A Note to Future Moms: If Motherhood Were a Job...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

As a mother, I have enjoyed my fair share of compliments, and even have shamefully hankered for more assurances being the dosha-troubled human being that I can be sometimes. Family and friends have thrown an imaginary ‘supermom’ sash on me for choosing to homeschool and for raising two young people away from the traditions of school. I blush when somebody pats me on the back for doing a great job, because I’m not sure if I deserve that. {Alterego:I want that!}

This is a responsibility where I perpetually feel like I’m not doing enough no matter how much my family tells me that I’m doing just fine, and request me to sit back and just enjoy the day without obsessing about the order of the house. {I believe this is for their own sanity, not mine.}

We recently celebrated mother’s day, and I’m writing today for future moms. You might often read or hear about how great/challenging/rewarding a job motherhood is, but I believe parenting deserves a better description than just... job.

So, if motherhood were a job...

It would pay a lot, we’d have a lot of money and it would be an occupation to die for like the other high-paying ones we find in the job market.

But it isn’t.

No educational degree is required for a woman to qualify for motherhood. It is not a form of career advancement, and all the more, it is not for financial gain. It is also not an opportunity you just stumble into and suddenly decide that it might be worth the try. If I ever am wrong and you tripped yourself into conception, it still was not an ‘accidental job’. After 14 years of parenting, I think that the word “job” does not come close to what a mother does to survive the demands for each day .

You would have written a resignation letter (or asked for a raise) a dozen times.

It is not easy, but you wouldn’t want it any other way. You’ll say you give up, but you won’t. You think you’re going mad; maybe you are. For all it’s worth, you’re sticking around not because you are expected to, but because you want to.

It would be easy.

I’m not saying all jobs are easy. I was once upon a time a nine-to-five employee, and I know what work does to a person’s system. There is nothing more daunting, however, than having the  responsibility of nurturing human beings so they may grow up healthy, joyous, discerning, diligent, humorous, smart, conscientious and free from societal conditioning, among other things...fingers crossed.

You would be privileged to have private bathroom breaks.

Private bathroom breaks for mothers are a privilege like education is for people. The times when you go to the toilet without being followed and be asked questions like what you’re doing, why you’re doing what and where pee and poo come from would be rare. You might also find that in your 24-hour existence, your teen will find it imperative to ask a question while you’re in your five-second bathroom break.

The routine would kill you faster than a tall cup of latte would.

Kids are unpredictable human beings -- like chocolates in a box -- you never know what mood you’re going to get for the day, and you’re always in for a roller-coaster ride. I’m not saying this in a bad light, mind you. Kids have moods not because they are hormonally challenged or have issues from their past, but they are in the process of discovering themselves and are utterly expressive about it.

Understanding how strangely beautiful their minds work challenges stock knowledge. My 4-year-old daughter refused to do reading this morning because she had yet “to taste her thumb” and later asked “how come the thumb does not have taste?”.

There are questions to answer and they are not ones you have ready answers to. Yesterday, I scrambled to answer the following questions:

What makes blood red?
How do fans work?
Why can’t you see the wind?

It would be difficult to decide who the boss is.

I know of parents who jestingly call their kids “boss”. While the idea is cute, I’m afraid that it fosters a sense of entitlement that might hurt the development of a child’s EQ (emotional quotient), which experts say could be more important than IQ (intelligence quotient). It would be good to encourage your young ones the value of working with others and developing healthy relationships with people around them.

You can’t be the boss either because you’re loving, nurturing, selfless and do not constantly desire power, just because.

You’d be working your ass off for a raise or promotion.

In the world of motherhood, the only goal you have is to be the best mother that you can be, and that includes being cool.

There will be competition.

In the realm of parenting, the one thing that I don’t understand is the argument on which parenting style is the best and who does what best. If you’re new to the parenting world and you’re not sure about what to do in this crazy place, don’t fret. We all go through that. There are two things that you can do though. One, find a mother you admire and respect, study her parenting styles and see if you feel they’re workable for you. Or two, work on your gut instinct and develop a parenting style that’s suitable for your own family. Remember that each child is a unique human being and will require a different kind of approach from you.

You’d be the world’s top multitasker.

You could be typing articles for a center spread on one hand, feeding a child on the other, talking to someone with the phone stuck between your shoulder and your ear (I think it’s called a meeting), answering a persistent question about why pigs don’t fly (why the hell don’t pigs fly anyway?), while waiting for the soup to boil. Laundry’s also soaking and you’re thinking about doing that homemade scrub for your cellulite. Don’t argue, that’s my true story.

And so…

I don’t know what you’d like to call it. We like to bask in the the glory of having a 24/7 job as a parent, but you don’t do it for rewards, for promotion, for pay. I’m not trying to stupefy you, I just want you to consider not calling motherhood a job anymore. I know others have, but I think it would be nicer not to identify it with a word that makes a lot of people unhappy.

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