The Job Description of Motherhood

If someone would describe motherhood as a job description I don’t know that anyone would, in their right mind, willingly sign up.


Let’s review the basic job overview:


Hours:  Vacation days – are you kidding?  Oh no, you will be continually on call 24-7.  You need sleep, too bad, you can kiss that goodbye.


Pay: Here’s a deal for you, not only do you not get paid but you have to pay them!  That’s right, all that blood, sweat and tears and you get to shell out every dime you ever make to do so.


Stress: How about going from the most cherished person in the whole world to the biggest idiot in the world in a matter of 15 years.


Responsibility: The people you are supposed to be in charge of – they don’t listen to you, in fact they spend the majority of their young lives doing their best not to!


Training: There is no rule book to help you learn this job.  You are completely on your own flying by the seat of your pants hoping not to ruin the life of this little creature the hospital handed over.


Oh yeah, sign me up.


It’s not easy being a mom.  Sometimes it downright sucks.  I have never done anything in my life that can bring me the greatest amount of joy and the most horrific pain – sometimes all in one day.  Being a mother is no job for sissies.


It is a job that you blindly strive to do your best every moment and pray at the end of the day you’ve done the right thing and not totally screwed up your kid.


I’ve done my best but let’s face it – I’m never going to win mother of the year award.  Some of the things that disqualify me:


  • I had my son convinced when he was 5 that I had eyes in the back of my head, and I really played it up.
  • I would trick him into eating certain foods – I never let him be a picky eater.  If he didn’t want to eat what I fixed I told him there was peanut butter & jelly in the kitchen, knock yourself out.
  • I said no – doesn’t mean he listened, but I did say no a lot.  Just because you want to doesn’t mean you get to.
  • I made all my kids do their own laundry and start cooking dinner at age 13.  I’m a mother, not a maid.
  • During my son’s late teenage years he thinks I legally changed his name to ‘Jackass’  Hey, do something stupid and I’m going to call you out on it.
  • When he did do something stupid I had no problem smacking him upside the back of his head, and that went for his friends, too.  No one was safe, the boys all compare stories.
  • When all the boys crashed at my house they had to pick up after themselves, say please and thank you, help with chores and learn how to use a fork correctly.
  • I spoke openly and frankly about taboo topics.  I would rather be honest about challenges in life rather than the boys learn certain things from their stupid friends.
  • I held the mindset that my job was to get him out of the house and make sure he didn’t come back; the goal was to get him out in the world, survive and be happy.
  • There were many times that I would tell my son, “I love you more than life itself, just at this moment I don’t like you.  You need to go to another room for both our sakes.”
  • If my son complained about play time I wouldn’t call the coach I would tell him that maybe he sucked and should work harder.  Life’s tough, in the real world no one is going to call your boss and tell them to be nicer to you.
  • When bad things would happen I would ask him how his actions contributed to it and how was he going to take responsibility and change it.  I don’t play the blame game.
  • When I made mistakes I told him about them and how I planned on fixing them. I wanted him to see me as human.
  • My rules were simple and if you don’t like them, get out.  I held the door open.


My mom told me once God makes children into teenagers so you want them out of your house, then when they leave you love them again.  Amen.


Just because he is out on his own doesn’t mean that my job got any easier.  Sure, my utility bills have dropped dramatically as well as my grocery bill, but the stress, anxiety, worry and unconditional love are stronger than ever.


Here is the key that I found out in keeping my sanity throughout this ongoing process: I don’t take credit for my son’s accomplishments, nor do I accept blame for his faults.  He taught me that.


When my son was about 12 or 13 he got into some trouble and I was devastated.  I even looked at him and asked where I failed him.  I will never forget his response: “Mom, this isn’t about you.  I did this, it was my choice.  You have no control over that.”


Bam – right between the eyes.


Another lesson I learned – just because you gave birth does not make you a mother, it just means you are a birther.  My best friend wins mother of the year award every single year, she is amazing; and yet she was raised by a birther, oh the stories I could tell.  I think I told her last weekend that I finally figured it out, her mother was leaving the hospital and passed the nursery and said, “just give me that one, she seems quiet” but she took home the wrong baby.  Seriously.


So you can be raised by wolves and turn out amazing or you can be raised by an amazing mother and turn out to be demon spawn – honestly kids sometimes I think it is just a karmic flip of the coin.


As our children mature, as we mature, the way everyone looks at their mother begins to change.  Mothers aren’t just safe havens, they become people.  Women, individuals who make their own mistakes and sometimes still struggle with who they are as a person.  Once we become a “grown up” we realize how freaking hard it is to not just take control of our own lives but also help guide our children at the same time.


No one ever talks about that!  Throw that into the job description and I would have run for the hills!


But having taken on the job – it doesn’t matter; I would do it all over again.  I wouldn’t change anything in the first 23 years of my life because ever single thing I did lead to the day that I had my son – and my life changed forever.  My friends laugh at me for pretty much not remembering a darn thing about school, the people and our neighborhood; but the day I had my son my life began and I really don’t remember much before that day.


Being a mom means I know exactly what true unconditional love means.  I am blessed.


It is easy to describe the downside of parenting; but trying to describe the upside is like trying to describe the color red.  And the thing is there is only one color red but there are thousands of shades.


On this mother’s day even if you don’t like your mom – hey, it happens – reach out and tell her you love her.  I know there are times my son doesn’t like me and that’s ok.  However, every single time we talk whether it be hanging out all day or just thirty seconds each time ends with “love you”, hug and a kiss.  You just never know and we never miss an opportunity to let the other know we love them.


I am appreciative that this afternoon I get to hang out with my mom.  She is an incredible woman who not only survived raising three children (of course I was the easiest one to raise) but also some of life’s worse tests.  Cancer, death of her husband, first born and mother all within a short time period just to start the list.  She has taught me true strength and I hope I was able to pass it along to my son.  Now that we are in the same club of having “grown” children it is a whole different experience.


If your mother is still around and wasn’t in the pack of wolves category take a moment to realize how lucky you are that you can pick up the phone or make a short drive to see her.  This is the woman who sacrificed hopes, dreams, comforts and security for you.  This is one person who would give everything they could just to make sure you are happy.


Someone who, when they have no strength left for themselves, they somehow find it for you.  Someone who no matter what you do still looks at you with love and gives a gentle touch and says, “it will be okay” and you believe it – because mom said so.


I have friends who have lost their mother and I know today is going to be really difficult for them.  They would love the opportunity to talk to their mom just one more time, hug her, give her a kiss and tell her they love her.  Just once more.  Now that she is gone they realize just how much space she filled in their heart.  These friends are in my prayers.


I joke that I think you must be a masochist to be a mother – who else would endure such pain and still give so much love?


But ask any non-wolf mother and she would tell you the same thing: I would do it all over again.  You fall in love with being a mother.  You may love your husband, boyfriend, parents, other family members – but nothing will ever come close to the love you have for your child.


The moment you become a mother whether by birth or adoption – you willingly put your heart in the hands of that tiny person and forever on they are the center of your world, your greatest love, your most cherished – even if you do have to banish them from the room.  It is the greatest job in the world!


Happy Mother’s Day



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



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