I hate it when people refer to motherhood as a ‘job,’ especially when they say it’s the ‘hardest job in the world.’ Oh gee, I never realized that raising kids was harder than underwater welding, underground mining, firefighting, being on the bomb squad, or working as an EMT, etc. Honestly, I have no clue why people like to say that motherhood is the ‘hardest job in the world’ — I can only speculate that they’re trying to be patronizing, while simultaneously telling mothers that they have the crappiest lot in life. “Raising kids is harder than telling someone that they have six months before the cancer kills them.”
Um, no. Not by a long shot.
I don’t think of motherhood as a job. There’s no one telling me what I have to do, and I certainly don’t get paid money for doing it. I don’t have to navigate through office politics, or stress over performance evaluations. I definitely don’t have to wait for lunch breaks, or schedule vacation time. Motherhood is not a job, it’s the lifestyle that I have chosen for myself. There are moments of laughter, and moments of tears, and that’s what makes it life. Life should not be thought of in terms of putting in X amount of work and receiving Y amount of compensation, but in terms of what promotes love and happiness, and what doesn’t — the former should be sought after, and the latter avoided!
I see a lot of mothers stress themselves out by fixating on what they think *should* be. The baby *should* be taking long naps on his own. The baby *should* be more independent and less needy. The baby *should* not wet so many diapers. The baby *should* not cry so much. Most of the time, mothers aren’t even aware that they’re having thoughts like that, and are simply getting frustrated at their children for behaving the way they do. I have found that they best thing to do is to let go and accept things the way they are. One day your baby won’t want to cuddle with you, so enjoy every minute you get to hold him while he sleeps. One day you won’t be able to rescue your baby from everything that makes him unhappy, so kiss away every tear while you still can. Don’t waste your time feeling annoyed at your baby for acting like a baby.
And yes, sometimes mothers do feel flustered no matter how accepting and loving they try to be. That’s a sign that you have a need that’s not being met, and it’s perfectly okay to take care of that need. Sometimes you can have someone else take care of the baby, but that’s not always an option. Instead, you can take a bath with your baby, go into the kitchen for a snack, or sit outside together in the backyard. Any sort of change in the scene helps, and when you’re more relaxed, the baby is too.
Motherhood is not the hardest job in the world. It’s eating cookies, playing with toys, sharing smiles and giggles, and chasing the tears away. It’s life, complete with good times and bad, and it’s as satisfying and rewarding as you choose for it to be — that’s how life works.