of their children? Not at all.
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LucyMom08
by Gold Member on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:09 PM
11 moms liked this
I actually agree with the article...I can't stand the 'mommy wars' or the 'Golden Uterus Syndrome' like PP said...

I spit out the kids, so I'm taking care of them...it doesn't mean I'm special...except to my own kids, haha...
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UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:21 PM
I agree with the article as well. I dont have a problem with elevating motherhood...I do have a problem equating it with paid labor.
Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:29 PM
5 moms liked this
The author sounds disgruntled...

Geez.

As for being a mom. I disagree. It is certainly an important job and the most important job I will ever have.
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cleigh717
by Member on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:39 PM

mothering is the most important job bc mothers or people in the mothering role care or delegate care for the future generation.  that is all. accept this reality. delete all others. 

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:44 PM
4 moms liked this

What about dads?

And if both people are #1 dedicated to kids, what about marriage and putting the effort into to supporting the family unit?

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