I think it is safe to say that being a mom is a very difficult job. Truthfully, it is not really just one job. It is many. Even if you are gainfully employed in the world outside your home, you still have many jobs at home as they relate to your child/children. Typically, many of these are jobs we are not trained for. Here is a short list of some of the jobs we occupy as moms (this is by no means an exhaustive list so please feel free to write in comments on jobs you think I may have missed): Doctor (patching up scrapes and bruises, checking temps, etc), lawyer (I often refer to my daughter as the “great negotiator”), librarian/storyteller, sanitation worker, cafeteria worker/cook, referee (if you have multiple children or participate in playdates of any sort), teacher, nutritionist, interpreter, comedian/entertainer, musician and chauffeur. Don’t get me wrong, these are my kids, and I generally don’t mind doing most of these jobs. After all, as a mom, this is what I signed up for. But let’s be honest, most of this work is largely thankless, especially if your children are small. It is not often that your young child will say to you, “Gee Mommy, thank you for spending all your spare moments preparing this delicious and nutritious meal that I have now eaten with no complaints.” I like to think of my reward for my hard work as happening when my toddler son grabs my face by the cheeks with his water/sand covered hands, pulls me towards him and gives me a big kiss.
However, as I said, being a mom is often very hard. Many years ago, at a time when I was going through a particularly rough patch as a mom, I was talking to a wise, stay at home mom friend of mine, Gina. She said something that has stuck with me since (this must have been pretty brilliant because I can hardly remember what was said to me yesterday). She said, “Sometimes I hate my job (she was referring to her job as a mom). Sometimes I really don’t like my boss (a.k.a. her kids). Sometimes I am really burned out. Sometimes I want to quit my job, but I can’t because there is no one else to do it.”
So with all that we go through as we forge ahead as moms, day in and day out, you would think we (being a collective community of moms) would all be bonded through these shared trials and tribulations. Often times we are. However, I still find that there is so much judgement out there about the choices we make as parents. These choices start early on whether it is the decision between breastfeeding vs. formula feeding or maybe a little of both, cloth vs. disposable diapers, working outside the home vs. staying home with your kids, public school vs. private school, etc. We attempt to make well informed choices but often we are really just treading water and doing the best we can as moms to stay afloat in this culture of information overload where many of us exist. Between well meaning (but sometimes emotionally unhelpful) family members, parenting books and experts, it is easy to feel like a “bad parent” every once in a while. Since we all know that there is no one right way to be a parent, it can be a tremendous blow to ones self esteem when judged by a fellow mother. Being a mom is hard enough without being judged by other moms for the choices we have made. We’re all just doing the best we can, right?