I hate this video. Oh, do I ever hate this video. It’s not just that I have no love for the smug individuals peddling this tired Hallmark pabulum and it’s not just that I hate the “really makes u think” Facebook toads sharing this like it’s enlightenment gold. I hate the self-congratulatory culture that this was watered, fed and grown in.
Here’s the thing: motherhood is hard. No one is doubting that. When is the last time you met an actual human monster who truly believed that mothers have it easy? Is anyone really spouting that belief? If so, they’re not who I take umbrage with; they’re beyond saving.
Here’s the real thing: motherhood doesn’t have to be as hard as it is for most women. It’s not some divine commandment that mothers should take up their cross, give up a huge chunk of their earning potential and resign themselves to be human snot rags, starved of sleep and mental stimulation. That’s not just the natural order of things and hey- good on you women for sticking it out all these centuries! You guys are the real heroes!
No. Motherhood is hard, but it’s harder than it needs to be because of men. When was the last time you heard anyone say “Fatherhood is a full time job, amirite?” Men are not expected to resign from their public lives once their genetic material creates a new person. No one asks a working father how he finds the time to balance it all. A kid is not a career. Money isn’t changing hands (I hope) when you have a kid.
There are things that the powerful men in this society absolutely could do to make motherhood easier. Corporate society could be restructured so that women don’t immediately feel the proverbial elbows at their sides the second they start showing. Childcare could be more accessible to working mothers. Hell, it’s basically a human right in most other developed countries. An actually appropriate length for maternity AND paternity leave could be a standard for corporations to adhere to. Fathers could be expected to do more than duck into a soccer game or apply a spanking as need be. The onus does not need to be on the mother; men just put it there and thanked us for all the hard work we didn’t exactly agree to.
Men of the world: you do not just get to say “Motherhood is the hardest job in the world” with a shit-eating grin and then trot off, patting yourself on the back for throwing mothers the tiniest morsel of your concern. You created this mess. Acknowledgment without responsibility and without action is useless to me.
In the words of Jenna Maroney, go jump back up your mother.