Okay, I admit it; I cried over this video. Stupid-ass me, even though I sniffed out the “it’s moms!” punchline from a gagillion miles away, when the sappy piano music began to play at the end I still choked and ugly-sobbed like the rest of the emotional basket cases who guzzled this commercial like so many two-for-one Mother’s Day Mimosas.
But once the sad music ended and I dried my tears and wiped my snot, my cynical side took over and punched me in the face. I realized I’d just been bamboozled by… a f***ing greetings card commercial. And an error-laden one, at that.
Where did this company get their info on motherhood? Mothers stand “constantly”? Really? I sit all the time. There have been times that I sat so much I got sick of sitting. When I was breastfeeding for two long years (it was a lovely time, really) I would’ve given my left boob not to sit anymore. I never could manage the baby-wearing/breastfeeding-while-doing-household-chores thingy. (Thank God.)
Likewise, most of the other job requirements were flagrant exaggerations of reality. Of course motherhood is demanding, but puh-lease, let’s not make the claim that we get no sleep, no breaks, ever. Sure, the first year is rough, but things get easier. We do get breaks, even if they may be more infrequent or erratic than we’d like. Hello, playdates? Naptime? And babies go to bed at like seven. Simmer down, people.
Perhaps the most ridiculous of all aspects of the “job description” was the requirement to perform all tasks with a “happy disposition.” Oh, really? Moms are always in a good mood? Please. All you have to do is read any post on any mommy blog to know what a load of bullshit that is. Or, you could just ask our kids.
But most irksome to me is the headline claiming that motherhood is “The World’s Toughest Job.” I’m a mom, and this still makes me cringe. Because is motherhood harder than being a soldier? A neurosurgeon? A rocket-scientist? The President? A field-worker? Is my job as mother harder than the job my husband does every day, bearing the entire burden of financially supporting our family, waking up every single day an hour-and-a-half earlier than I do, then coming home and being expected to be an “involved father”? And what about all the moms who work? Is their job harder or easier than the ones who stay home? What about the stay-at-home-dads, or the dads who repeatedly get up for middle-of-the-night feedings and still go to work the next day?
Moreover, if motherhood really is the toughest job in the world, then how come such an overwhelming percentage of woman do it? It’s not as if motherhood is an exclusive club, although it probably feels that way to many women struggling with infertility, and this video is just one more rub-it-in-your-face reason for them to feel left out. And there are plenty of women who are awful parents; for them the job is pretty damn easy. Meanwhile, the women who parent well certainly do work hard, but “the toughest”?
This commercial is feeding off of the emotions of new mothers who are still in the early throws of sleep-deprivation and haven’t yet shaken the inevitable I’m-the-first-person-in-the-history-of-the-world-to-become-a-mother ego-complex. Which is so apropos, because aren’t these shell-shocked gals the most-likely to receive a greeting card?
Not that I’m one to judge; for approximately three minutes, I too bought into the “motherhood is the world’s toughest job” shtick and sniveled into my laptop. But ladies? We’re not inventing the wheel, here. We’re not curing cancer. Motherhood happens every single day, in every teeny-tiny forgotten corner of the planet. Yes, in its way every birth is a miracle and I’m in no way detracting from that, but all the same, can we moms maybe stop acting like we just invented motherhood yesterday and that we’re somehow more valuable than everyone else who isn’t a mom? Sure, motherhood is a demanding and often exhausting job. It’s tough. But it’s not “the toughest.”