My sister, who’s married with three children, has an interesting take on Mother’s Day tributes. She’s happy to receive candy, flowers, cards, and other traditional kudos. But those perennial news stories that speculate how much a stay-at-home mom like her would earn if she was paid for the services of a psychologist, chef, housekeeper, chauffeur, etc.? Well, they annoy the shit out of her.
Those “what mothers would earn if…” pieces are, to her, condescending. “You could be CEO of Mommy, Inc.!” is the pat-on-the-head message she infers from such business-section filler. Also, they passive-aggressively reinforce the notion that mothers should be perfect – or at least professional — in everything they attempt. In fact, there are highly stressful moments when she wishes a licensed therapist or a degreed chef or a scrupulously organized housekeeper could fill in for her.
Last but not least, those “motherhood as profession” reports assume that the life of the full-time careerist is the standard that she should look up to, the choice that is superior to her choice. From her perspective as well as chats with salaried friends, full-time parenthood is tougher and more complex than any career path. High-end chocolates and fruity red wines given on M. Day may be consolation prizes, but dammit, they do ease the pain.