06 August 2010

So you think motherhood is easy?

I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald the other day and I felt I just had to comment. Here is the link to the article:

www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/is-motherhood-really-that-hard-20100802-1131y.html

(I couldn't actually create the link so you might have to copy and paste it into your browser)

There were some minor parts to this article which I identified with, but overall, I disliked it. It made me extremely frustrated and annoyed.

My main issue with this article is that the writer confuses the two separate aspects of difficulty and motivation. Sure, I agree that they can be connected, but they are not the same thing. She is basically saying that motherhood is easy because it is a labour of love and that other mothers should stop carrying on about how hard it is to be a mother, while at the same time admitting that her child was a great sleeper, feeder - basically a dream baby. Well, that would help.

I agree that motherhood is a labour of love. I agree that, for me, it has been by far the most rewarding work I have ever done. Motherhood is a labour of LOVE, but it is also a LABOUR of love. Loving your work does not always make it easy. You may be more motivated to do a good job and go the extra mile, but it doesn't mean you don't need a break from time to time, or that it is not tiring. Looking after your own beautiful children whom you love more than life itself is, I would argue, the best motivation you could have to get up (and stay up) on multiple occasions through the night, comfort older children through tantrums, maintain sanity after you've heard the word "why" 60 times in 60 seconds. It is great motivation to do those things, but it does not make them "easy". At the risk of sounding like one of those smug, know-it-all mums which the writer so despises, it will be interesting to see if her opinion changes once her child is mobile, climbing, having tantrums, or if there is another child or children thrown into the mix.

I love motherhood. I have been both a full-time working mum and a stay-at-home mum at different times so I know what it is like at both ends of the spectrum. Juggling work and motherhood is hard on the mind, body and soul. And while I much prefer staying at home with my young children, it is no picnic either. In our society which measures success by share price, motherhood is already seriously undervalued. In this article, by using her limited experiences as a generalisation for most mothers, the writer has done little to change that. In using the term "easy" throughout the article, she can only have perpetuated the ridiculous notion that mums could and should do "more" than "just" mothering and that stay-at-home mums sit around drinking cups of tea all day watching Oprah, and I resent that.

May I also add that I do not like her writing style one bit. How do I get a gig like hers?

2 comments:

  1. I totally agree Francesca. I have been thinking about this since I heard her on telly the other day.

    I think she is wrong. It is hard some days. I love being at home with my boys and I don't begrudge having to get up in the night and every other discomfort that comes with mothering. doesn't mean it is always easy.

    Not having family close by to relieve us can be stressful and yes hard at times. financial pressures because I am not working can make life, dare I say it, HARD at times. Juggling housework and quality time can be really challenging.

    Like you say the why why why and no no no no thing can sometimes take you to breaking point.

    I don't think it's fair to pick on those of us who have not found mothering a walk in the park. we don't love it any less and we don't do a worse job.We don't resent our kids or the lack of free time. But there is absolutely no shame in admiting that we have days where we feel like it is bloody hard and we sit back at the end of the day and give ourselves a pat on the back and say good on you for getting through that day, it was a hard one.

    Perhaps it's not the job we find hard, it's the lack of recognition and respect for the most important job in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Louie, I agree with your comments.

    And now I'm about to embark on a motherhood journey from yet another perspective - Francesca the part time working mum begins in just over a week ... scary.

    ReplyDelete

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