I don’t know if ‘Emm’ is just stirring the pot or if this is a genuine question on her part (and I so don’t want to start a flame war) but when I wrote a post yesterday on the work involved in returning to work after having a baby I received this comment:
motherhood must be hard. but isn’t it rewarding? I mean to have such a beautiful baby and something to be proud of.
This, here, is such a common response to any time a mother gripes about anything that while I was going to write a comment in response to Emm’s I then thought maybe this would be better being a post.
So Emm, yes it is rewarding and yes I have a beautiful baby (thank you for saying so) and yes, motherhood is hard work. I write about all three of those aspects on this blog, and I think I might even have covered all of them at once in the post to which you’re responding. But you know what is kind of a pain in the arse? When you’re talking about the hard work bit of motherhood and people say “but isn’t it rewarding?”.
It would be a bit like you talking about your job and how tired you are today and how someone called in sick so you basically had to work two jobs and it is already extra busy right now and ya know, on top of that your boss gave you this ridiculously short deadline. And I say in response to you “Yeah, but isn’t it rewarding? I mean you get paid for that job, right?”. Then you would say “Yes, yes I do get paid, and I am not saying that I hate my job and I am planning to bomb the building or anything, I was just saying how hard it is right now, that’s all”.
Combine all of that with the reality that you aren’t paid for motherhood, that in fact you can be economically disadvantaged many times over if you become a mother, and that this is in spite of the fact that the work you do in raising children is real work with real productivity benefits for the economy, and you can see that “isn’t it rewarding?” is a most grating response.