world's toughest job - I don't have it!

Mother's Day is less than a month away. Cue all the cheesy videos, montages and clever ads telling you how motherhood is the hardest job in the world... and of course, the most rewarding one too. You'll probably tear up while watching these videos, you won't necessarily want to, but the magic of the ad-man is that they know how to get to you!

The most recent (and instantly viral - 1.5 million views as of today) of these videos is this one from describing and interviewing people for the position of Director of Operations at Rehtom, Inc., AKA, the toughest job in the world.


Here are a few quotes from the "interview" that really stuck out for me, and as a mother and current Director of Operations for my own household, I would like to address these points.

"Constantly on your feet, constantly bending over, a high level of stamina..."

Right now I am sitting on my butt at Starbucks drinking a chai latte. I've got my favourite Songza playlist playing in my earphones and sure, I may be bent over my laptop typing, but it's really not requiring a lot out of me. Motherhood is a marathon people, not a sprint. You've got to pace yourself. I am not sure where this "constantly on your feet and then bending over" imagery comes from (perhaps here), but it's just plain silly. I sit and play with my kids, I sit down for meals with my family (more on that in a bit), I took the "sleep when baby sleeps" message to heart and did just that. I am assuming the bending over is related to picking up little children, or picking up AFTER little children, but even in that regard, I'm pretty sure I have never been all, "Phew... this sure takes a lot of stamina!" (Unless it's picking up LEGO, that shit requires stamina, patience and a whole new SFK (safe-for-kids) vocabulary for when you step on it.) And I won't even start on moms who have mobility issues or are in wheelchairs... because obviously they need not apply!

"No, there are no breaks available."

Oh please. OK, fine, NO, there are no breaks from motherhood. Once a mother, always a mother. Yeah, yeah, I hear you, but know this, there are also choices in motherhood. There is the choice to be the martyr mom, the one who never does take a break, and who is constantly complaining about said lack of breaks, yet never does anything about that (hello - it's called self-care folks and it is a thing!). I think that the bigger problem here is that some people actually do look at motherhood like a JOB, as if it is something that has parameters to it. Like it is some kind of 18-year contract work that comes with a policy and procedures manual. I am here to tell you (and I probably don't need to if in fact you ARE a mother), there is no manual, AND THIS IS NOT A JOB. It is a life choice. Some call it a role or a vocation, others call it a biological imperative and some would even call it a divine plan. Whatever you call it, understand this, motherhood is not a job. You don't get your two 15 minutes breaks, a 45 minute lunch and overtime after you've put in your 37.5 hours per week. You do however, get to choose how and when you do take your breaks and recharge yourself and leave all that martyrdom behind!

"You can have lunch, after the associate has had their lunch."

I'll admit that yes, I do make sure that everyone else if fed before I feed myself. As all mothers know, this is often done out of necessity... to stave of the wrath of The Hangry Toddler. What I also do is insist on everyone sitting down together for at least one meal a day. In our house, that is dinner. We all contribute to this time together, whether it is choosing the meal, setting the table, or helping to prepare the food. Even when my kids were little and just starting to sit up and eat solid food, we did this with them at the table, as a family at meal times. The problem with the "feed everyone before you feed yourself" mentality is that, once the "associates" have eaten, they want to go and do other things and there is no time for you to eat. Then your left with the second most terrifying thing next to The Hangry Toddler, The Hangry {Over-Caffeinated} Mother.

"The candidate must have a degree in medicine, finance and the culinary arts."

I have a degree in laboratory medicine and one in business management. My husband actually does have a degree in medicine. Not one of these academic degrees gives either of us any more qualifications to be a mother or father than anyone else walking around with degrees is psychology, education, the fine arts, chemical engineering or what-have-you. Parenting is not a degree you earn. It is hands-on learning and perhaps what having a degree in ANYTHING does for parents, is give them the tools and skills to figure shit out! (A university or college degree is in now way a prerequisite here.) Parents need a good amount of critical thinking skills, a whole lot of "flying by the seat of your pants" skills and a good measure of imagination and improvisational skills too.  Add all of that up and maybe, just maybe you'll get an imaginary Doctorate in Parenting, but just remember that your advanced degree is primarily going to apply only to those attending the U of YOF (Your Own Family).

"If you had a life, we would ask that you give that life up."

This is the moment in the video that I wanted to say a big, Eff OFF! Mothers (and fathers) do not give up their lives when they have kids! They make choices, they make sacrifices, they grow. Their lives change, they don't END. Now, if by life, the video meant JOB or CAREER, then yes, some parents do give those up. This line of thinking just furthers the notion that a person is valued not by who they are, but by what they do for a living. And if you need a reminder of the value of a MOTHER, well, then this post could go on for a LONG time!

"No vacations. No time to sleep."

This is just a continuation of the no life thing. Guess what Moms, you CAN take vacations! You can take them with your kids and yes, you can even take them without the kids. Now, if you are like me, it may take you a few years to work up to the whole leaving the kids for more than a day thing, but I promise you it will be worth it and you can take baby steps all the way up to that lovely week long tropical getaway for you and your significant other or your closest girlfriends.

The whole sleep thing is a different story. All I have to say about this is that my kids are 5 and 7 and some nights I may not be sleeping in my own bed... BUT, I am sleeping. Do what works for you and yours and do try to get some sleep!

"The position is going to pay absolutely nothing. Completely pro bono."

The reaction of the interviewees to this information is spot on. Who in their right mind would accept a job as all encompassing as the one described and not expect to get paid and paid quite handsomely at that? NO ONE! No, not even a mother. Why? I'll say this again... slowly.

MOTHERHOOD.        IS.         NOT.       A.       JOB.

Yes, sometimes it is tedious. Sometimes it is drudgery and you feel like you are drowning under piles of laundry, dishes, toys and expectations. Sometimes you can't even remember the last time you ate, showered, or pee'd by yourself and/or behind a closed door. Most of the time the little things that you do all day, the things that actually make up your day are thankless tasks that no one notices but you. Even with all of this, it is still not a job.

You are not paid by the hour or have a yearly salary. There is no HR department for you to go complain to about your lack of break time or all the overtime you've been putting in without anyone acknowledging it or all the things that you do that were not in the "job description" (clean poop off of ceiling comes to mind for some reason). And above all, you do not get to go home after a long day "on the job".

This whole idea of motherhood martyrdom or the equally damaging deification of "capital M" mother is getting out of hand. It further pushes the value we place on mothers into a separate realm of unattainable or untouchable (and therefore immeasurable). It is not empowering, nor is it glorifying. All this kind of advertising does is turn motherhood into a commodity. Our lives become a simple thing that someone else can make a profit from simply by pushing some emotional buttons, and letting you know just how damn hard and unrewarding and relentless and all consuming this "job" is.

And in that regard, well done CardStore Ad agency, well done.

Now go and make your mother an effin' card, you ingrate!

(and put a BILLION dollars in it!)



Not doing #theworldstoughestjob Oh Hi! It's just me...  you know, sitting down "on the job"!