A very interesting post about motherhood as job versus relationship, Free but Not Cheap, at Ask Moxie. Moxie’s post in a nut-shell:
If we think it’s a job, then nothing makes sense about it. How is it possible that it’s so important but also so undervalued? How is it possible to be a good mother if you’re with your kids 24/7 but also be a good mother if you leave them to go work for a good part of the day? How can we take such satisfaction from being with our kids but be so bored by all the stuff we have to do for our kids?
But motherhood makes sense when you realize that it’s a relationship. Loving and nurturing your child is the relationship you have with your child. That’s why when you have a bad day as an adult, you still want your mom (if you have a good relationship with your mom) even though she isn’t making your meals, changing your clothes for you, driving you to work, or doing any of the stuff moms of kids do.
My sister-in-law and I were talking yesterday, as our little Neanderthals threw rocks at each other at the playground, about the cost of childcare and the paradox that this thing we say is the most important thing in the world–raising children, creating the new generation of citizens etc. etc.–is hands-down the worst paid job in our society… and at the same time, “too expensive”–with a price tag that makes even high-earning people gag. We pay people more to clean our houses than to watch over our children.
What message does that send to any parent contemplating pausing career-building or bread-winning in favour of being the primary caregiver for their own children?
That thought threatens to take me into a digression, and I need to “be with” my children, as well as “do stuff for” ’em, so I’ll just end with this: Motherhood. A relationship. A state of being. Not a job.