Motherhood: World’s Toughest Job — Not

Readers, Here’s a video that has gotten over 10 million hits so far:

It’s about motherhood being the hardest job at all, requiring 135 hours a week, lots of standing, very little sleeping and zero breaks.

But as “The Evil H.R. Lady” points out in this brilliant post, motherhood is not the utterly difficult, demanding, exhausting job society (and this video) paint it as. It’s only that way if we believe our kids can’t do anything safely or successfully on their own. So, says Evil H.R. Lady:

….You are doing it wrong if you never get to sit down, never get to eat lunch, and never get a break of any kind. You are not teaching your child to become an adult, you are teaching them to remain in perpetual toddler hood. This is bad parenting. I don’t know any mothers — even mothers of special needs kids — that don’t get a break. (And I will concede that some special needs kids require a tremendous amount of care from their parents–dad too!–and that may qualify as the most difficult job. But most moms have just regular kids–with problems here and there, and difficulties in different areas, but nothing requiring 24 hour nursing level care.)

Exaggerating the amount of work and expertise needed to parent not only creates guilt on the part of parents (who can live up to those expectations?). It also makes it seem like the best parents are the ones who treat their kids as helpless and endangered for as long as possible. If you believe parenting involves gradually letting go, well, gradually it gets easier.

This cult of motherhood SEEMS to venerate women, but really it is all about making them feel bad if they actually trust their kids to thrive without constant,  obsessive assistance.  – L

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149 Responses to Motherhood: World’s Toughest Job — Not

  1. Warren April 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Completely agree. If being a parent is that tough, you are definitely doing it wrong.

    Before any special needs parents start screaming, we are not talking about special needs. We are just talking parenting in general.

  2. lollipoplover April 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    “You can have lunch but only when the associate is done eating their lunch.”

    Who does this? I used to breastfeed and eat a bowl of cereal at the same time. As soon as my babies sat in the high chair and could do a pincher grip they ate without constant attention. Babies sat at the table for the family meal.

    Uggh, I couldn’t even watch all of this video because it’s such a caricature of the work need to raise kids today.

  3. SKL April 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Yeah, I only have a couple dozen facebook friends, and at least two of them posted this, so I figured, it must be good. NOT! I hated it. HATED. OK, glad to have gotten that off my chest!

    Well first of all, it was obvious from the beginning that they were talking about Supermoms, who do not actually exist since Kripton exploded and everyone died.

    Secondly, I’m a mom (a working single mom no less), as are a lot of other women I know, and who the heck is the audience for this? I sleep. My kids would not be alive right now if any of us did not sleep pretty much every night. I eat. I even read and play around on the internet.

    I did the stand-on-my-feet thing for a while after my kids came home. One day I said to my friend, “gosh, I must be getting old, my feet are hurting all the time.” My friend said, “well, did you notice you are standing all the time nowadays?” I had not noticed. I bought some spongy rugs to put in front of the sink etc. while my kids were that high maintenance. Yeah, I was doing more laundry and dish-washing than before. I had to learn to prioritize and let some unimportant things go. But the hardest job in the world? Really? No, it is not the hardest, it is not the most important, and it isn’t even the least appreciated.

    I don’t even consider parenthood a “job.” (Politically incorrect of me, I know.) A “job” is something you do to enrich someone else, in exchange for getting some cut of the outcome. A “job” is a contract. A “job” involves someone else evaluating your output and deciding whether you deserve to be retained or replaced. A “job” is something you quit doing when you don’t want to deal with the stress any more. None of that applies to my parenting experience.

  4. SKL April 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Sorry, Krypton….

  5. BL April 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    In the link, there’s a list of the 10 deadliest jobs. Anyone notice “police” is not on the list?

    Think about that when you read stories like the one Lenore posted last week about cops drawing guns on tree-climbing boys.

  6. Papilio April 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    I’m surprised none of those interviewees got annoyed when he said ‘moms’. Like “Oh COME ON, you’ve been VASTLY exaggerating!”
    And no one protested before – that one woman even sounded relieved when he assured her it was all legal – without considering for herself if SHE thought a job like that was acceptable, for HER! So what if working 24/7/365 with no sleep and no breaks is legal, that doesn’t make it any better!

  7. Claudia April 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I haven’t seen it but I could tell it would be annoying. I hadn’t thought of the helicopter angle in it and yes, that could make some people think ‘Am I being selfish if I have time to myself as a parent?’

    When of course, to be a good parent, you have to be good to yourself too!

  8. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    It also makes some people, who might otherwise be willing to parent, become unwilling because they have an excessively negative idea of how hard it is.

    I’m not saying that this is why everyone chooses not to, or that everyone should to, but I do believe that comments that I hear not unfrequently like “When you have kids, your life as you know it is over” or “You’ll never get a minute to yourself again for 18 years” or other nonsense I frequently hear, do scare some people off parenting unnecessarily, especially if they haven’t had many examples of people doing it without so much hoopla. Sure, when you have that first child, your life changes permanently, it does become significantly busier and more tiring for a couple of years (assuming you don’t have a much harder than average life already) and you need to adjust your perspective to a very large degree. That same effect is frequently seen with things like getting married, starting a new career, making a long-distance move….all things that people don’t represent as impossibly or near-impossibly difficult life changes.

  9. Buffy April 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    I’m not even going to watch this because it would piss me off too much.

    I never understood the moms who would bemoan that they didn’t even have time to take a shower. It was supposed to make them sound super-busy and super-involved and super-mom, but it just sounded kind of gross and, frankly, quite hard to believe.

  10. Mike April 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    The video is an ad made by American Greetings, so go buy your supermom a card or ten, because you know you haven’t thanked her enough. It is entirely a coincidence that Mother’s Day is very soon. Really.

  11. V April 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Coming from the other side, I have a 27 mo old (who is very independent for her age) and a 9 mo old. I do get some breaks, but with deferent nap schedules and both at the age I can’t just let them go to the park alone, I do think this motherhood thing is harder than any other job. Sure, it gets easier (my 27 mo old alone is easy!), but it doesn’t start easy. So at least for the first 2 years, this video isn’t completely off.

  12. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Yeah, I encounter this view all the time. I remember when my oldest kids were young, I would read about other moms being so stressed out and never getting a break, and I would wonder, “What am I doing wrong??” I couldn’t FIND enough work to keep me that busy! I didn’t realize that these other moms were actually involving themselves in every single tiny thing their kids did — I was sending my preschoolers out to play on the patio while the baby napped, and spending an hour or two reading. I didn’t know it was “wrong.” LOL.

    Now, when people hear that I have eight kids, they imagine that 24-7 super-supervision and assuming that I am doing *that* times eight! Ha, no way!

    One way that I do feel lucky is that I discovered co-sleeping early on, and it works well for us. (I know not everyone is able to do things that way, even if they want to.) I’m able to get a full night’s sleep with my babies, almost every night, right from birth. I almost feel guilty when I talk to moms who have to get up over and over with their newborns. Almost. 😛

  13. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    “I never understood the moms who would bemoan that they didn’t even have time to take a shower. It was supposed to make them sound super-busy and super-involved and super-mom, but it just sounded kind of gross and, frankly, quite hard to believe.”

    Ditto. If you really need a shower, you can grab one in five minutes. You never put your kid in the crib for five minutes for any other reason, even if he’s unhappy? Maybe that’s the reason your kid can’t be out of your arms for five minutes — he’s never had the chance to get used to how it feels!

  14. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Oh the “never get a shower” trope. Sigh. I once bought a new mom-to-be a shower sling. If you aren’t familiar with these, it’s a mesh baby carrier that makes it easier to shower with your baby. I meant it as a gift to make her life easier — bending over the bathtub makes my back hurt, so I prefer to wash my youngest daughter in the shower rather than giving her a bath. I still take plenty of showers without her. But this poor new mom must have heard so much about how she’d never be able to take a shower once she had the baby that she panicked, thinking it was true, that she couldn’t ever leave the baby long enough to bathe herself. :( That I *did* feel guilty about.

  15. Buffy April 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    @pentamom…or, dare I say it, the PLAYPEN??

    Curses upon me!!

  16. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    “Coming from the other side, I have a 27 mo old (who is very independent for her age) and a 9 mo old. I do get some breaks, but with deferent nap schedules and both at the age I can’t just let them go to the park alone, I do think this motherhood thing is harder than any other job. Sure, it gets easier (my 27 mo old alone is easy!), but it doesn’t start easy. So at least for the first 2 years, this video isn’t completely off.”

    It “isn’t completely off” in the sense that “my husband works 80 hours a week for starvation wages” isn’t completely off, because he works about 50 hours a week for a decent living but less than I think he’s worth. Barring a child with special needs: never sitting down is nonsense. Actually “working” 135 hours a week is nonsense. Not being allowed to eat unless your child lets you is nonsense unless you’ve allowed it to be that way.

    Sure, having two very young children is work, and it’s tiring, and confining, and can be very frustrating at times. BTDT. But you don’t send a positive message about the realities of an undertaking by nonsensical exaggerations that make people either think the job is not worth having at any price, or realize you’re just making stuff up and don’t need to be listened to.

  17. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Thank you! I thought this was ridiculous. Parenting is not that hard. If it is, you are either doing it wrong or wildly incompetent. All things like this do is allow some mothers to feel smug about how hard they work–and, frankly, in my experience, the people who talk the most about how hard they work are generally not the hardest workers–and then scare other people off from ever having kids. I wouldn’t have had kids if I never got to sit down, sleep, eat, or relax. Hell, I’d probably auction them off if that was reality.

    The hardest time I had as a parent was two years ago. I had an ADHD 7 year old I was homeschooling and my little ones were 6 months and 22 months. That alone was pretty hard. But then my husband became gravely ill (he has since recovered, thankfully) and for about three months, he was in and out of the hospital, in constant pain, and too sick to do anything when he was home except lay on the couch or lay on the bed. That was really, really hard. I had days where I felt like I didn’t stop moving the entire day, and I’d finally sit down at night and just cry. But, even then, most days weren’t that bad, and I had time to shower, eat, sit, and sleep. So I just do not buy all of these parents who claim they can’t even sit.

    I have had days when I haven’t “had time” to take a shower. But, the issue was mismanagement of time, not lack of time. I wasted too much time on the computer, or too much time talking to a friend on the phone, and the day got away from me. It was me, not my kids, that caused the problem. I have to think that all of these moms posted on FB about how busy they are and how they have no time might in fact be at a loss for time because they are wasting it, not because their kids are really so needy or they are constantly doing parenting things. I mean, how exactly are you finding time to write or share FB posts about how you have no time if you actually have no time?

  18. Maggie April 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    I saw that, and have to agree.

    Don’t most women who have a child have partners, boyfriends, husbands? Friends, relatives, nannies, day care, baby sitters, etc? Someone? And children DO sleep, and you aren’t required to stand over them 24/7/365.

    I had kids who didn’t sleep through the night regularly until they were 3. And they didn’t nap much, either. I still managed to eat, sleep, and get out occasionally.

  19. Donna April 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    I did find parenting nightmarishly hard when my lass was a babe, but I also was a single parent to the demon-baby-from-hell who refused to sleep all day and then screamed for hours and hours on end until she finally wore herself out and passed out with me following very shortly after.

    And yet I STILL managed to take a shower, sit down, sleep, eat, watch TV and mess around online just about every day (showering and eating were definitely every day).

  20. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    “Coming from the other side, I have a 27 mo old (who is very independent for her age) and a 9 mo old. I do get some breaks, but with deferent nap schedules and both at the age I can’t just let them go to the park alone, I do think this motherhood thing is harder than any other job. Sure, it gets easier (my 27 mo old alone is easy!), but it doesn’t start easy. So at least for the first 2 years, this video isn’t completely off.”

    No one is saying that caring for small children isn’t hard. It’s just not the 24-hour, constant attention, constant need, never-a-moment-to-yourself deal that some people make it out to be. No, you can’t send your toddler to the park. But you could plan your day so that every time you put the baby to nap, the toddler spends a few minutes playing independently and you take a break. It doesn’t take much. Just sit down and say, “Ok, go play with your blocks for a little while.”

  21. Warren April 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Sorry, but it isn’t the parenting that is hard. You need to examine how you do things. Parenting is only as hard as you make it.

    We can all complain about how two young kids are this and that, I can complain about trying to balance the needs of a very active 8 yr old, while also having a newborn. It is all relative, and not that hard at all. Those that think they are overworked are usually those that are paranoid about leaving the baby alone while they take a crap.

    If you cannot find time in the day to take care of yourself, then you are really doing things wrong. Sorry, but that is just how it is. If you do not take care of yourself, you do burn out, and then are no good for your kids. Too many people make being a parent all that they are. Nope, I am me, and I just happen to be a parent as well.

  22. SOA April 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    I did not have a problem with the sentiment behind it but I kinda feel bad for these people that are looking for a job and wasted their time and effort thinking this was an interview for a real job they needed. I am surprised they took it so well.

    Being a mom is hard. There were days I was in such physical pain from back issues that every time I picked my baby up I had to grit my teeth in agony and scream. But there was no other option. I could not just not take care of them. For a job I probably could have called in sick. There is no calling in sick when you are a mom.

  23. SKL April 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Things get hard at times, yes. This is also true if you aren’t a mom. I remember the time I worked 36 hours straight to meet an IRS deadline for my biggest client. While speeding to the last-open post office, I realized I had not used the bathroom nor gotten a drink of water (let alone eaten or rested) in about 12 hours. When my job involved ~50% travel and a lot of in-person meetings (I’m an introvert and hate restaurant food), that was hard. The job I had where I had to pull all-nighters at least 2x per week, and often didn’t eat because there was no food available by the time of night I took a break – that was hard. Having 2 full-time jobs, one in a big accounting firm and one in a factory, was hard. Motherhood in general doesn’t even come close. Yes, when a kid is up puking and having severe nosebleeds all night, and you have an important business meeting the next day, that sucks, but it’s not all the time.

    Of course I feel for those whose kids have intense special needs. But that’s not who the video was about.

  24. SOA April 17, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    I think you guys have to realize everyone is different. I know moms who struggle with chronic pain or have cancer or have chronic depression or have triplets or have special needs kids or kids with cancer or have no relatives or friends nearby who will help them with the kids and no money for a babysitter, etc and yes I bet their lives are pretty freaking hard.

    It is all relative. Now I will roll my eyes when a mom I know only has two kids with no issues and that are actually really easy kids whine about how hard she has it. But I am not going to roll my eyes at my mom friend that is going through breast cancer or my mom friend that has a child with leukemia or my mom friend with triplets when they whine about how hard it is , because they are probably right. It probably is hard.

  25. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    I’m also reminded of a thread I saw on a parenting board of moms talking about how they worked so hard all day, then when they finally put the kids to bed they’d spend even more time on the computer “planning” for the next day. I really don’t know what they were planning, exactly. I’m kind of an organization nut, and I love to make spreadsheets and schedules and test out new day planner apps on my phone, but even I couldn’t spend hours on that every single evening. And I sure wouldn’t consider this something I “need” to do for hours every single evening. But these moms were mad because their husbands would come home, get on their own computers, and actually PLAY – “while I’m still working!” Sigh.

  26. Toby in AK April 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you, I thought I was going crazy for a while there. The internet should be charged with gaslighting us sometimes.

    I’m a single dad so I figure I have a pretty decent perspective on what this parenting business entails, and when I watched that video it struck a feeling not unlike the twilight zone.

  27. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    I wouldn’t argue that being a mother can’t be hard. But, my problem is the idea that “hard” means you never sleep, sit, eat, shower, or relax. That is just not true, and it just makes it seem like parents who do manage to get a decent amount of sleep, eat regular meals shower daily, and sometimes even relax are lazy slackers. Being an at-home parent is not days full of soap operas and bon-bons, but it’s certainly not the world’s hardest job. Like anything else you do, it’s sometimes hard, and some situations are harder than others. But it’s condescending and patronizing to pretend that parenting is as outrageously trying as the video claims.

  28. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    SOA, the video doesn’t say that having a chronic illness is hard, or having kids with special needs is hard, or having some kind of extra challenge on top of being a parent is hard. It says that motherhood — in and of itself, under normal circumstances — requires 135+ hours of work per week, no sitting, constant exertion, constant attention, zero breaks, no personal life, etc., etc., etc. It actually says that “billions” of women are currently doing this. That is unrealistic nonsense.

  29. Kristi Blue April 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    My thoughts exactly! I have five (at one time, they were all under 5!)and even with breastfeeding twins, I somehow managed not to die of starvation,exhaustion or sleep deprivation as this ad suggests. I think people are getting martyr and mother confused!

  30. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    @Michelle, if I saw somebody on a parenting board telling me they spent their evenings “planning”, I’d be very tempted to tell them that they don’t get to count the time they spend surfing Pinterest and Facebook as “work.”

    I really hate the mentality that we have to be–or, more often, pretend to be–working ALL THE TIME and busy ALL THE TIME to have any value or earn any respect. That’s nonsense. I’m so tired of everybody exaggerating how much they work and how little they sleep (and this is not just parents, but nearly everybody). I’m generally of the attitude that if you really need to work that long and that hard to do what you have to do, you shouldn’t brag about it, because it sounds like you are inefficient, incompetent, or both. But, I’m also generally of the attitude that 99% of the time when people talk about the hours they work or the hours they sleep, they are lying. (I recently saw a study showing this was true. People, IIRC, reported sleeping 6-7 hours but most actually got closer to 9.) People’s “no sleep” is probably 4-6 hours of sleep. And, that stinks! I am a cranky, tired mess after a night with five hours sleep. But let’s just be real and admit that we like 8-9 hours of sleep so when we get 5 or 6 it really sucks, instead of pretending that we are superpeople who can get by on 4 hours of sleep a night and can only be tired if we got literally no sleep at all.

    I also think, more generously, that guilt can get in the way of people enjoying their down time, and that’s a huge problem for parents. I’ve had days where I’ve truly felt like I was grading papers “all day,” but in reality I probably only spent 4 or 5 hours, at most, grading. The rest of the time, I was messing around on the web or playing games on my phone or doing things instead of grading. But the whole time I was doing them, I was just feeling bad and guilty that I wasn’t grading, so I didn’t actually enjoy it much. If I’d just sucked it up and graded for 4 hours straight (or maybe two hours and then a short break and then two more hours), and then been free to enjoy the rest of my day, I’d have spent the same amount of time working but would have felt like I’d worked much less. When you spend your “down” or “me” time wracked with guilt that you should be doing something else, you aren’t going to enjoy it or feel refreshed by it, and you do sometimes end up feeling like you did nothing relaxing or fun all day.

  31. Jennifer April 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    I always felt guilty when other Moms would invite me out for a “Mom’s night out” because we “deserved time off”. I really never thought I worked that hard.

  32. Kaetlyn April 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Seriously, this video is total crap. I have two little boys–ages one and three–and I’m a stay at home mom. Personally, I love my job and I find the working conditions to be pretty cushy. I play with my kids a lot and they play by themselves and together a lot. They’re also extremely helpful little guys who clean up their toys, help me do the laundry and help me cook dinner. Even my one year old is pretty handy with a carrot peeler. They’re both really good with the dust buster. My oldest “reads” to my youngest while I take a shower (every day!). Sometimes I hear them start fighting when I’m in the shower, but by the time I finish up and come out they’ve resolved the issue (by themselves!). If I didn’t sit down to eat lunch with my boys they would be confused and concerned. And then there’s nap time–this magical one to two hours of alone time that I get every afternoon–it’s happening right now! And yes, even though my husband and I are technically “on call” every night, 90% of the time we have the hours between 8pm and 7am completely to ourselves, for leisure time and sleeping. And as for getting paid “nothing,” as described in the video, what about the money that I save our family on childcare, on groceries, on housecleaning? That’s real, measurable economic value–and it’s tax free! I’m pretty sure that my experience is not that unique, and that my children are not rare specimens. I’m also pretty sure that I’m not uniquely skilled at this whole parenting thing. So, as others here have already said, this whole idea that moms are superhuman slaves to their children is utter crap.

  33. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Anonymous mom, you are joking, but I’m pretty sure they actually were referring to Pinterest. I have heard people arguing that pinning recipes is not the same thing as screwing around on the internet.

    But then, what do I know? I mostly re-pin jokes about TV shows and comic books. 😛

  34. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    @SKL, yes, you have hard days no matter what you do. My husband and I have to negotiate this often, with my being a mostly-at-home parent (I teach part-time during the academic year, but either after he gets home from work or online, so I am with the kids all day) and he works full-time. Some days, I have the harder day. One or more of the kids are sick, or there’s a ton of errands to run, or I did a ton of cleaning, or I was sick, or one or all of us were just in a terrible mood, or I had a lot of teaching work to juggle with the childcare, and it was a long, really difficult day for me, while his day involved spending a few hours doing programming or data analysis at his computer (work he enjoys) and then an afternoon reading through the entire NY Times site or catching up on a TV show he missed while he answered a few e-mails. He understands that, even though I’m home, I sometimes have really hard days, and when that happens, he’ll usually take over child and house duties when he gets home, and I get to hide in the bath and then bed with a book.

    But sometimes he has much harder days than I do. I got to spend the day having fun with the kids and visiting friends and knitting on the porch and otherwise have a fine time, while he was running subjects for 9 hours straight or stuck in meetings that went on two hours past their scheduled time. When that happens, he gets to take the evening off and relax in front of the TV, and I’ll do the evening clean-up and keep the kids from driving him too crazy. I don’t think I get to pull some “I have the hardest job in the world, so you better do the dishes” trump card when he gets home every night.

    That’s just how life goes. Being an at-home parent can sometimes be extremely hard. Working full-time can sometimes be extremely hard. Life is sometimes extremely hard. But, even on the very, very hardest days, most people do manage to sleep, eat, and sit.

  35. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    @Michelle, I am a person who loves to plan (and doesn’t love to follow through on plans so much), so I consider things like making schedules, finding recipes, planning projects, and finding cool organizational hints fun. As a kid, one of my favorite hobbies was list-making (I have tried to convince my oldest that, if he has nothing to do, he should try making lists, but he is not convinced.) If I actually put them into practice, that maybe counts as work. 😉

  36. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    “I always felt guilty when other Moms would invite me out for a “Mom’s night out” because we “deserved time off”. I really never thought I worked that hard.”

    I’m not a huge fan of the concepts of “mom’s night out” or “me time.” Not at all because I don’t think moms should get to spend time without their kids. I do plenty of that! But because of the implication that all of the rest of our time is spent at our kids’ beck and call. I go out without my kids when I have a reason to — a show I want to see, a friend I want to hang out with, dinner with my husband, etc. But I never feel like I need to carve out time specifically to be away from my kids (well, to be honest, unless they’re being royal pains in the butt that day) because when I’m with them I don’t expect myself, or allow them to expect me, to be constantly on call.

    I take showers. I read books. I play around online. I take naps! I eat whenever I’m hungry. (I eat CANDY and don’t always share!) I indulge my hobbies. Every day, right in the middle of being with my kids and meeting their needs. Obviously I couldn’t do *as much* of it when they were babies, but even then I did what I could.

  37. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    LOL, anonymous mom, I am a scheduler and tracker. I have my “systems” for everything I do. My husband is kind enough not to roll his eyes when he comes home and I excitedly tell him how I realized that I can make our daily routine slightly more efficient if I switch my daughter to helping me with chores in the afternoon and my son in the morning, because then my other daughter will be able to use her bedroom to practice her violin… I am pretty sure that I spend more time “tweaking” our routine than any of my tweaks ever saved, but at least I have fun with it!

  38. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Kids do play by themselves, sleep etc. but a stay-at-home mother is constantly “on call.” Most people don’t consider being on call to be off of work nor on a break, even if they are not called at that moment. So in that sense I usually work 168 hours a week.

    I do shower, sleep etc. but at any moment I could be called out of the shower, woken up etc. to deal with something. It’s true that if they are calling me out of the shower for anything short of an emergency, if they can’t handle being on their own for that long then I’m doing something wrong. I don’t think I have ever actually been called out of the shower, but I AM on call.

    I do have a husband, but he works during the day (away from the house on the weekdays) and takes sleeping pills at night (so is impossible to wake up). I don’t have a nanny, daycare etc. – not that I want those. I would love a maid though and for my husband to take half of the parenting things that need to be done when he is home and awake. (Currently yes he plays while I “work” and yes it does make me angry. He gets to leave his job and come home every day. My job IS at home, so I never get to leave it for long, and when I come back I am coming back TO my job. My job can’t all be done while sitting at a computer so I can’t multitask and play a game at the same time like he sometimes does on weekends. If something needs to be done and he doesn’t stop playing, it’s no big deal because I’ll do it. If *I* don’t stop playing it just won’t be done.)

    Usually the only time I get a true break (where I’m not on call) from the job of mother is when I am selling at a convention or fair, i.e. working at my other job. No one evaluates me nor decides if I need to be replaced at either of my jobs, but I do consider them jobs. If at any moment I decided I wanted to quit the job of mother I could give the kids up for adoption, sign custody over to someone else, or just leave and not come back.

  39. TheThirtiesGrind April 17, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree…and I wrote about it, too.

  40. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    “Kids do play by themselves, sleep etc. but a stay-at-home mother is constantly “on call.” Most people don’t consider being on call to be off of work nor on a break, even if they are not called at that moment. So in that sense I usually work 168 hours a week.”

    I disagree with this. At my husband’s job, they take turns being on call for a week (including weekend) at a time. When it’s his turn, he doesn’t go around saying he worked 168 hours that week, and certainly doesn’t claim to have done so without a break or without sleep. If he did say that, everyone we know would call BS.

    “I do shower, sleep etc. but at any moment I could be called out of the shower, woken up etc. to deal with something. It’s true that if they are calling me out of the shower for anything short of an emergency, if they can’t handle being on their own for that long then I’m doing something wrong. I don’t think I have ever actually been called out of the shower, but I AM on call.”

    Anyone could be awakened or pulled out of the shower for an emergency. Last week I got woke up from a nap because a guy from the water company wanted me to come out and see that we had a leak in the main line to our house. That wasn’t even an emergency — the sprinkler was on in the backyard, and he didn’t know it.

    “I would love a maid though and for my husband to take half of the parenting things that need to be done when he is home and awake.”

    I do think that dads should share the responsibility when they’re home. The way I see it, when my husband gets off work, so do I. In the evenings, I don’t do anything that isn’t absolutely necessary, and I expect my husband to do half of that. I think we should *both* get to mostly relax (as far as you can when dinner has to get cleaned up, and kids need to be kissed and sent to bed).

    “If something needs to be done and he doesn’t stop playing, it’s no big deal because I’ll do it. If *I* don’t stop playing it just won’t be done.”

    That’s a problem with one person being inconsiderate (and possibly one person always assuming they have to do things without asking for help, I don’t know). Not a problem with motherhood in and of itself.

  41. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    SOA — yes, but all those challenges you describe are not because motherhood, as such, is a 24/7 grind with no chance to sit down or eat. Those are *additional* challenges that *some* mothers have, not “what it means to be a mother.” That’s what we’re objecting to.

  42. Donna April 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    “Kids do play by themselves, sleep etc. but a stay-at-home mother is constantly “on call.” Most people don’t consider being on call to be off of work nor on a break, even if they are not called at that moment. So in that sense I usually work 168 hours a week.”

    Well then so does every single parent on the planet. I also can be called into mommy service at any time if my child gets sick or chews a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Personally, I don’t think it is work when you are “on call,” but not being bothered at that moment.

  43. Dreamer April 17, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    I think part of the problem is, it’s really hard to describe motherhood (and fatherhood). Yes, there’s the dictionary definition, but does that capture the essence of it? Everyone has different ideas, ideals, philosophies, expectations, standards, priorities, situations, experiences, etc. that influence their understanding of motherhood. In addition, there are lots of ways to parent, even lots of ways to parent well, but it’s really difficult to describe all that it entails — the tasks, the emotions, and the individual and cultural meanings we attach to it.

    How do you describe what it’s like to be a parent to someone who is not, and convey the significance (not necessarily “hardness”) of it all? Perhaps by relating it to something they do have experience with, like working.

    No, it’s not exactly the same, and some of the job description is over the top. But in a world that tends to measure worth in dollars, I think it’s good to be reminded the work of parenting is valuable. And maybe, some of the people who do that unpaid work could use some validation and a little appreciation once in a while.

  44. SOA April 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    I feel zero guilt for having a Mom’s night out because I do deserve some pampering and a night being able to hang out without kids.

    People are doing exactly what we are complaining about here. Picking apart what others do or do not do with their time. Who freaking cares?! Some moms handle stress and multitasking etc better than others. Some stay busier than others. Some have more challenging kids than others. Some have more help from spouses, grandparents, etc than others.

  45. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    @Donna I would not say every parent on the planet is on call; a lot of people have jobs that won’t let them leave for things like that. And I don’t know about you, but if someone called me because my kid bit a poptart into a gun, I’d laugh and hang up, not go pick up the kid. If someone needed to call a parent for a thing like that about my kids, they aren’t going to call my husband at work, they’d call me. And I think it’s like that in a lot of families (that one parent would be called but not the other).

    If you meant single parent as in, parents that are single, well I think they are more likely to delicate the parenting jobs to someone else during work hours, (babbysitter, family member) as they can not afford to leave or potentialy lose their job.

  46. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    I think that, as adults with responsibilities, you are generally “on call.” My husband’s boss called him half an hour after he got home tonight. One of his bosses could call him at any time, and he can’t really do anything about that. But, neither of us consider that work time if he’s not actually working. My kids could, theoretically, keep me up all night, but I’m not going to consider the night hours “working” hours because the vast majority of the time, I’m sleeping. For most adults, an emergency could come up at any time that might require you to do something for your kids, your partner, your parents, a friend, but unless you actually are doing something, I don’t think it’s “work.”

    “How do you describe what it’s like to be a parent to someone who is not, and convey the significance (not necessarily ‘hardness’) of it all? Perhaps by relating it to something they do have experience with, like working.

    No, it’s not exactly the same, and some of the job description is over the top. But in a world that tends to measure worth in dollars, I think it’s good to be reminded the work of parenting is valuable. And maybe, some of the people who do that unpaid work could use some validation and a little appreciation once in a while.”

    The thing is, nobody is going to appreciate what you do, most of the time, no matter what your job is. My husband has a doctorate and does research, and I’m not sure his bosses have EVER thanked him for what he does, even when he pulls 10 or 11 hour days for them. He is, like nearly all workers, overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Do you think anybody validates and appreciates the person serving your food at McDonald’s? Cleaning the hotel where you stay? Answering the phone at the doctor’s office? Driving the kids’ school bus? Ringing you up at Target?

    They don’t, because nearly all labor goes unappreciated and undervalued. I think sometimes SAHMs have this idea that every other job is valued by the public, but that’s just not true. (It *is* true that a paycheck can be validating, of course.) I’m part-time faculty at a university. Nobody thanks me for doing my job or tells me I’m doing something important. Well, that is not 100% true. I’ve been teaching at the same university for 8 years now, and today I happened to stop by my mailbox and had a little note from the director of the comp program telling me how much they appreciated my work. That was the first time IN EIGHT YEARS that anybody has thanked me for my teaching labor. My kids, on the other hand, tell me how much they love me every single day, and my husband regularly tells me how much he appreciate what I do for the family. While I don’t get paid, I get far more validation and appreciate from my family for my “work” of caring for them than I do from my employer for my paid work.

    My view, at this point, is that I don’t really care if somebody thinks my work–whether at home or in the classroom–is important or not. If they think I must spend all day goofing off at home because I’m a SAHM, so what? If they think that teaching college is some cushy, overpaid position, so what? It’s not worth my time or energy to try to convince them of the value or effort involved in what I do. When somebody tells me “Sounds like fun!” when I tell them I’m at home with my kids or that I teach college classes, I smile and tell them, “Yup! I am really lucky!” Because, for the most part that’s true. And if they walk away thinking I don’t work as hard as them, who cares?

  47. Michelle April 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    “I feel zero guilt for having a Mom’s night out because I do deserve some pampering and a night being able to hang out without kids.”

    If you mean that as a response to me, then you completely missed the whole point of what I was saying. My point was that you shouldn’t have to justify doing things without your kids by marking it as a special exception, in contrast to all of the time you spend neglecting yourself as a Mommy Martyr. I go out with other adults and leave the kids at home because I enjoy it, not because it’s a special shining moment went I get a break from being my kids’ handmaiden.

  48. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    “Do you think anybody validates and appreciates the person serving your food at McDonald’s? Cleaning the hotel where you stay? Answering the phone at the doctor’s office? Driving the kids’ school bus? Ringing you up at Target?”

    I do appreciate, and thank, such people. So there is at least 1 person doing it. They are doing jobs that I can, and sometimes do, do myself, but I don’t feel like doing that day, so I’m thankfully they’re doing it for me.

    Just because something is hard doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy doing it. Being a mother IS a hard job, but it is a job I love doing full time. If I didn’t love doing it full time, I wouldn’t. I don’t expect anyone to appreciate me or thank me for it, I do it because I want to. But life would be pretty boring if I never did anything that was hard.

  49. Donna April 17, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    “lot of people have jobs that won’t let them leave for things like that.”

    Really? I don’t know of a daycare/school on the planet that allows you to say “sorry, I can’t leave work right now so you’ll just have to deal with my child puking all over the place until my workday is done.” If your kid is sick and you get the call, somebody is going to pick up the kid. End of story. If you happen to have a family member who can do it, great. If you don’t, you’re getting the kid.

    “well I think they are more likely to delicate the parenting jobs to someone else during work hours, (babbysitter, family member) as they can not afford to leave or potentialy lose their job.”

    I didn’t mean single parents in this respect, but no, actually most of us single parents don’t have babysitters who sit around all day just waiting to pick our children up at a moments notice in case they get sick. Some may have family nearby, but definitely not all. And, frankly, convincing anyone – friend, family or babysitter – to expose themselves to your kid with a stomach virus is going to be pretty damn hard.

    But, despite the fact that I know that I can get called any day for a sick kid and there is likely nobody else to get her, I don’t consider myself working as a parent while at work. Despite the fact that my kid can get up any night and there is nobody else to deal with it, I don’t consider myself working as a parent once she goes to bed. Despite the fact that my child is in the next room reading and could ask for something at any time, I don’t consider myself working as a parent right now. It is completely ridiculous to consider yourself working just because someone MIGHT interrupt you.

  50. SOA April 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I can say there is a difference between being on call as a parent and not having them with you. Right now they are at my mother’s house for two days. So I am 100% not on call. I can rest knowing that no one is going to need me for those 48 hours. And yes, it is way more refreshing than when they are here.

    Yes, they go play or sleep or whatever and leave me alone so I am not 24/7 doing stuff for them, but I am still on call meaning at any second I might have to go kiss a boo boo, fix them a meal, break up a fight, stop a tantrum, etc.

    So to me personally, I see and feel a difference. I am totally refreshed and feel great after getting a small break while they are at my mom’s house. I look forward to them. Knowing I can run out to the store at any moment without dragging kids with me. Knowing I can do whatever the heck I want. Its nice. Because free range or not, the fact is you are limited when you are a parent in what you can and cannot do sometimes.

    Heck even when they are in school, I still often feel “on call” because I get called at home sometimes when my son got in trouble or got sick or whatever. Obviously I do relax and stuff when they are at school but I know a call could come and sometimes does.

    Technically I could get a call from my mom that they got hurt bad and I need to meet her at the hospital or I need to come get them because they got sick, but that has only happened once or twice in seven years so I can still relax.

    The rest of the time though I am technically on call 24/7 and no, its not an easy job. Its a fun, cool, rewarding, job a lot of the time, but its still to me “hard”. (especially when you got special needs kids and twins!).

  51. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Well, I have worked jobs where we were not even allowed to bring cellphones nor get personal calls. So I wouldn’t even know my kid was puking everywhere until I left work. I just had to leave my kid (only had one at the time) with someone that could handle puke and poptart guns. Maybe that’s part of the reason I have never used a “normal” daycare nor school.

  52. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Again, though, there is a HUGE difference between “hard” and “entirely deprived of sleep, rest, and food,” which is what the video was claiming.

    I don’t think anybody is saying that parenting is always easy. It’s not. The last two days, when it was too cold here to let the kids play outside for long, reminded me of how rough this winter was, and how much of a difference I’ve felt since it warmed up and we could actually get out of the house. This was a hard winter to be an at-home parent. Two weeks ago, we had a stomach flu in the house: that was hard. Yesterday, my youngest pooped six times (I have no idea what was up with that). I’m not sure if I’d call that “hard,” but it was gross.

    But the idea that being a mom is soooooooo hard that you will never sleep, never enjoy a meal, never sit down, never have any time to do anything you enjoy is just not true, and denying that it’s true is not the same as saying that being a mom is easy. I don’t think being a brain surgeon is easy, but I also don’t think brain surgeons never sleep, eat, or take a shower. (I would certainly not want a brain surgeon in that condition operating on me.)

    Will you get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep when you have a baby? It’s highly unlikely. You’ll probably be lucky to get 3-4 hours at a time. But, you WILL sleep, and if you rest when you can and nap when the baby does, you will probably get enough sleep. You’ll probably have some days when you are sleep-deprived, but you probably won’t have many, if any, nights where you just don’t sleep at all. (I’ve had three kids, the first of whom was a total nightmare about sleep–I don’t think he slept for more than two hours at a time the first year of his life, and he was a poor sleeper until he was at least 3–and in 10 years I think I’ve had maybe 2-3 nights total with literally NO sleep, and in each case it was because a kid was throwing up the whole night.)

    Something can be not easy without being the hardest job in the whole entire world. Something can be difficult without requiring that we never sleep, sit, eat, or relax. If the only way to convince people that being an at-home mom is by lying and saying that we never sleep, never get to enjoy a meal, never have time for a shower, are on our feet the entire day, and never get to enjoy a hobby, then I think we’re better off having people think we don’t work very hard instead of scaring off anybody who might be considering having a baby.

  53. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Also I don’t know how many kids you have, but in my house there is no might about it, someone will need something. It’s just a question of what I can do before the next person needs the next thing.

  54. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    Amanda, kids have needs, for sure. I have three kids who are 9, 4, and 2. I homeschool the oldest, so he always has loads of questions, and my little two need a lot. But, I still don’t feel like I’m “on call” all day.

    Generally, it’s not like every 5 minutes somebody wants something. It’s that there are 30 minute periods where EVERYBODY wants EVERYTHING. The little one poops and lost his ball under the couch, my daughter is hungry and the cat scratched her so she needs a bandaid and she has a very important joke to tell me, AND my oldest is having trouble with his math and his pencil broke and the little kids are keeping him from concentrating all at the exact same time. So I run around like a madwoman for about 25 minutes getting everything done, and then, once the calm sets in, we might be good for another hour or two.

    One thing that has worked to make me less stressed out is to arrange our days around those times, because they seem to happen somewhat predictably. I know there’s always a 4:30 p.m. meltdown, so that’s when it’s screen time. The youngest watches Netflix, the oldest plays Minecraft, and my daughter switches between the two so I can make dinner while people are otherwise occupied. Mid-morning is another rough time, so we take a break from whatever we’re doing around 10:30 and go outside for a walk or to play.

    I don’t know. I am just not on board with the idea that being an at-home mom is super hard or more demanding than other jobs. I would rather be home with my kids than pretty much anything else I could do, and I know that I’d find working all day at most jobs far more stressful and demanding and just overall unpleasant than I find being home. And like any other job, I think that the more positive you are about it, the less difficult and frustrating it seems.

    Which is not to say there aren’t really hard days; life has some super-hard days. But life is not a contest to see who has the hardest job, and if it is, I’m not playing, so I just choose to enjoy where I am and accept that things would be hard no matter what I was doing. Being home with a newborn is hard; standing in front of a classroom 6 weeks after your baby is born wishing you were home with them is hard, too.

  55. pentamom April 17, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    anonymous mom, I think you’ve been saying it very well. It’s not that being a mom is not demanding, often hard, and yes, time-consuming and freedom-limiting.

    It’s just that the ridiculous claims in the video aren’t accurate, and I don’t know about anybody else, but I don’t feel more “appreciated” if being “appreciated” requires making claims that aren’t true about what I do, in order to get people to appreciate it. I feel under-rated because apparently moms don’t rise to the level of being worthy of tribute if they get sufficient sleep, occasionally pursue their own interests in a seated position, and eat regular meals — and I’ve always done all those things except at the low points of pregnancy and the first month after each birth. So I guess I’m not really worthy mom, if being a mom has to be puffed up that much in order to get people to appreciate moms.

  56. Jen (P.) April 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    Well good. I was feeling like a bit of a crab for thinking this video was utter nonsense. Nice to know I’m not alone.

    First of all, how could anyone not have figured out in the first 20 seconds what was going on?

    And did this drive to congratulate mothers for their dedication and unceasing toil exist before we had so many women leaving lucrative careers to stay home and care for their children? I don’t remember it. The counting of the hours spent feeding, cleaning, helping with homework, driving to piano lessons, etc has always seemed ridiculous to me. I’m a parent. I do what needs to be done. Some days it’s hard. Some days it’s not. It’s just life. Is there only value in it if we make it seem like a terrible sacrifice? I certainly don’t think so.

  57. Warren April 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    Wow, either I am doing things really wrong, or most people just don’t get it.

    Amanda, I have spent the majority of my life on call, going out at all hours in all weather. I have a personal best of 56 hours of no sleep. The last two hours of that time was spent with my now oldest when she was a newborn. I came home at 4am, and she was just waking up. Instead of my bride getting up from a sound sleep, I grabbed my girl, a beer, and her and I watched a WKRP reruns together. After she had a bottle, and I had my bottle, we both went to sleep.

    As an early riser I was always up by 5am, even on weekends. My routine would be go out for coffee, read the paper, and bring back a tea for my wife. After kids, the only thing that changed was they came with me. My youngest made that trip when she was only 5 days old.

    All these parents that think they have to change their whole life for their kids, are their own worst enemy.

    Hell, for the most part my kids preferred to hang out in the garage/shop with dad and his friends, than watch tv or play video games. Besides, they make great little bartenders. LOL.

    I have never ever seen parenting as a job, a task or anything like that. It has always been a pleasure.

  58. Warren April 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Gonna be completely blunt.

    If being a mom or dad is that damn tough, that much of a job for you, then you were not mature enough, nor anywhere near ready enough to have kids in the first place.

    I have never been one to try and make every moment a teaching moment, or a landmark moment. But every minute I have spent with my kids has enriched my life.

  59. anonymous mom April 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    @Warren, I’m guessing you never changed six poopy diapers in one 10-hour period, or have repressed any memories of having done so. Every act of parenting isn’t pleasurable or enriching. Doesn’t mean that at-home parent still isn’t a pretty sweet gig.

  60. Celeste April 17, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Yay for moms and dads everywhere! I do believe it is one of the hardest “jobs” there is. Yes, it is. Because we put our hearts and souls into it, every day, without being compensated with a salary or a promotion or a year-end bonus. The hours are long, there’s no paid vacation to look forward to, so in that sense, no “break” — it’s unrelenting…But worth it. What’s so wrong with reminding people (aka guilting people ;-)) into calling their moms on Mothers Day?!?! Yeah, self-absorbed 20-something: go out and spring a few bucks for a card, pick her some flowers, take her to lunch. It’s a nice thing to do. Moms and dads like to be appreciated and recognized just like anyone else who puts their all into any important task. What’s the big deal? It’s just a cheesy ad disguised as a YouTube video or whatever. It’s not even remotely clever. To me, the whole ‘if it’s so hard you’re not doing it right’ backlash reaction to this crap is sillier than the video itself. Doing it right? Please.

  61. Andrea April 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    I think what’s difficult about parenting is that the situation is always changing. The difficult part comes with a new change. At first, with each of my newborn babies, it did tend to be difficult to get a shower until I figured out a routine that worked for us. Then I got to sit in a chair a lot for a while, and do what I wanted while they napped. Then, when each of them started crawling, I was on my feet all day for a while as we all figured out exactly what they were interested in climbing/opening/destroying. Then once we got a system, I could coast. For a while, when one or both of my kids was under five and needy, I did feel like I was constantly on duty, making sure I wasn’t neglecting one for the other. But then I got the hang of it, found a balance, and now things run pretty smoothly (at ages 4 & 7).

    I should add, also, that I’ve suffered from chronic pain, sometimes severe, for the majority of my time as a parent. I’m almost all healed now, but sometimes I did feel like in this video, because when you’re in pain, everything more tiring, and it feels like everything is a challenge all day long. But even so, and even as somebody who committed to attachment parenting, I could always remember that whatever was so difficult was just a phase. That has turned out to be true.

  62. SKL April 17, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    Amanda, regarding being “on call.” My brother is a hospice nurse. He doesn’t get to tell people “can you wait until 9am to die?” Hello.

    My dad was an electrician. The union contract in his shop required that an electrician be called in to fix anything electrical that went on the fritz – including a freakin’ light bulb. The whole factory would shut down until my dad got out of bed at 2am to go change the light bulb. Yeah, that’s “on call,” and no, he didn’t get to count his sleeping hours as “working.”

    Another of my brothers is a computer troubleshooter. Whenever there’s a problem stopping work flow, he has to go there and stay there until the problem is fixed – all night long if need be.

    My sister breeds and raises dogs, who have unscheduled needs just like kids to. Same thing for the owners of the nearby horse riding farm, or any farm I guess. Zoo keepers, forest rangers, etc. On call all the time.

    As for me, I’m a business owner, and I have to handle certain emergencies as they arise. My business owns a couple of buildings where all sorts of things happen with the structure or the renters. The elevator breaks during a wedding reception at midnight. Guess who gets a call? The wind blows something off the roof … there’s a break-in … someone needs access to the building to fix a water main break, or a thousand other things. We have a deadline of tomorrow and someone at 10pm discovers a problem we have to resolve. And on and on.

    And guess what? All these people are also parents. They also get the call when the kid is sick or injured or did something horrible at school. They also stay up with a puking child all night. They also have to fix the overflowing toilet and deal with the car emergency.

    Personally, when I go to sleep at night I am not working. Sometimes I feel a little guilt about not getting as much work done (for my clients, not my kids) as I planned before sleeping, but I never feel weighed down by the fact that I have sleeping kids downstairs (well, unless they are already sick or injured and I’m wondering when my next puke/blood run is going to be). Nor do I feel that way when my kids are in school. Actually, in the rare event that I get a call from school and need to get my sick kid, I kind of welcome the change of pace. (I could do without the puke in my car, but the rest of it is OK as long as it doesn’t go on all night.) Being a parent, I do not take on responsibilities that would make it impossible to respond to my kids’ emergencies.

    My kids know not to disturb me after their bedtime unless they are really sick, bleeding, or in severe pain. They have known this since they were tots. And before that, they couldn’t open their bedroom door anyway. So no, I don’t feel differently on nights when they are here vs. nights when they are sleeping over at the grandparents’. The main difference is that when they are away, I don’t have to break up my work day to do school drop-off / pickup and the other morning/evening things they need. That said, if they became sick or injured, I’d still be “on call,” because I woudn’t dump that on my ageing parents.

  63. Celeste April 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    AND….Everyone is different, obviously, with different dispositions…But I’ve spent a number of years as a SAHM (a few of them freelancing/earning income but with a flexible schedule so I could be home most of the time), and for the past few years I’ve worked a demanding full-time (~50 hrs/week) day job. Personally, I found being a SAHM more difficult. My day job pays well. I’m exchanging my time and my talents for a financial reward. When I do good work, people acknowledge that and I move up. I’m valued for the contributions I make to the company. I admit it – I like being “appreciated” – both monetarily, and in terms of the feedback I get from people who value my expertise. When I get home at the end of a long day, I’m tired. But I’m so happy to see my kids, read to them, get them ready for bed. On the weekends I just chill out with them. I “appreciate” getting to spend that time with them. Occasionally there’s a crisis at work and I need to take a call or work for a few hours on an evening or weekend. But it’s not the same kind of “on call” as when I was a SAHM. I do applaud and honor mothers and fathers because I think being a parent is one of the most important and challenging jobs there is. This video doesn’t bother me even though it’s dumb over-the-top; it’s just trying to be cute to sell cards. Come on parents, face it: you’re totally awesome!!!

  64. Sandi April 18, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    My daughter has special needs and I don’t find being her mother nearly this bad.

  65. SKL April 18, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    I remember the feeling of being “constantly on high alert” when my kids were around 1.5 and they were potty training (diaper free but needing adult management), as well as trying to learn how to walk/run around without faceplanting. And one of them would eat everything in sight while the other would hardly eat at all. And there were a lot of pressures from other people’s opinions and work demands and parents’ health issues and bla bla bla. It still wasn’t the hardest job in the world, but yes, it was strenuous. But the near constant strain was temporary. And even then, I certainly ate, slept, and showered without mom guilt.

  66. parallel April 18, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Someone mentioned things like this can turn people off from being parents. And hell yeah, it really does. The idea of someone clinging to me and NEEDING me EVERY SECOND of the day is horrifying. If I wasn’t already firm on not wanting kids, things like that would tip me over the edge for sure.

    On a personal note, a lot of the stuff in that ad applies just as well to my cat. At one point he needed medication 14 times a day, including every two hours through the night. For two months. His needs have always come before my own, and he’s an exceptionally needy feline (he’s blind and has a severely compromised immune system, so he tends to get bizarre illnesses.) But I would never cast owning him as a ‘job’…it’s a privilege that I thank my lucky stars for every day…even when he wakes me up at 4am for a snack (by biting my face, no less.)

  67. SKL April 18, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    The thing that convinced me that my mom was awesome was going through “stuff” and then realizing, crap, my mom (a working mom also) did this for SIX kids! And for the most part, I never even sensed that parenting “stuff” bothered her. Like trying to help a struggling child in school (or with other social/emotional/developmental problems). And that’s the truly hard part about being a parent, right? It has nothing to do with hours of sleep, standing on one’s feet, etc.

  68. Warren April 18, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    Yes it was enriching, as I saw episodes like that as a test of my person. Which I passed, because not once did I ever complain or resent those times.
    “What does not kill you, only makes you stronger.”

  69. J.T. Wenting April 18, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    Same idiocy’s been going on here, promoted by feminist groups and labour unions, for over a decade.
    Few years ago the goal became clear: they want mothers to receive a salary from the government as compensation for raising the next generation of citizens.
    So effectively they want every mother to become a union card carrying government worker, creating the next batch of voters for the people appointed by those same groups to be the next government (they bet on people not voting for those who would deny them their free money).

  70. Celeste April 18, 2014 at 12:51 am #

    Correct SKL, but guess what? Even though your mom didn’t let on that it was hard for her…..It WAS hard for her plenty of the time! And even though you weren’t aware that things bugged her…they DID bug her plenty of the time. That’s beautiful, right? That’s just one of the hard parts of being a mom. It’s difficult and fulfilling – just like most jobs. This puts it in perspective, from Hallmark’s POV at least..scroll through. 😉

  71. Celeste April 18, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    um…having a cat is not the same as being a parent. being a loving pet owner is awesome too, but…no. caring for a cat is not the same as being a parent and raising a child to adulthood. it is a different awesome, and a different difficult.

  72. SOA April 18, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    This just shows how differently one person can feel from the next person.

    I know a couple moms who were working moms for a long time and were also stay at home moms. They say staying at home was harder. So there must be something to that about it being a lot of work to be a stay at home parent.

    SKL: Yes, you don’t worry about getting called while the kids are in school because at most that only happens a couple times a year. Whereas another parent can be called daily by the school (that was my reality last year).

    Everyone has different kids and stressors and adapting capabilities and life situations.

    I would not tell someone who claims being a parent is tiring and hard work that they are full of it unless I walked a mile in their shoes.

    I am surprised I am the only one that seemed to be more concerned with wasting these people’s time when they are obviously in need of employment. That bothered me way more than the whole being a parent is hard work part. I really hope they did not like turn down another job interview for this fake job interview.

  73. Jenny Islander April 18, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    Tonight I’m up at five past frackit in the morning because the one who gets every germ right in the lungs coughed so hard she cried herself awake, the little ‘un is crying in his sleep and needs to be able to see me, and the one person with a job at this point has I’m sick, but he’s sicker. A couple days ago all three of the kids, even the four year old, were outside for hours and I have no idea where they went. (I did define a zone past which they were not to go without securing permission in advance lest they face the Wrath of Mom.) I spent a blissful afternoon listening to my music while doing some chores. It evens out.

    If your child is behaviorally and physically capable broadly consonant with their calendar age and currently not sick, but you’re feeling like a hospital intern, something has to change. That is not normal and it is not okay!

    Kid with the lung thing is fretting, must go.

  74. anonymous mom April 18, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    The isare with the video is not that it encourages appreciating parents, but that it lies to garner that appre iation. If the reason you are supposed to appreciate your mom is because she never slept, enjoyed a meal, sat down, or took a moment for herself, I guess there’s nobody who should really appreciate their mother, because nobody does that. (The point isn’t that these mom’s who talk about never sleeping or showering are doing parenting wrong, but that they are lying.)

    If you think you have to lie (or, at least, wildly exaggerate) to get people to appreciate mothering, that means you don’t think the reality of mothering is worth appreciating. That isn’t validating. I want my family to appreciate what I actually do, which thankfully they do, not appreciate me for a bunch of b.s. I spout about how I work harder than anybody at the world’s most important task and never sleep, rest, or have fun. That’s guilt-tripping, not cultivating appreciation.

    I’m not above sometimes reminding my oldest that I spent 4 hours pushing out his 16″ head, so he can take two minutes to pick his socks up off the floor and put them in the hamper. But I’m not going to pretend that parenting is basically a cross between slavery and torture in order to get people to value me.

  75. Donna April 18, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    “I have never ever seen parenting as a job, a task or anything like that.”

    I agree with Warren on this. Unlike Warren, I don’t view every moment as a pleasure (and I think he is full of crap when he says this). There are plenty of times that are trying and many that are mind-numbing boring. But I never define it as work or a job. It is just life … family. It is something I choose to do that I could have easily avoided all together. And, honestly, every aspect of life can be trying and boring at times.

    Okay, I do view cooking dinner every night as a chore, but I am not a big nighttime eater so it is not something I would do for myself much of the time if it were just me.

    I stayed home for the first 15 months, and once the screaming stopped at 6-9 months, I thought it was soooooooooooooooo much easier than working. The only real challenge was the lack of mental stimulation for me. I was ready to go back to work to do something other than play peek-a-boo and not because I thought being home was hard work. I think that is what many mean when they say being home is harder than working — the isolation, lack of adult company, lack of adult stimulation — not that caring for children itself is harder than working.

  76. Stacy April 18, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    I like expressions of appreciation for the important and often thankless tasks of parenting, but gross exaggerations (and actors pretending to be surprised in a fake video) aren’t really helpful. So many friends have posted it, yet I couldn’t make it through the whole thing because I was cringing too much. Most of my friends with kids really need to hear the opposite message. You don’t need to be on your feet 24/7 trying to be a perfect mom. Really, your kids will be better off if you teach them that the world — including your world — doesn’t revolve around their every desire.

    My life was not fun for about six months when I had a colicky baby who had to remain upright at all times, two kids who were just learning to be a little independent, and a husband who worked constantly. But even then I read books while nursing with my feet up and ate every meal. Now, my kids are pretty self-sufficient. There are moments when it’s an impossibly hard job (getting everyone to do their chores and not kill each other yesterday while I had a migraine and they all were in bad moods comes to mind) and moments when I’m chilling while they’re all off playing some awesome pretend game outside together and the oldest girl takes care of the youngest when she hurts her knee (which also happened yesterday).

  77. anonymous mom April 18, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    I think there’s a difference between the idea that parenting is a job and that parenting involves work. Parenting involves a variety of different tasks. Like, I’d consider changing a diaper to be a task. I’d consider bathing kids to be a task. But, I don’t see parenting itself as my job or as a task I need to do. I have a part-time job teaching, and the rest of the time I’m home caring for my kids. I don’t consider myself to have two jobs. When the semester ends next week (yay!), if I’m asked about work, I’ll say I’m not working. I don’t think that means that I’m sitting on my butt eating cookies and watching TV all day, just that I’m not working in the sense we normally mean it, doing labor for an employer or client in exchange for a paycheck.

    I’m an introvert, so honestly the lack of adult interaction doesn’t bother me that much. If I go a week or two on end only seeing my kids and husband, then I definitely feel the need to get out and talk to another adult, but I can manage a while happily alone with my thoughts. It’s the lack of quiet that bothers me much more. It’s easier now that I don’t have two under two (that was LOUD), but I know I’ve had days where I would do pretty much anything to have five minutes of silence.

    My sanity-saver has been audiobooks and audio lectures. My life at home was revolutionaized when I discovered them. Suddenly I could watch the kids playing outside or clean the house or sit on the floor building block towers for the kids to knock over for an hour and be reading a book or hearing a lecture at the same time. I think it helps to figure out, if you are feeling frustrated and unfulfilled and overburdened by whatever work you are doing (and I mean work in the sense of the things you need to do that day, not paid employment), to try to figure out why and make adjustments. For me, the big things were lack of quiet (so in came the afternoon quiet hour, where my kids are allowed to nap or read or even play on tablets, just so long as they are quiet) and the lack of interesting ideas and learning (a tough adjustment when you have your first kid in your 5th year of grad school and your work has heretofore been discussing big ideas and interesting books with smart people), which audio lectures and audiobooks have really helped me with.

    But I will routinely sit down, sometimes alone and sometimes with my husband, when I’m feeling really overwhelmed or just kind of resentful about what I’m doing and brainstorm changes I can make. When I realized I was spending much more time than I wanted tracking down the one sippy cup in the entire house that my youngest would drink out of, and that was making me very crabby, I decided it was time for him to lose the sippy and start drinking out of a cup. When having two kids in cloth diapers got to the point where I wanted to either cry or scream everytime somebody needed a change, they went into disposables. If I’m spending more time cleaning up toys than my kids are spending playing with them, it’s probably time to go through the toys and donate about half to Goodwill, so there’s less to make messes with and less to clean. If you are really overwhelmed or overextended by parenting–or any other task–you probably need to sit down, figure out exactly what the problem area or areas are, and come up with a plan.

  78. anonymous mom April 18, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    @Stacy, watching kids with a migraine is the worst! Well, doing ANYTHING other than laying down in a dark, silent room with a migraine is pretty hellish, but I’ve had days where I wake up with a headache and know it’s going to be at least eight hours until my husband gets home and I can have some quiet, and that is just a horrible, miserable feeling.

  79. Donna April 18, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    I also don’t get why parents expect appreciation from society for being a parent regardless of how much effort you put into it. You had children for YOU, not society. Why should society now give you a cookie for doing something it never asked you to do to start with? (Foster parents and those who adopt children from state custody do deserve a cookie from society).

    Nor are there many other jobs where you get universal appreciation from society. Heck, my job does happen to benefit society (protecting the rights of the accused helps ensure your rights), and I still don’t expect society to call me up and say “thanks for protecting my rights,” regardless of how many hours and how much effort I put into it. It would be nice to occasionally get some appreciation from my clients, but I expect nothing from the rest of society in general.

    Likewise, it would be nice if my kid occasionally appreciated everything I do for her (and I think she does somewhat), but I expect nothing from society. And I my kid would not believe for one second if I told her that I worked 135 hours a week, never slept, never ate, never sat down because I was too busy being her mother. She lives with me and knows that that is not remotely true. So who are these lies for?

  80. anonymous mom April 18, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    Donna, that’s what I was trying to say above. I think some SAHMs, especially those who haven’t had much outside employment, don’t realize how little appreciation comes with nearly every job. I suppose that if you are performing life-saving surgeries, you might have people frequently telling you how amazing and wonderful and necessary what you do is. But, that’s the rare exception.

    Society doesn’t pat me on the back for teaching, even though I think it’s a job that contributing something relatively valuable and important to society. The department administrators almost never thank me. My students almost never thank me. The occasions when I *am* appreciated as a teacher (when I got a thank you card in my departmental mailbox from an administrator, when a student who worked at Krispy Kreme brought me a dozen donuts at the end of the term, which was AWESOME) are rare enough to be very memorable. On the other hand, I can’t count the times that my kids and husband have told me they loved me or thanked me for something I did for them. There is no question in my mind that I get more validation and appreciation as a mother than I do as a teacher, even if neither gets me many accolades from “society”. Honestly, I can’t even imagine what “society” appreciating and valuing any of my work would look like.

    Who cares what other people think about what you do? Again, life is not a contest where the winner is whoever has the hardest job. If it was, you or I wouldn’t win anyway. So just stop playing the game of “See how hard I work!” in an effort to get other people to appreciate you (they won’t–they’ll just think you are a liar, a person with a martyr complex, or incompetent) and realize that being a grown up means doing what’s got to be done whether people praise you for it or not.

  81. Beth Holmes April 18, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    I used to call my parenting style “Selfish parenting” because I didn’t do everything for my child and would even put my needs ahead of hers at times. For example if I was sitting chatting with a friend and my daughter needed something I would ask her to wait — or to try and get it herself because I was busy. Then some of friends said that what I was really doing should be called “Empowering Parenting”.

  82. Celeste April 18, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    The “job description” is just a gag, though. Of course it’s an exaggeration to say that every hour round the clock is hard and thankless when you’re a mom. But to apply for that “job”, if it were a job, an employer might well be looking for a candidate who is willing and able to do all these things, so when the going gets tough they know they can handle it. You needn’t be perfect – no one is – but you must at least be up to the challenge! When some of the trying tasks of being a full-time caregiver of a young child are laid out in the job description format – wow, it reads pretty intense. You’ve either got to be really crazy to WANT that job, or….punch line….you’ve got to really love your kids & your family. Love is the secret sauce, and hence the sappy expressions of adoration at the end by the fake interviewees. The fact that billions of people around the world do it and that womankind has been doing it since the beginning of time doesn’t make motherhood any less special. Also there’s nothing about this annoying video that implies that when they get older kids can’t do stuff for themselves. The job description is obviously focused on baby/toddler parenting, when parenting is usually at its most arduous. Then again, kids are usually highly adorable and entertaining in those years, so yeah – it evens out!

  83. Liz April 18, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    As a parent who adopted through the foster care system, I’d like to point out that most of us don’t want to be perceived as some kind of exception to the rule, people who save children and deserve special appreciation from society. That sort of thinking, while well intentioned, puts a weird type of stigma on our children, who by association are then perceived as charity cases who should feel so lucky to have been adopted/saved. The majority of adoptive parents choose adoption for the same reasons most other people have children – because we want to be parents; and adoption is just another way of building a family.

  84. kurokami77 April 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    I have a slightly different take on this. I’m a mother who is just starting to see the light at the end of the toddler tunnel. While some of the video is an exaggeration, it sums up how the last seven years of my life have gone.

    My kids are each 2 years apart, so for much of those years I’ve had toddler and newborn together. Very little sleep, very little food (I actually had to set alarms to remind me to eat because I I’d get so busy I’d forget to), and as a SAHM with a husband who wasn’t as helpful as he could have been, it certainly did feel unending 24 hours a day. On the other hand, I did sit down quite a bit – a little too much, according to the husband who felt that there shouldn’t be leftover chores for him to help with, either.

    So I didn’t see this as describing every single stage of motherhood, but the very beginning of it. As such, it was extremely encouraging to me. I’ll be so grateful to say goodbye to the baby and toddler stage forever.

  85. Celeste April 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I feel ya, Kurokama. But it seems that anonymous mom and a few others on this board think you’re a liar and/or you’re doing it wrong, because that hasn’t been their experience and your expression of your experience is not validating for them.

  86. anonynmous mom April 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Look, if somebody tells me they never sleep, never have time to eat, and never sit down–especially when they are claiming this ON THE INTERNET–they are lying. Period. First of all, if you never ate or slept, you’d be dead. That’s just basic biology. And, I’m not buying that you never have any down time when you post 12 times a day to Facebook, sorry.

    My little two are 16 months apart in age. It was hard at times, for sure. And, as I said above, about eight months after my youngest was born, my husband because extremely ill and we spent months with him in and out of the hospital and going to doctors to get a diagnosis and unable to do anything around the house. (Before he got sick, I had sometimes felt like he did “nothing” around the house. Once he was literally able to do NOTHING–at times he didn’t have the energy to make it up and down the stairs, much less do any household chores or any childcare–I realized how much the “nothing” I felt he had been doing really was.) I was exhausted and busy and overwhelmed, and many days I did feel like I was going from the moment the kids woke up until they went to sleep.

    But, I didn’t get no sleep. In fact, even on really bad days, when I felt like I had gotten no sleep, I probably got 4-5 hours. 4-5 hours of sleep is no fun, but it’s not “no sleep.” I may have missed a meal here or there, but I never just didn’t get to eat all day because I was so busy. I know I spent countless hours on the phone with insurance companies and doctors’ offices and labs,m so my time wasn’t totally consumed with the kids and housework. It was hard, but it was no harder than what many people deal with daily, and even on the absolute hardest days, I knew that I wasn’t the hardest-working person in the world or even close to it. (One thing I kept reminding myself of was that it ended up being fortunate that I hadn’t gotten assigned teaching that term, because, while the money would have been nice, trying to juggle teaching on top of everything else would have been much more difficult.)

  87. Amanda Matthews April 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    “Generally, it’s not like every 5 minutes somebody wants something. It’s that there are 30 minute periods where EVERYBODY wants EVERYTHING.”

    Yes, this is true. The problem is, in the couple of hours between that I have to get everything else done. Cooking, my share of the housework, as well as making things to sell and dealing with customers. So there is hardly ever a time where I can sit and play a game uninterrupted for an hour or two. And with most games that means I pretty much can’t play.

    Again, I’m not saying I don’t want the job of mother. If I didn’t want it, I would get a different job. I HAVE had outside employment, several different kinds, for years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. I was also a single mom, both a working single mom and a work-from-home single mom at times. If I ever didn’t like a job, I left it and got another. Eventually I decided that I prefer the full time job of mother and part time self-employment.

    Maybe other people who are constantly on call don’t consider themselves always working… okay, good for them. Everyone I know that has times of being on-call consider those times to be work time because of the way it limits you, but that’s neither here nor there. Personally I would not take a job like that unless I WANTED to be always working at it, unless I fully embraced it like that. It would be too draining for me to take the job of mother, on-call park ranger, doctor etc. unless it was what I WANTED to be 24/7. I wouldn’t be happy, and I don’t see the point of living life unhappily.

    And just because I WANT to do it, doesn’t make it not a job, doesn’t make it not work. I think everyone should have a job they want to do. If it wasn’t a job/work we wouldn’t have to pay people to do parts of it – nannies, teachers etc. My husband pays me in “room and board” and spending money; if I wasn’t doing this job, he’d have to pay someone else to do it.

  88. anonynmous mom April 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    And one last thing: in the house, mom’s attitude is contagious. If I am constantly grumbling about the chores and feeling resentful about the demands on me, my kids–surprise, surprise–complain about being asked to do anything and don’t show any appreciate for what I do. If I focus on being grateful and tell them how lucky I am to get to be home with them and show them that I enjoy caring for them, they are far more likely to help me out and be grateful.

    Nobody thanks a martyr. I know that, in many cases, people have partners who are ungrateful or disrespectful, and that sucks and is a problem that needs to be dealt with. (And, that goes both ways. I can sometimes forget that my husband’s day at work is no picnic and that he is working to provide for us and I need to appreciate and value that, instead of just taking it for granted.) But, in other cases, I do think that if you go about your day feeling bitter and resentful because you are so sure nobody appreciates the amazing and important and incredibly difficult work you are doing, you really shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t respond to you with gratitude and validation. You don’t guilt people into true gratitude.

  89. SKL April 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Another thing about being a mom. Again, I’m a single mom with a full-time job. So I’m kinda busy. When my kids came home they were 9mos and 12mos, didn’t know or like me, didn’t understand English, weren’t on any kind of schedule I could accommodate, had no experience with the foods available here, one of them had a skin problem, the other one wouldn’t eat, and though I was technically on adoption leave, I still had to work part-time and I was in the process of starting a new career, figuring out how to find a nanny, etc. The adoption professionals tell you that you should not let anyone help you with the baby’s hands-on needs, as that could delay attachment. As soon as we got home, exhausted and tired, we all came down with a cold. It was awesome, I tell ya.

    So here is what I found out about motherhood. YOU CAN SKIP STUFF. Even the important stuff. If you sleep in and your kid is already crying in her crib when you wake up, nobody is gonna die. If your kid has to wait a little for a diaper change because you can’t drag your body out of bed any faster, she will not expire. If you don’t change her clothes for a day or more, nobody is going to care. She can crawl in the dust and it will actually make her healthier. She can go a day without a bath. You can give your 10-month-old cow’s milk because you ran out of formula. You can dump a pile of dry cereal in their vicinity if you don’t feel up to serving a Supermeal. You can lie down and sleep while they are in their pen if you need to. Yes, I did these things and my kids survived.

    Now if I was a fireman, policeman, nurse, and a whole list of other folks, while on the clock, I couldn’t just say “hell, I don’t feel like firefighting right now. I’m taking a nap.” People could die.

  90. Amanda Matthews April 18, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    “Now if I was a fireman, policeman, nurse, and a whole list of other folks, while on the clock, I couldn’t just say “hell, I don’t feel like firefighting right now. I’m taking a nap.” People could die.”

    Oh please. Another fireman would just be called in. There is no one single person in the world that is so important that no one else can do their job.

  91. anonymous mom April 18, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    If I were looking to hire a full-time nanny for my kids, and somebody told me, “I think caring for kids involves never sleeping, forgetting to eat most meals, never setting down because you are constantly catering to their every whim, and never taking a single moment for myself, ever,” I would not hire that person. I wouldn’t not imagine that somebody who had so little regard for basic self-care could take competent care of my children, especially when they could do the job while getting decent sleep, eating healthy meals, and taking some time for themselves. If we wouldn’t want a nanny or day care worker caring for our kids who never slept, never showered, ate erratically, and never took a rest, why would we think that being a good parent requires we do that?

  92. anonymous mom April 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    And just one last thought: if somebody was looking for a full-time nanny, or an adoptive parent, or a wife to be the future mother of their children, and made the list of job requirements in the video their job requirements, we’d think that person was a horrid, unrepentent douchebag. At the very least, we’d think they were an unfair, unrealistic, overly-demanding boss and we would not like them. We would not think their insane expectations were a virtue.

    Being a bad boss to yourself is not a virtue, either. It’s still just being a bad boss. If you think that giving yourself a workload that means you can’t sleep, eat, shower, or sit is okay, you are a bad boss. Part of being an at-home parent, in my experience, is learning how to be both a good employee (so that you do the things you need to do) and a good boss (so that you are realistic about what truly needs to be done).

  93. Donna April 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    “Oh please. Another fireman would just be called in. There is no one single person in the world that is so important that no one else can do their job.”

    While it is correct that many other people can do my job, if you pay ME to do my job and I fail to do it at 100%, then you are chillin’ in prison or your kid in foster care. Same with a fireman. Sure, lots of people can be firemen, but they don’t call out every potential fireman in hopes that one will come and put out the fire. They call ONE, and if that one doesn’t come or that one comes but doesn’t feel like doing his job 100%, the building burns down and people may die.

    As SKL said, I can pick and choose what I will do for my child and my house. Don’t want to mop the floors this week? Don’t; the house isn’t going to fall in. Don’t feel like cooking dinner? Go out; eat cereal. Don’t feel like giving the kid a bath? Don’t; kid’s not going to die from being dirty for a day. Need to take a shower? Pop the kid into something confining and do it; he isn’t going to die if he cries for a few minutes while you shower. Kid wants a snack while I am doing something else? She can wait or get something she can do herself. There is really very little at home that I HAVE to do right then.

    Personally, I don’t view myself as having two jobs. I have one job – lawyer. My child is not a job. My house is not a job. My boyfriend is not a job. They can all be tiresome chores at times, but they are simply part of my chosen life not jobs. I didn’t consider them my job when that was all that I did. I don’t consider them a second job now that I work.

  94. JJ April 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    The other thing is this. Isn’t the sentiment this video is getting at outdated? My husband works at parenting every bit as hard as I do in terms of commitment to the kids, hours spent, etc. Why should mothers get all the credit?

  95. Emmy April 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    Is it part of our “praise the workaholic” mindset? Far be it from me to arrange anyone else’s priorities, but I think, in general, those who work harder than most others want to.and they reset the bar. Suddenly, if you have a different value system than the “hard” worker, you are doing it wrong. Sue values spending every moment with her kids, but Ann takes a daily shower while her kids are safely diverted. Ann is a bad mom.

    If you aren’t giving 110 percent you are giving 0

  96. Warren April 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Why do so many people need others to tell them they did a good job, or tell them they are a hero, and so on.

    You have to be pretty insecure if you need to be praised by others.

    Pride and satisfaction in a job well done is all anyone should ever need. And that includes parenting. You should be fine with seeing how your kids turn out. You should be fine with the satisfaction of a job well done.

  97. Celeste April 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    Why do so many people feel compelled to tell other people the way they should feel or act?

  98. pentamom April 18, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    “Even though your mom didn’t let on that it was hard for her…..It WAS hard for her plenty of the time!”

    No one’s talking about “not hard.” The point is that SKL, having two eyes, would have noticed if her mother never sat down, slept, or ate a meal unless the kids “let” her. And what SKL noticed, and what I noticed about my hardworking mom, who raised five kids, helped in the family business for at least a couple of hours several days a week, and looked after her own aging parents, is that it’s not like that. So why is it necessary to create these absurd counterfactuals in order to demonstrate that motherhood is a lot of hard work? Why just talk about what it actually IS like? Is that not good enough to jerk the tears, impress people, or whatever? If not, why not?

  99. Celeste April 19, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    My my, we interpret everything literally around here don’t we. See, “I didn’t get any sleep last night,” actually means “I didn’t get enough sleep.” It’s called hyperbole I think. And “I’ve got a million things to do,” means “I’ve got many things to do.” And “My kid’s got a ton of homework,” means “My child has what I consider to be a great deal of homework.” I find it funny that the people who sound all martyr complex judgmental/preachy on here are the ones who claim they’re not bitter and don’t need any validation, and yet they try so hard to prove that they somehow have everything figured out for everyone else. That’s called irony I think. When I say, “I hope all you moms get treated like queens on Mother’s Day, and that all you dads get treated like kings on Father’s Day,” I don’t actually mean like with a crown and scepter and royal palace guards and stuff. It’s an expression, see, and my opinion is that parents work hard and deserve to be celebrated once in awhile for all they do every day for their families. So I wish that for each of you – in whatever way you feel most comfortable accepting that wish. Peace!

  100. Warren April 19, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    You need a healthy dose of reality.

    Lives are not on the line, for what I do. But when that phone rings and a transport, or firetruck, or whatever has tire issues, I do not, and cannot say “Not this time.”
    Why, because I will lose customers, and contracts. Which can and will lead to losing my business.

    And those firefighters you mentioned…..the ones I know wouldn’t do that. They have too much integrity and pride.

    Time Amanda for you to get some real world experience. No another cop, paramedic or firefighter isn’t just called in. Availablity isn’t that easy. And if I have to come in on my day off, to cover your sorry ass, you will definitely hear about it.

  101. SKL April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Some things in life are hard. That does not mean it’s best for society if we encourage people to moan about the normal situation of motherhood. Every once in a while you have a mom blogger going on and on about how many times she had to negotiate with her preschooler today and how many diapers she had to change and wah wah wah. Meanwhile this is a stay at home parent who has a working spouse and utilizes out-of-home day care for at least some of the kids. What if some dad bloggers got online and went on for a whole page about how hard it was to deal with the wife and kids in the morning, then go to work and deal with obnoxious people A and B and C and D and have a copier jam and have the computer reboot in the middle of a document that didn’t get saved, and wah wah wah and then somebody dipped into his lunch that he left in the fridge and the coffee tasted horrible and wah wah and the traffic, OMG the traffic the traffic OMG what what was that a-hole thinking and FINALLY when he gets home he has to eat lukewarm food while the baby screeches and throws food and his wife tells him about the latest tiff with the mother-in-law. Then his wife asks HIM to give the kid a bath! SHEESH! Of course the kid howls having his hair washed and doesn’t want to go to bed and THEN he is asked to take out the GARBAGE too?? Made him miss part of his evening show. Around 10pm he gets an email warning him of an emergency he’s going to have to deal with at work tomorrow. And to top it all off, his wife snores so he hardly gets any sleep. Life is hard, man. Don’t you all want to subscribe to that man blog? I know you do.

  102. anonymous mom April 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    @SKL, exactly. Why is it cute when SAHMs complain about how much they have to do, when we would think it was appalling if a father complained about having to do parenting things or that a working mom who complained about having to feed and bathe and spend time with her kids after work was being selfish? It’s not cute. Be like very other grown up, accept that some days (and probably some of most days) is going to be hard, and do what you need to do without playing the martyr. If my husband came home every day complaining about how exhausting and awful and stressful it was to have to work to provide for our family, and how he never had any time for himself and that just sucked, I don’t think anybody would think he deserved any extra-nice card on Father’s Day. They’d think he needed an attitude adjustment. So do SAHMs who feel so resentful about what they have to do.

    And, this “I’m so busy I can’t sleep!” stuff is not innocent. It helps create the unrealistic expectations that make mothers miserable. I remember reading Dr. Sears’ baby book when my youngest was born, and reading about how his wife learned to “pamper herself” by taking a daily shower. I felt like, what is wrong with me that I don’t consider a shower–something that takes me five minutes from start to finish–to be pampering myself? Am I terribly selfish that I see a morning shower as a daily necessity, not some luxury I can allow myself (and then count as my “pampering time” for the day)? With all of my kids, I was in the shower at the hospital the morning after they were born. I don’t feel like a human being if I don’t shower.

    And, it’s excuse-making. I have had days where I don’t shower. Why? I wasted time. Unless a mom has a newborn, a sick child, a special needs child, multiples, or some other extenuating circumstance, I pretty much guarantee that if she has no time to shower, it’s because she’s mismanaging her time. Part of what’s hard about being a SAHM, in my experience, is that you really are only accountable to yourself for how you spend your time. If you waste all morning on Facebook and blogs and Pinterest, nobody calls you on it. If you do decide to put off the chores, nobody calls you on it. So you can create situations for yourself where you find yourself overwhelmed, because you let stuff go that does need to get done, and suddenly, because you didn’t do 3 things every day, you have one day where you have 20 things to do and you feel totally overwhelmed. It’s hard, especially at first, to figure out how to manage your days so that you do what needs to get done.

    But, all we do is make women seem weak and incompetent and unable to do hard things if we indulge SAHMs in constantly whining about how exhausted and stressed they are and then patting them on the head and condescending to them by telling them they have the hardest job in the world. Being a parent isn’t easy. Being a grown-up, it turns out, isn’t particularly easy. But you rise to the occasion instead of whining all the time and expecting others to tell you how hard you work and how important what you do is, you poor little thing.

  103. SOA April 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    I am a big believer in the Love Languages theory. One of the love languages is words of affirmation. That is actually my love language. So the best way to make me feel loved and happy is through praise and compliments from my loved ones. The worse way to hurt me is mean words from my loved ones. So, yes, some people who have that as their love language need words of affirmation.

    While I could give a crap about getting gifts from people (which is another love language), you would make me much happier just to tell me I look pretty or I am a good mom or my house looks nice or I am a good friend, etc.

  104. SOA April 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I am going to disagree that men are not allowed to complain. My husband complains about work when appropriate and I happily listen to him and try to comfort him and make him feel better about it by venting to me. He vents to me about childcare duties too or housework duties as well. I don’t get pissed he complains about something. I just get pissed if it is excessive or if he just doesn’t do it. I would put that same standards on everyone.

    Its okay to vent or whine a bit here and there to make yourself feel better, just make sure to not be excessive and make sure that what needs to get done gets done which is important first and foremost.

  105. pentamom April 19, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Celeste — if it were just general hyperbole like “I didn’t get any sleep last night” or “I have a million things to do,” I’d have no objection. But the setup here was an interviewer describing to a job applicant the supposed actual requirements of the job she was being considered for. No competent interviewer says to an employee, “Here’s the job: you’re going to have a million things to do and you’re going to work night and day.” If they inform you the job requires 50 hours a week, they don’t mean “a lot.” If they tell you the job involves not *ever* eating until your co-workers are satisfied, that’s what they mean. If the commercial intended to portray a situation in which we’re supposed to conclude that the interviewer was someone who should be terminated for incompetence, then that’s dumb on another level, but of course I think we all know that wasn’t the point.

    So in this case, the setup was framed in terms of a situation in which the requirements described would normally be understood to be literal, not colloquial or hyperbolic. And still, they said ridiculous things like “work 135 hours a week” and “never sit down.” That’s what’s objectionable.

  106. anonymous mom April 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    I think there’s a difference between the occasional vent and truly believing that you are doing the hardest job in the world and that you are more put-upon than anybody else.

    I don’t like whining from my kids, and I don’t like it from grown-ups, either. If you are simply complaining for a minute about something annoying, because you just need to get it out and move on, that’s fine. But, at a certain point, you’ve got two options: change your circumstances or change your attitude. Continually whining and complaining is not one of the choices.

    At the very least, it’s not good for the person complaining. We all need the occasional vent, but life tends to go a lot smoother if you smile and show some gratitude–even if you have to fake it–than if you constantly focus on being under-appreciated for your hard work. I think we’d be hard-pressed to find many adults who aren’t under-appreciated for what they do, regardless of what it is. You don’t solve that by arguing that you are the most under-appreciated, but by showing appreciation for what you have and what others do.

    If people were saying, “SAHMs do nothing but sit on their butts eating ice cream and browsing Pinterest all day” I’d be the first to say that’s not true, and anybody who thinks that has never spent more than a couple of hours at a time caring for small children. But, when people start with the “Being a SAHM is the hardest-est job in the whole entire universe!” routine, I’ll be the first to call that out as a lie, as well.

  107. pentamom April 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    “The other thing is this. Isn’t the sentiment this video is getting at outdated? My husband works at parenting every bit as hard as I do in terms of commitment to the kids, hours spent, etc. Why should mothers get all the credit?”

    It was a greeting card company ad for Mother’s Day cards. We’ll see if they do something similar foro Father’s Day. Much as I object to the ad, I don’t for this reason, because I don’t think the point was “only mothers do this,” so much as “appreciate what your mother does.”

  108. pentamom April 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Stop me if I’m mistaken, but this isn’t about SAHMs, it’s about motherhood. So I don’t think it’s meant to say that a SAHM is pursuing the hardest vocation of all, just that the mother “job description” is harder than any other “job description.” I still don’t agree, but it’s not a SAHM vs. other jobs thing.

  109. SKL April 19, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Whether the video is about SAHMs is debatable. First, the concept that being a mom is a job in the same sense as any other job you might interview for. Most people don’t generally plan on having 2 jobs / careers. And second, they “job requirements” mentioned imply that you aren’t allowed to do anything else, least of all get away from your kids for 8+ hours a day.

    Also there’s a movement to get motherhood turned into an actual paid job. I know actual human beings who think that their countrymen owe them a living because they have [school-aged] children. Rhetoric like the linked video is used to support this argument.

    Of course if you’re a working mom and you say, “well I take care of my kids’ needs too,” then you are likely to get flack about how you couldn’t be doing it right if you’re only spending part of your day on it and delegating the rest to people who don’t care much. At the very least a working mom had better pretend that she sacrifices every possible waking moment to her kids.

  110. CrazyCatLady April 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Along with the “toughest job”, is the idea that having kids is horribly expensive. I remember seeing things in the doctor’s office when pregnant with each of my kids that said that for supplies alone, that it would cost over $10,000 for the first year. That sure would scare a single mom into trying to think of other options.

    But…people out there are great. The only item I got new besides a few packs of diapers, was a car seat, at about $80. Everyone I knew who had little kids gave me stuff. I had more clothes, toys and supplies than I had room for. I only bought two maternity outfits new, I mostly traded with a friend and picked up some items at yard sales. I only used formula occasionally, and samples pretty much covered my need. I pretty much fed my kids real people food, and they don’t eat much when they are little. I maybe, spent about a $1000 for each kid the first year…and I think I am WAY overestimating.

  111. Donna April 19, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    This isn’t about complaining. Everyone complains and vents from time-to-time. I have absolutely no problem with mothers going on the occasional rant about motherhood. I actually have a much harder time dealing with the flip side – the mothers who insist that motherhood is sunshine and roses all the time and treat you as a pariah if you dare say that you don’t enjoy every single minute of it – than I do the mothers who are willing to speak the frustrations we all feel from time-to-time.

    The occasional complaint is not the same as the “everyone bow down to mothers as they do the hardest job on the planet” attitude of this video. I also am greatly opposed to propagating the belief that we need to appreciate our mothers because they work 135 hours a week, yada, yada, yada when NOBODY actually does that. Or, at least, nobody need to do that to be a great parent and the decision to overwork is 100% on the mother and not what is needed to do the job well. It would be like me insisting that I be appreciated for putting in 70 hours a week when it only takes 40 to get my job done well and the rest of the time is me being a martyr.

    I also admit that I am not a mother’s day/father’s day fan. I have a problem with the attitude of deserving grand appreciation from anyone for taking the effort to take care of something you chose to create. Birth control/abortion/adoption has been such for many years that you absolutely don’t have to be a parent unless you really want to be. While some appreciation from both parents for the effort they each put into raising the shared children would be reasonable, I really don’t see why I should expect anyone else to appreciate my mothering efforts. It was all just my part of the bargain I made with society and my child when I chose to be a parent.

  112. SOA April 19, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    Crazycatlady: Again everyone is different. I got zero hand me downs for my twins. Zero. Everyone I knew that had kids already gave away their hand me downs or had girls or whatever but I got no hand me downs. I hand our stuff down but nobody gives us stuff.

    I did buy some things like toys and clothing used and that was great but not everything.

    I failed at breastfeeding so we had no other choice but to buy formula and the high dollar high calorie formula at that because that is what the doctor said they had to be on.

    So it was pretty freaking expensive. I know some moms with twins or triplets that had to buy a whole new car because most cars cannot fit that many car seats or hold the giant double triple strollers in the trunk. My car barely fit a double stroller and the two car seats, if I had triplets we would have had to buy a new car.

    So that is great you got hand me downs and were able to breastfeed and did not have to pay that much out of pocket. That is truly awesome. But it is not that way for everyone. Every one and every child and every situation is different. So I was happy that I had some guidelines of how much to spend because they actually came in handy and we did have to end up spending it.

  113. SOA April 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    I think we should pay stay at home moms of special needs children but that is kinda a whole other topic. Because those kids get kicked out of daycares or daycares won’t accept them. They have to come get their kid at a moment’s notice when they get suspended from school multiple times for example. They have to spend so many hours dragging those kids around to expensive therapies and testing centers and doctors. They have to attend multiple IEP meetings which they only take place during the school day so during work time. I have to pretty much help him the entire time he does homework since he can’t do it alone. It makes it really really really hard to have a full time job because most employers are not that accommodating.

    I don’t want to work, but if I did or if we needed me to, I don’t think I could. Part time maybe but not full time in a job where they expected me to be there and could not allow me to leave often at a moment’s notice.

    I think it should qualify under some kind of disability payments and some kids you can get disability payments but we and other families like us often don’t qualify as of right now.

    Because if we did not do all those things, then they will never be able to assimilate into society. I bust my butt taking him to therapies and making sure he is taken care of at school and working with him at home etc so that maybe hopefully one day he will be able to support himself and have a job and contribute to society. If these parents are not able to do all those things the kids are going to be stuck on welfare their entire lives not just the childhood years.

    I am sure others will disagree but that is just my outlook on it lately. Kinda spend money now on these families to help them out so that in the future, maybe they won’t have to go on disability for the rest of their lives. We get by. But there are many other families that don’t. I know some of them personally and its hard for them. The single mom of 4 kids two of which have autism and she works constantly so they don’t get all the special attention they probably need. It might be better if we just paid that mom not to work and let her give them more attention so they can improve more.

  114. SKL April 20, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    SOA, you are right, the support for special needs kids is a separate topic. Although high-maintenance special needs are the reality for 50% of the kid population in your house, it is relatively rare in the overall population. I have heard that autism is one disability that does not get enough public support, but I do know people who have gotten funding for their kids to attend extremely expensive private schools for autistic kids, and one person (a widow) who received full social security for both herself and her autistic kid. It could probably be better, but I suppose people are working on that. At least I hear about it a lot.

    You say we need to spend the money now to avoid spending it in the future, but the reality is that even if we spend the money now, these kids will still have special needs as adults. Although there are many government-funded programs in place, I personally think funding for special needs at all ages needs to improve.

    However, none of that is what the “martyr moms” propaganda is about. They are talking about all moms, “billions” of them, most of whom have a moderate number of neurotypical kids, many of whom work to produce income for the family, many of whom have help from someone so they do not have to do it all on their own.

    Another thing that comes to mind is those moms at the other end of the spectrum – the ones who borderline neglect their kids despite being supported as SAHMs – we all know some like this. They are “moms” too. Do they deserve all this rah rah stuff? Standing on their feet all day, putting their kids’ feedings before everything else, etc.? Oh sure.

  115. Donna April 20, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Dolly – There certainly needs to be better resources readily available for special needs kids and their families. In fact, American society needs to support ALL families better. Not because mothers really work 135 hours a week and never sleep, but because strong families are the foundation of society. A great starting place would be better maternity/paternity leave policies and reasonable corporate expectations as to work to allow a better work/life balance.

    But the fact is that EVERYONE has hardships. A special needs child may be your particular hardship, but that is not the end-all-be-all of hardships in the world. If we start paying everyone to not work to due to some hardship that makes working difficult, we have absolutely no work force.

  116. Amanda Matthews April 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    “They call ONE,”

    I have never seen one fireman called for something. Maybe things are different where you are.

    “As SKL said, I can pick and choose what I will do for my child and my house. Don’t want to mop the floors this week? Don’t; the house isn’t going to fall in. Don’t feel like cooking dinner? Go out; eat cereal. Don’t feel like giving the kid a bath? Don’t; kid’s not going to die from being dirty for a day. Need to take a shower? Pop the kid into something confining and do it; he isn’t going to die if he cries for a few minutes while you shower. Kid wants a snack while I am doing something else? She can wait or get something she can do herself. There is really very little at home that I HAVE to do right then.”

    Guess you live a very different lifestyle than I do, then. If a toddler that can’t open the bathroom door needs to potty, I HAVE TO open the bathroom door right then. Otherwise I will have a toddler standing there in pee, crying, leaving a stain on the floor. If I don’t wash the peed on clothes quickly they will mildew. If I don’t hose down the pee covered kid quickly he will get a rash.

    Yes as a mother you get to set your own schedule mostly. I don’t have to mop the floors this week, but if I don’t want to mop them this MONTH and someone stops by they may call cps. Just like any job where you set your own schedule, you still have to get all the work done; and we all have only 24 hours in a day.

    “Lives are not on the line, for what I do. But when that phone rings and a transport, or firetruck, or whatever has tire issues, I do not, and cannot say “Not this time.”
    Why, because I will lose customers, and contracts. Which can and will lead to losing my business.”

    And someone else will pick up the slack. Just as not doing your job as a parent can lead to you losing your kids, and someone else will pick up the slack. But in the process, your kid will probably get screwed up.

    I don’t know about you, but I’d consider that much worse than losing my business, being fired, strangers or even myself dieing. And that is why I consider parenting to be the most important job in the world; because in my mind, it has the most ON THE LINE. And I feel that way despite having a lot of real world experience.

  117. anonymous mom April 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I have no problem with the idea that we should have more societal support for families, including things, like many other countries have, like stipends that can be used for childcare or be used by at-home parents. And certainly we could use better services for families with children with special needs.

    But I don’t think we get there by arguing that being a mom is the hardest job in the world. I really doubt that Europeans got the kinds of benefits for parents they did because they lied. In fact, playing this game of “See how hard I work compared to you!” oneupsmanship just seems to further entrench the problem, that as soon as people can find one counter-example of a mom who doesn’t work hard–and we all know there are plenty of those–they can argue that moms don’t deserve anything.

  118. Donna April 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    “If a toddler that can’t open the bathroom door needs to potty, I HAVE TO open the bathroom door right then.”

    Yes, if you choose to shut a door to a room that a child who can’t open the doors needs to enter, you do actually have to get up whenever that child needs to get into that room, however, shutting the door to that room is 100% your choice and not a life requirement.

    “I don’t have to mop the floors this week, but if I don’t want to mop them this MONTH and someone stops by they may call cps.”

    Wow, if you have friends who call CPS because you haven’t mopped your floors this month, you should really spend less time mopping floors and more time making better friends.

    I don’t doubt that some people can invent ways to make taking care of children and a house entail exactly what is described in this video. Their choice but I’m not going to pat them on the back and applaud how hard they work when it is totally their choice to work that way and not a requirement of the “job.” Again, this is just akin to me inventing ways to make my 40 hour a week job take 70 hours and then expecting a cookie for working so hard when almost half of what I am doing are things that never needed to be done to start with.

  119. Donna April 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    anonymous mom – This oneupmanship also entrenches the problem by continuing the idea that any important job requires umpteen million hours and total dedication and willingness to give up your own life. THAT attitude is exactly why many Americans can’t find a good work/life balance. We have the mentality in this country that important work requires extreme dedication.

    I worked at one of the 60+ hour a week big impressive law firm jobs pre-kid. There was absolutely no reason it had to be that way other than a culture that says big law firm must equal 60+ hours a week. Of course, there were always going to be times where long hours were required, but 80% of the overtime was dedicated to rush projects that really had no rush necessity to them at all. Spending a weekend drafting a memo to a client who must have the answer Monday although it was not a remotely emergent situation and the answer could have been given on Friday with no detriment. Working all night on a brief that is due the next day because the partner, who has known about the brief for a month, finally remembered to drop it on your desk.

    The more we cultivate this belief that important jobs require extreme dedication, the harder it is ever going to be to move away from the workaholic mentality.

  120. anonymous mom April 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Donna, yes, that attitude drives me crazy. It’s like we value people pretending to work hard more than actual competence.

    Most competent workers I know are able to do their jobs working a reasonable number of hours. But when it’s not actually getting done what needs to get done effectively and efficiently, but how many hours you spend at the office and how many nights you stay past dinner and how many e-mails you send over the weekend that counts, you end up making actually working efficiently a detriment.

    This drives my husband insane. He works on research with two people without kids or spouses. He’s got a pregnant wife and three kids. He wants to show up at the office at 8 or 9, work his day, and leave at 5 or 5:30. And, if he’s made aware of deadlines and allowed to work on his own schedule, he does. But, sometimes the people he works with decide that they MUST have a meeting at 4 p.m., or must schedule a subject for 5 p.m. on a Friday, or put off their parts of a project until the last minute so that he has to work on his part at home over the weekend. It’s very frustrating, and at least in his workplace, it’s the result of poor time and project management, not of evening subjects or weekend take-home work being necessary.

  121. Mommyrox April 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    I love you people of the first world. you live like you’re the only one’s who populate planet Earth. Sorry to burst your bubble, there’s also Russia, India, China and a whole African continent. Wake up! Being a parent is only easy when you have running water in the house, electricity, gas and a number home appliances, a doctor just a call away, and Internet to answer all your questions and soothe your worries. I’m grateful that I have it all, but just one generation back my mom didn’t, my grandma didn’t, yet here I am, raised by the women who did the world’s toughest job without water, gas or electricity and no pay.

    the ad wasn’t intended to make you feel you’re doing it wrong, the message was – be grateful! call your mom!

  122. hineata April 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    @Donna and anonymous mom, yes and amen! My mother retired in her late sixties from a company accountant’s job with a large multi-national. She insisted all the years she worked for them that she be allowed to follow the schedule related to the train that served her ‘commuter town’, so she was at work from about 7.45 until 4.15 every work day. (They complied, because as a completely unqualified-on-paper company accountant with vast amounts of experience, she consistently out-performed their grads, for about half the pay, so who would let her go?)Anyway she was always complaining to us that her young colleagues would spend half their days chatting around the water cooler, ‘networking’ for a job that didn’t actually require networking, and then whine that they were having to work until after six pm to get their jobs done, and why wasn’t she required to work their ‘long hours’? Well, maybe because she got her work actually done! And well within the hours set, by talking less and working more…..

    Simple really.

  123. hineata April 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    On the topic at hand, motherhood, I do remember finding parts of it really hard when all the kids were under five, particularly when I was doing family daycare too. The week all three had chicken pox, and El Sicko was really ill with it, stands out, as does the odd time the other two had stomach bugs – truly gross, as they of course had to get them together :-).

    What really made it hard, though, was that in retrospect my marriage really sucked at the time, meaning a lot of unnecessary stress, and that I am not by nature an organized person, so my time management also often sucked too :-). Though not as bad as before kids. Both were my own issue really – once I dropped the Pentecostal ‘honour thy man in whatever’ crap, which may NOT work if ‘thy man’ coincidentally comes from a culture where women are subservient (and get their way by manipulation, something I was not trained in, LOL!) and started telling the husband to stick it where the sun don’t shine when he was rude and abusive, and demanding equality and my way a fair amount of time, it took a while but the marriage picked up untold and today we get on great. The time management developed as I got on in years anyway :-).

    Always, always found time for a shower, as I don’t feel alive without one. Might have been different I guess if El Sicko was born first, but Boy even as a three year old could watch her when she was sick, and come and get me if she was vomiting. Maybe he was just a good kid, but I think you can train them in most things…

  124. hineata April 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    And as for it lasting tough til they’re eighteen, what rubbish! I chose to take Boy into a tournament yesterday because I wanted to watch him play – usually he finds his own way. Last year as a sixteen-year old he was fine watching the girls while hubby and I were overseas (though grandma stayed a lot more than expected – I think she enjoyed bossing the grandkids more than she’d anticipated, LOL!). The two girls fight etc but are generally capable of looking after themselves too. Am still mum but am increasingly underemployed, so when coupled with tight times for my particular job, am sometimes bored!

    Luckily one thing I did learn as a young mum was how to occupy my mind while bored out of my skull :-). So managing…. but really, sleepless nights till they’re eighteen? Get a grip.

  125. pentamom April 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Mommyrox — I’m fairly sure people in the third world with no running water were not the target audience of television greeting card commercial.

  126. Donna April 20, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Mommyrox – I just spent 2 years living in a 3rd world country where a chunk of the population doesn’t have electricity and inside running water in a hot tropical climate where the families largely subsist on plantationing and consist of 10 children. Those mothers were not working 135 hours a week, never sleeping and never eating. In fact, on average, they work far less than American mothers. Those 10 kids are a workforce, not infants to be coddled and catered to unless actually infants.

  127. hineata April 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    @Donna – is A. Samoa considered a third-world country? Not arguing with you, I guess I just never think of the islands that way. Though I agree about the kids as workforce thing. That continues out here often, and is why Pasifika kids are often very trustworthy when it comes to practical jobs at school :-).

  128. SOA April 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    I also was like mopping the floor once a month….that is about my standard. My kids are super messy so if I mop it is dirty again after the next meal so I just slack off and do it about every 2 to 3 weeks or more accurately right before company comes over. 😉 As long as we don’t eat off of it and we don’t have any crawling age babies anymore so I think a dirty floor is not going to make that much of a difference hygenically.

    I also am the master of doing work now so I don’t have to do it later. We installed a lot of child proof things so that the kids can do stuff alone without me having to help them. They make things so you can’t shut doors or they will stay open. They make things for light switches so short kids can still reach them. Stuff like that so I can be lazy and don’t have to jump up and help them all the time.

  129. Donna April 21, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    hineata – Technically A. Samoa can’t be a 3rd world country because it isn’t a country. However, were it an independent nation, it would totally be considered 3rd world. Most of the pacific islands are. Not New Zealand obviously, possibly not Tahiti or Guam, but most of the rest of them.

  130. Warren April 21, 2014 at 11:28 am #


    You have got to be kidding. You will not lose your kids if you choose to mop the floors tomorrow, or wait to the weekend to do the windows or whatever. Not even a close comparison to telling a customer that I won’t take the service call. Give your oversized ego a shake.

    If you have doors that toddler cannot open, but needs to open, then leave them open. Problem solved.

    Sounds like you keep house with a touch OCD with a dash of anal.

    And just which one of your friends or family will call cps on you for not mopping the floors? Enough paranoia in your last post to last a month. Parenting may be more important than any business or job. But it is nowhere near as difficult as you are making it out to be. You are your own worst enemy Amanda.

  131. Sharon Davids April 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Moms will get criticized for the choies. You can choose to hear them and/or react.

    When my daughter was five I decided to take her to my new work preschool in Washington DC. I was told that I was cruel because I would expose her to the subway, homeless, and the dirty city at a young age. I took her to preschool and occasionally ate lunch with her and she was able to walk to the National Acquariam (now closed), the Smithsonian, Barnes and Noble, and the local public library with her preschool group. They had three kids and outside trips had two or three adults present.

    She remembers those days fondly I also think she learned to read a few words on our “dangerous” metro rides.

  132. Mommyrox April 22, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    @Donna after two years, of course, you, a foreigner, know everything about 3rd world. well I’ve lived in the 3rd world most of my 35 years, my mom for her 57 and my grandma for her 82. Now do you think I know what I’m talking about? the norm here is 2 children per family, 3 is considered a lot (I have “a lot”).

    @hineata children in my part of the 3rd world are not considered a workforce, not since world war two. now kids can (if they want) work a few hours a day after 14, but they’re not considered workforce at least until they graduate from school at age 18, when they can hold a full time job for the fist time, but in most cases until they graduate from college or university at 20-22.

    @pentamom as you say, so I’ll just go un-see it, un-like it and un-feel grateful to my mom and grandma. just because I’m not target audience, doesn’t mean I’m not supposed to see it and find it helpful. it went viral because a lot of people like me who have no idea what American Cards are saw it and shared. because some idea in the video touched them.

    it’s like the exclusion about special needs moms – yeah, this video is rubbish, motherhood is a bliss, except for special needs moms. Like special needs moms, moms of infants and sick children, moms in the 3rd world are not moms at all, they don’t count, because YOU have it so easy!

  133. Warren April 22, 2014 at 10:53 am #


    This ad was not aimed at anyone in anywhere but first world.

  134. Warren April 22, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    And no we are not going to pay people to stay home.
    Yes a special needs child can be stressful, a drain on resources and so on. But, and it is a big but, you had the child knowing the risks. It is not up to society to make your life easy.

  135. Donna April 22, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Mommyrox – By workforce, we mean a home workforce. Mom doesn’t do all the household chores. The kids are responsible for the vast majority of them.

    And, frankly, I call BS on most of what you are saying. Poor families, those without running water and electricity, in 3rd world countries (or 1st world for that matter) don’t graduate high school, let alone go to college, in large numbers.

  136. SKL April 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Mommyrox, nobody is telling you that you should not appreciate your mommy.

    The point of the video is that once you become a mom, you are an absolute slave to your children. Are you a slave to your children? If so, that is a choice, whether you are in the 1st world, 3rd world, or nether world.

    Mommyrox, do you sleep? If you don’t have electricity and you are a slave to your children 24/7, how is it you find time to post on the internet?

  137. hineata April 22, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    Yeah, Mommyrox, which part of the 3rd World are you living in? Yorkshire?

    (Before I get lynched, see Monty Python!).

    Seriously, you live in the 3rd World, and large numbers of you graduate university? And large numbers of you are not even an internal workforce for your families? I live in the so-called 1st world, and lots of kids here help out their parents. Even in the so-called first world, my grandmother, from a family of 12 kids, was definitely her mother’s chief cook and bottle washer, for the times she lived at home. My mother ran her parents’ bakery while they went out to socialize. My grandmother had 7 kids, washed using a boiler until the oldest kid was old enough to do it, then much of it fell to her.

    Something fishy going on here….

  138. Warren April 22, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This was not about moms in third world countries! This was not about moms with special needs kids! It was about the average mom.

    And Amanda is the typical “own worst enemy”. If my kid needed access to the bathroom but could not work the lock or knob? I would keep the door open. Only an idiot keeps it closed so they have to play doorman to a toddler. Don’t do the work in the most difficult manner possible, and then whine about how hard it is.

  139. hineata April 23, 2014 at 12:30 am #


    There, was that ‘loud’ enough for my laughter to reach your ears?

    It always amazes me how some people seem unable to understand that comments on the Internet are actually read, not heard. And that capitilising things does not, in fact, make them louder….Because, um, ‘loud’ is about, duh, sound.

    Thought Canada was a first world country with a reasonable education system….Maybe not. Maybe Mommyrox, too, is from Canada. Thinking about it, the ‘Mommy’ is a sign. Mum is the English term – Mom is North American.

    Don’t tell me North America really has slipped into the 3rd world?

  140. Mommyrox April 23, 2014 at 8:03 am #


    now if someone is NOT 1st world they should just shut their eyes and turn away, it was not intended for their eyes.

    kindly go and check out the map pf internet availability around the globe, will ya?

  141. Mommyrox April 23, 2014 at 8:21 am #


    oh Yorkshire, you think? its such a compliment, really! so sweet of you! no, english is only my second language, and there are a few 3rd world countries in Eastern Europe still.

    by internal workforce you mean like vacuuming? no need if you don’t have a carpet, we didn’t when I was growing up. and mopping was considered hard labour, teens did it only in exchange for privileges, like icecream or a movie with friends. I’m sure you as a kid bargained as well, so you’d know better.

    as you rightly mention being ‘workforce’ is not the same as ‘helping around the house’. like working in the field or a mine is not the same as helping mom in the kitchen. in my part of the 3rd world, as I’m sure in yours of the 1st, helping out is not equated with workforce.

    Ok lets talk grandmothers. My grandma started working early at a factory – at 17, thats considered early for a factory worker, right. she married and had two kids (not 7 or 12), couldn’t afford to feed any more and abortion was outlawed, so no coitus was her best policy against unwanted pregnancy. Fun life! Both her sons (my dad and uncle) finished school, went on to University, worked at the same factory she did.

    Something fishy, huh? well, of course! I’m obviously a paid agent of American Greetings, working hard at making you take every word of their ad at face value and buy their cards.

  142. Mommyrox April 23, 2014 at 8:31 am #


    The point of the video AS YOU SAW IT is that kids enslave mothers. right. that’s how you like to call it. slavery. I like to call it – motherhood is not all rainbows and unicorns like the cover of Motherhood magazine likes you to believe.

    I’m not a slave to my children, yet I have only slept 3 hours in the past 48, cumulatively. that is no more than 30 min at the time. stomach bugs do that to children, you know? I don’t feel enslaved because I have to carry my kid around, I feel like an answer to his needs. not that it helps me cope with lack of sleep. but hey! I find ways to keep me away – like typing you this message with one hand while rocking a baby in the other. venting at you guys is probably not as good as having a pay check, but better than nothing =)

    so cheers! now you can teach me how to treat stomach bugs better than I know how while having a good 8 hour sleeps in the process, as well as maybe a manicure.

  143. Mommyrox April 23, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    as I mentioned English is not my first languages, so when in doubt I go to Merriam Webster, and it tells me that workforce is ‘ the group of people who work for a particular organization or business; the number of people in a country or area who are available for work’

    I’m sure you don’t mean to say that in the 1st world children don’t do any chores.

    And before you call BS on anything I say, invest some time in educating yourself about Eastern Europe – for starters you’ll learn there’s no such thing as ‘high school’ here, there’s just ‘school’ and in many places its mandatory, so you can’t just quit.

  144. Mommyrox April 23, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    and now, ladies and gentlemen, do forgive me, I’ll call it quits. you obviously know for sure that this bad-bad-bad ad is trying to convince you of being slaves to your children and no one with a different opinion about this particular piece of video production has a say. so thanks for bashing me on the head with your superior knowledge, I’ll definitely be better off with your sound and helpful advice.

    so long and thanks for the fish =)

  145. Angela April 23, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    I never saw motherhood as a job either, and I did, actually, enjoy it. Frustrations and stress, sure, but are you going to claim there is no frustration in a musician learning a new song, or that the musician does not enjoy learning new music? That a scientist either feels no stress or doesn’t enjoy his chosen occupation? Then there’s Hubby and Dark Souls… He gets so upset but keeps playing; I’m starting to wonder if he’s a masochist. lol

    I never did have to deal with a seriously ill child. I remember the little girl I nannied in high school when she got cold sores the first time, covering her mouth and all down her throat. After the third day we let Grandma take her overnight so we could sleep. But issues that did pop up I approached as a challenge to be conquered. I can’t exactly expect any of the good if I’m not willing to deal with the bad, after all. The stresses invigorate me, give me another puzzle to solve, highlight the progress I’ve already made in life (as I go over all possible solutions and remember how I learned those solutions) and give me another chance to progress more.

    Maybe I developed this specifically as a response to frustration and stress, I don’t know, but its a lot better than dwelling on them.

  146. Warren April 23, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    It is such a broken record with these parents, that are always bitching about special needs, or third world or whatever.

    This would be like a parapalegic whining because the latest Chevy commercial didn’t demonstrate how the car can be modified to meet his specific needs.

    Gimme a break.

  147. hineata April 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    @Mommyrox – hmm, that’s interesting, really. No, when I was in school we were taught to think of the Eastern European countries as the Communist, or Soviet, block nations, not as the 3rd world. Semantics, maybe – would be interested to what other ed. systems taught.

    I tend to think of the 3rd world as being undeveloped nations without compulsory education, extreme poverty (as in starvation level) and miles to walk to water etc.

    Actually, too, 17 sounds a reasonable age to be beginning factory work. I was working in a factory myself at 17. It sounds like your grandparents, on paper, had a better life than mine, which is interesting. They were certainly better educated – mine all left school at 12. However I imagine that if political systems were the way we were told they were in the Communist bloc countries, fear etc. would have canceled out any of the benefits of better education.

    It’s interesting to know that you think of yourselves as 3rd world….

  148. SKL April 24, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    Just as an aside to Hineata, most of the people I know from the “third world” don’t like their countries to be called “third world.” Actually when I was in school the Soviet bloc countries were considered “second world.” (Though, nobody ever talks about the “second world,” do they? Why is it always first world / third world?)