I’m freaking tired of reading about how ungodly hard mothering is. Yeah, we fucking know! So what are we going to do about it as a society?
First of all, I just want to say, all the reasons that people are always listing about why mothering is hard are wrong. I’m not a housekeeper, a cook, a janitor, a chauffeur, a therapist, an office manager, a CEO, or any of the other stupid things assigned to me in articles like this.
There is only one reason why mothering is hard. It’s because you are in charge of other human beings. Adding a few extra loads of laundry per week to your household duties, driving someone to a class/school, and cooking for other people is not the hard part. It’s the fact that you are in charge of getting tiny, irrational, emotionally immature, underdeveloped human beings. You have to get them to move their bodies and eat food and you’re in charge of their emotional well-being.
What pisses me off about those articles is that those ideas are extremely dismissive about what’s important to mothering.
Our culture isn’t set up to make mothering easier. Yesterday was Mother’s Day and in our culture buying a woman flowers and/or taking her out or fixing her food is how we tell ourselves we are being appreciative. And while it’s really nice to get flowers and food, it doesn’t truly make my life as a mother any easier.
Things Society Could Do to Make Mothering/Parenting Easier:
Give parents flex time at work. All people who have small/young human beings at home should be allowed to set their own schedule when possible.
Give parents extra time off work in the beginning. I’m not talking about six weeks or 12 weeks or whatever the fuck maternity leave is anymore. I’m talking, like six months, a year, 18 months. Yeah, that sounds good.
When Annika was six weeks old, I remember very clearly wondering just how the hell women went back to work at that time. I felt unbelievably grateful that I didn’t have to go back to work. Hell, my body wasn’t even fully healed. It took months and months to feel relatively normal again inside my own skin. I think that I would’ve had a full-on mental breakdown if I’d had to put my baby in daycare at six weeks. And it breaks my heart to think that we are a country full of women who often feel like they simply have no other choice.
Automatically give parents food stamps and free health care for themselves and their children.
Give businesses tax breaks for hiring parents back into the workforce after a few years of staying at home to take care of infants/toddlers.
Stop being such jerks about public school. I don’t know about other places and frankly I’m too tired to look it up, but here in Austin, TX, you can get a ticket if your child is late to school too many times. When I was a kid, if your parent wanted to let you play hooky or if you were late, it was no big deal. They wrote a note. Nowadays, parents are getting in trouble. What the EVERLOVINGFUCK is that about? It’s bullshit. And it has zero to do with education and all to do with money/financial support from the government who thinks that if they hold everyone accountable with anal retentive standards that somehow we will become a smarter society. They have it so, so very wrong.
Give parents access to free or low-cost therapy. Parents need to vent. A lot. They also need to have someone to bounce ideas off of and work out their own shit inside of a safe space.
Let’s start talking about what’s really hard about mothering/parenting. I think we all know that we are generally appreciated. But it’d be really fucking nice if society started helping move that into making our daily lives easier instead of minimizing mothers by appreciating us with a commercialized annual meal.