On her show yesterday, Oprah Winfrey repeated something I've heard before: "Being a mom is the hardest job in the world."
We all want to appreciate moms, and those of us who are moms certainly want to be appreciated. So we tend to nod earnestly when we hear this statement. Hooray for millions of moms, doing the hardest job in the world!
But let's be realistic. Let's get past the feel-good emotions we get when we honor the difficulties of being a mom, and let's analyze Oprah's statement.
If being a mom was really the hardest job in the world, would very many of us actually choose to do it more than once? Sure, there's that whole childbirth amnesia thing that switches us from "I ain't doin' THAT again!" (while putting cold compresses on our nether regions) to, "Ah, it wasn't so bad" (three months later.)
But there isn't any amnesia that makes a woman forget that her child spit up, peed, and pooped on her, all in one day. When Mommy goes to bed with Daddy and makes another baby, Mommy knows full well that 45 minutes ago she was dealing with a toddler's bedtime tantrums.
Some jobs are really hard. A desk job that requires long hours of amazingly tedious, boring work. A position in a meat packing plant that leaves the worker with a raw cow smell that won't wash away. An assembly line job in a third-world country that results in repetitive use injury and doesn't pay enough to feed a family. Sometimes we moms get bored, stinky, and sore. But not every day, all day.
Don't get me wrong. Being a mom is, at times, hard. We remember all the less-than-glamorous annoyances our kids bring into our lives all day long. Yet many of us--on purpose--retire our chosen method of birth control, obsessively track our ovulatory cycles, and choose to do it again.
Because it's not all about vomit, nap difficulties, and tantrums. There are other aspects of being a mom that are easy, effortless, and rewarding. Cuddling with my daughter is easy. Smiling when my kids are silly is effortless. Most importantly, experiencing a pure love that grows with my children is unspeakably rewarding. What a paycheck--love.
Oh, no, Oprah, being a mom is not the hardest job in the world. In fact, some days, it's the best.