Shouting from the rooftops

As featured in The Reflector:

I’d love to know when motherhood turned into a dirty word. I really would. I’ve had it.

It’s almost to the point where I can’t go anywhere or do anything without hearing it. Whether the attacks are direct or masked makes no difference. They keep coming. Mothers are being bombarded on every side for choosing motherhood.

I’ve been a mom for almost eight years now. I consider the task of raising my children to be the most valuable way I could ever spend my time and talents. Being a good mom takes more energy, smarts and work than I ever could have imagined.

So why has our society decided that motherhood is laced with inferiority? Why do we consider it to be a menial thing of minute importance?

I thought I’d heard it all. I’ve been stared at like I’m some kind of confusing, foreign creature when people have found out that I have four children. I’ve been told that it was high time for me to get my tubes tied. I’ve been asked if I know how babies are made and if I’ve ever heard of birth control. I’ve even been told that I’m an extremely intelligent and talented woman who is essentially wasting those gifts because I chose to be “just a mom”.

I’ve watched interviews and TV shows and parodies that mock motherhood. I’ve listened to people essentially shouting from the rooftops that what I’m doing is an unimportant waste of time. I’ve been looked at with disgust when responding to questions about my employment. I’ve even watched the politicians in this country claim that motherhood is insignificant and that the traditional family is of zero importance.

This type of attitude used to come only from men. They saw women who didn’t hold traditional careers as inferior. But now this attitude also comes from other women. Other women are ashamed of mothers. They find it absurd that instead of competing with men in the workforce, we’re satisfied doing what we were born to do.

I had one of the most shocking experiences of my life in a fast food restaurant. I was with my husband and four kids eating lunch. I was standing at the drink dispenser filling my kids’ cups when I was approached by a woman from across the restaurant. She was middle-aged and was eating lunch with her husband.

She didn’t waste any time. “Okay, my husband and I are taking a poll. If you could go out and work instead of raising those kids, what would you choose?”

I was so taken aback that I just stared at her for a moment. I felt a little perturbed by the question, but also felt that this was one of those moments where you stand up for what’s right or you walk away mumbling and defeated. “I’d choose my kids. Every time.”

She looked stunned and actually almost yelled at me. “What the heck!? He said you’d say that. I told him there was no way. Thanks for nothing.”

Now it was my turn to look stunned. Another woman was hoping I’d denounce my enjoyment of motherhood? She was honestly hoping that I found no value in it? My husband and kids were looking at me from about twenty feet away. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but they’re my most important job.”

“Oh, that’s not what my husband meant. He thinks women are beneath men and are incapable of working as hard. He said women would prefer to tend to the kids and clean the house because they’re incapable of doing anything hard. I told him that women hate cleaning the house and watching the kids and we’d do anything to get away from it.”

I’ll be honest. I kind of have a temper. And it was all I could do to not walk across that restaurant and slap that man. His wife would’ve been second.

“Well, I choose scrubbing toilets and raising great kids. Sorry.” It’s all I could manage to say and I walked off.

He was smirking, she was disgusted. Shame on both of them.

Shame on every other man or woman who thinks of our children as a chore. How dare you make those sweet babies feel like they’re only taken care of because someone has to do it and the task fell on you. How dare you make mothers feel like they’re not doing the most important work they will ever do. Shame on our society for not supporting mothers in their sacred and critical role. Shame on all of you.

This is me shouting from the rooftops in response to your constant battery. Being a mom isn’t just enough, it’s everything. Without mothers doing their jobs society will fail, end of story. I shouldn’t have to tell you that, but apparently it’s necessary. Motherhood is critical, amazing and difficult. Women who do it well are brave, strong, hard-working and crucial. It would be nice if the rest of you could just be quiet and let us do our job.

Seriously, tell me what you think.