I don’t know if I was born with some missing chromosomes or what, but there are a few “mom issues” that I don’t seem to get.
1. I don’t mind when the little old lady in the Target checkout line tells me to “enjoy every moment.” I don’t – enjoy every moment, that is – but I understand her sentiment. The days are long but the years short. I get it. It’s true (even if your timing sucks). And it doesn’t infuriate me.
2. If when I tell a story about how hard X is for me, or what a crappy day I’ve had and you respond with a story about the ways your experience is worse – it actually makes me feel better. It means that you can relate to the way I am feeling and it gives me a little perspective to see the brighter side of my own situation.
3. When someone says something as stupid as this, I enjoy the validation that a mom’s job is the hardest job. Sure there is a twinge of condescension, maybe, when these words come from Obama or Oprah – as if the subtext is a pat on the head and a “good for you, little mommy that could, you keep on trucking through your tough day while I get back to running the free world/company that’s bigger and more efficient than the free world.”
Being a mom is the toughest job – whether you do it for 2 hours a day or 20 hours a day – for one reason. It’s the only thing in life that requires you to be completely selfless. All. The.Time. The more hours you do it, the more your patience, empathy, sanity and strength are tested. Your own basic needs are secondary. Any other job doesn’t have co-workers who steal your food right out of your mouth or bust open the bathroom door to chat, right?
Is it the “hardest” job in the world? I don’t know. All I can do is share my experience. I was a stay at home mom for two years and then I went back to work for a year. I can tell you that being home is FAR harder than even my most demanding day as a lawyer. It’s not even close as far as personal challenges go. The stakes are higher at home than anywhere else.
And since being a mom is also a thankless job, I take those nuggets of validation, even with a small side of haughty disdain, and pat myself on the back.
So maybe it’s just me…