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.”


Kristen Mae is a novelist, freelancer, classical musician, and artist. Follow her on Abandoning Pretense, and check out her books, Beyond the Break and Red Water, available now at most online booksellers.


  1. So good! Moms are allowed to feel all ways about one thing. Great writers, who are also moms, can put that into words just like the ones above. Huzzah!

  2. Amen, and well said.
    You know what else is tough? Fatherhood.
    And grandparenthood.
    And a lot of other jobs that have nothing to do with our status as a family member.

    Is motherhood hard as hell? You betcha. But admitting that other jobs are hard too doesn’t detract one iota from the awesomeness of being a mom. Maybe it’s time we stopped being so hard on our job. It’s not that bad. And besides, it comes with some pretty great perks. 😉

  3. I agree, Kristen. I think everyone, mothers included, could benefit from keeping their heads down and worrying about their own lives, instead of constantly comparing themselves to what everyone else is doing. It’s sad that people feel the need to down play someone else’s life just so they can feel fulfilled or superior about what they’re doing. Motherhood is hard…so are marathons. One of them I’m doing, the other scares the bejesus out of me. It doesn’t mean one is harder than the other. Nothing worth doing is easy, right? So quit whining and get on with it!

  4. So good! I got sucked in when I watched it too. I was sitting down while I watched it. I’m also sitting down right now. Just sayin…

  5. I knew from the first moment that it was about moms- no pay? Tough job? Must be bout moms. But the video annoyed me a little bit. OK, maybe a lot.Being a mom is hard yes, but the film just overdid it, a lot.

  6. Just another reason to love you!! I had the same reaction. Tears and “aw” then “wait! Wtf?!” Because my kids are teens now. And this is pretty easy–except for the occasional attitude. (Knocking on wood!!!)

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