You hear this phrase a lot as a mom. It usually comes from someone trying to sell you something. Or someone who doesn’t have kids yet. They generally scrunch up their face like they are talking to something absolutely squeeze-it’s-cheeks adorable before they say it. Then it comes: “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world”.
And my reaction is always the same. Really? Because, honestly, I like being a mom. I could do with a bit more sleep and I wouldn’t turn down a housekeeper or the chance to go to the bathroom by myself once every 5 years, but being a mom is a pretty good gig.
I can actually think of quite a few jobs that are harder than being a mom because I wouldn’t enjoy them nearly as much. Working as the guy who has to clean up bodily fluids in a hospital, that’s a hard job. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood comes with it’s fair share of bodily fluids, but they are about as close to my own bodily fluids as you can get and when it comes down to it, they really aren’t that gross. Working as a telemarketer – now I know this one from experience — I lasted 2 whole weeks as a telemarketer during college and I wanted to pull my hair out one by one every minute that I was there. Working as an investment banker, now that would be a hard job (and boring, oh so boring).
Actually, any job where you have to either get dressed up (and stay looking presentable until the end of the day) or get up at an insanely early hour does not appeal to me. I usually try and take my kids with me whenever I eat out because they help me cover up the fact that I am messier than them. “Waitress, I’m so sorry. My son seems to have gotten crumbs all over the table, and floor, and it looks like someone spilled a drink.”
Being a mother, there are plenty of early mornings (and late nights), but the difference is, the job comes with perks. So you may wake up 50 times with a baby in the night (or an asthmatic 5 year old in our case) – in the morning no one is expecting you to look professional. In fact, in all likelihood, you’re probably going to get a nap in the middle of the day when the exhausted child takes a nap of his own (or you lay down to help your child get to sleep and you fall asleep instead while your child tries to quietly play with his toys so you won’t notice that he isn’t sleeping).
There’s always the boss issue too. Really, what adult wants someone else telling them what to do? As a parent, you are the ultimate boss. As a working adult, you are required to be at the mercy of someone else, who may or may not actually be smarter than you are. I think this is partially why mommy blogging has taken off so much. Even if you look beyond the fact that blogging gives moms a great way to connect with each other, blogging also allows women to make a bit of money from home in some cases and doesn’t require them to answer to anyone else.
When it comes right down to it, there’s only one hardest job in the world, and it isn’t specific to any one industry or field. The hardest job in the world is one that takes you away from those tiny people who steal your heart the moment they are born – and makes you work long hours, dress up like a grown-up, and answer to someone else. So hats off to working moms – the ones who leave “the hardest job in the world” to take on one that is even harder, and then try to balance the two.