This video went viral a few months ago. As I usually try to do, I waited to comment on it until after all the hullabaloo died down. Many of you emailed me about it at the time.
I’m not at all surprised it went viral. It’s a very well-made video that directly bolsters a strong, politically-correct, Societal Programming message. That is, that motherhood is the “most important job” or the “toughest job” in the world.
Let’s examine each of the points the video cleverly makes, and see if they’re accurate. I have raised two children myself, from infancy, for about nine years as a man married to a wife and an additional eight years as a single dad. (If you want to call my status “single”, which is not accurate, but that’s what society would call me.)
Therefore, I am qualified to confirm or deny the points this video makes about motherhood, at least as much as a man could. (I suppose some may argue that “only women” can verify or dispute any issue based on motherhood, but that’s a debate for another time.)
“The job requires you to work standing up most, or really all of the time.”
Mothers spend a lot of time sitting down. That doesn’t mean they’re sitting down doing nothing, but they do have plenty of sit-down time, whether that means they’re folding clothes or watching TV while the kids are napping or at school.
I do agree that mothers are on their feet often, that’s certainly true. But this “most or really all of the time” stuff is bullshit.
“The job is 135 hours per week, to unlimited hours, basically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Close, but still false.
Starting at age five or six, kids are in school for at least 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, and do that until they leave the home. In addition, small children go to bed early and sleep during the day. So this 24/7 thing is also BS.
I realize the argument could be made that during those off-times, a mother is still working on behalf of the kids, such as doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or grocery shopping. I agree this is often the case, which is why I said “close, but still false” instead of “false”.
However, people who make this argument always conveniently leave out one key fact: if you had no children, you would be doing these things anyway. You would be doing them for yourself. True, you wouldn’t be doing as much of them if you were single with no kids, but you would still be doing them. You would still be going to the grocery store all the time, cooking, cleaning and all kinds of other crap, with or without kids.
I also agree that this 24/7 thing is more accurate when the kids are very little, like infants to about age four or so. But once they’re about six years old, a huge amount of this work vanishes. I still remember the sigh of relief I and my children’s mother had when our son turned six, and then when our daughter finally turned six. It makes a huge, huge positive difference in the workload. They’re somewhat self-sufficient, and spend a lot of time away at school. It’s nice.
“There are no breaks available.”
Read what I said above about when the kids are in school or asleep. Kids are also regularly watched by babysitters, daycare, and/or other family members.
This isn’t the 1800s.
“You must be able to wear several hats. Medicine, finance, culinary.”
Only if you’re a single mother.
If a woman is in a stable, long-term relationship with a financially stable man before she chooses to have children, she doesn’t need to wear all of these hats. The father will wear many of them for her.
But yeah, if she chooses to have babies with an irresponsible moron and becomes a single mother because of it, then oh yes. Being a single mother is indeed a nightmare life. You’ll get no argument from me on that.
“You get no vacations.”
Only when the kids are very small.
As I said, once your kids get up to around age six or so (at the latest), you can take vacations, with or without your kids. Parents do this all the time.
“During holidays, the workload goes up.”
Finally, the video makes one completely true statement. The workload does indeed increase during holidays for moms.
“You get no time to sleep.”
No time to sleep? Mothers never sleep?
Jesus. Do I even need to explain that one?
“The position pays absolutely nothing.”
This is the most false statement of the entire video.
Motherhood pays quite a bit. Your husband will hand over most of his paycheck to you, your lifestyle, and your kids. When you get divorced, your husband will at least pay you child support or he will go to prison. If your husband makes more than an average income, he will be forced to pay you alimony in addition to that (or he will go to prison).
If you choose to have children as a single mother without getting married or moving in with baby daddy, you will still get checks in the mail from him every month, for every child, for 18 years. Or he will go to prison.
(If you refuse child support, than that’s your decision, and you have no room to complain that you “don’t get paid”. You could if you wanted to.)
Motherhood does indeed pay. Often it pays quite well. Just drive through any upper middle class suburban neighborhood and look at the lifestyle these housewives are enjoying that they would not be enjoying if they were not married with kids.
Motherhood Is Important
If history is any guide, after folks read the above, I’m going to get comments, email, or forum/blog posts on other sites stating that I am “against mothers” or “anti-mother” or “hate mothers” or even “anti-children”. I will state for the record that I am very pro-mother, I think motherhood is extremely important, and that I think having children is wonderful.
At the same time, we should not be a bunch of slobbering morons and overdo this. Of the six points the video tries to make, only one is completely true. That’s what Societal Programming is all about. Say something that sounds sweet and nice that satisfies your emotions, then create a pile of lies about it to guilt or shame people into stepping in line.
Of course children need mothers. As a “single” dad, I can clearly attest that if I had to raise my two children with no mother at all, it would be very, very tough, and I would not do nearly as good of a job if they did not have a consistent female role model and presence in their lives.
I have said the exact reverse about single mothers…that these women damage their children by not allowing them to have a true father in their lives. Children need both a mother and a father, not one or the other. Moreover, if you are a single parent and your kids have no access to the other parent, your parenting skills are inadequate no matter how amazing you are.
Being a great mother still isn’t that great if there is no father around, especially if you’re raising a boy. Just like being a great father isn’t that great if there is no mother in the picture (especially if you’re raising a girl). In both cases, your children will grow up with big holes in their personalities. That’s why nature created mothers and fathers, not just one or the other.
Motherhood is important. Fatherhood is important. Pumping up one and lying about it at the expense of the other helps no one. When was the last time you saw a “fatherhood is important” video go viral?