Sorry, but being a mother is not the most important job in the world, by Catherine Deveny
Christians are guilty of, as this writer below says, “The deification of mothers.”
Trust me on that one, as the voice of experience.
Try being over 40, still a virgin – never married, no children – and you feel very excluded in many conservative churches.
The exclusion against childless and older single women is not always deliberate in Christian culture, sometimes it is.
However, the un-intentional put downs and un-intended insults can be almost as hurtful. Most often, married Christian mothers, the instant they learn you are over 30, never married and have no children, lose all interest in getting to know you further.
Some of these married mothers act instantly uncomfortable and awkward around you once they find out you are still single and childless… you are treated like an alien from Mars, rather than a fellow human being. It’s hurtful, awkward, and is one reason of many I no longer attend church.
Churches constantly host Mother’s Day ceremonies or do things like monthly invite all new mothers foreward to pray for their newborns, but when is the last time you saw a preacher call all never-married women forward to pray for them, or to cheer on their accomplishments, such as buying a house alone, getting a work promotion, getting a college degree? Yeah, never. Only motherhood is viewed as a significant “accomplishment” for women in churches.
(By the way, I do not hate motherhood, and I am not opposed to women being mothers: I am only opposed to how adult single women, the infertile, childless, and child free are excluded, insulted or marginalized by so many Christian churches, denominations, and media.)
Here’s the article:
- 18 November 2013
It’s time to drop the slogan. It encourages mothers to stay socially and financially hobbled, it alienates fathers and discourages other significant relationships between children and adults
Being a mother is not the most important job in the world. There, I said it. Nor is it the toughest job, despite what the 92% of people polled in Parents Magazine reckon.
For any woman who uses that line, consider this: if this is meant to exalt motherhood, then why is the line always used to sell toilet cleaner? And if being a mother is that important, why aren’t all the highly paid men with stellar careers not devoting their lives to raising children? After all, I never hear “being a father is the most important job in the world”.
The deification of mothers not only delegitimises the relationship fathers, neighbours, friends, grandparents, teachers and carers have with children, it also diminishes the immense worth and value of these relationships. How do gay dads feel about this line, I wonder? Or the single dads, stepdads or granddads? No matter how devoted and hard working you are, fellas, you’ll always be second best.
I’m also confused as to what makes you a mother. Is it the actual birth? Or is a “mother” simply a term to describe an expectation to care for children without payment? Is this empty slogan used to compensate women for gouging holes from potential careers by spending years out of the workplace without recognition?
Enabling this dogma devalues the unpaid labor of rearing children as much as it strategically devalues women’s worth at work. If being a mother were a job there’d be a selection process, pay, holidays, a superior to report to, performance assessments, Friday drinks, and you could resign from your job and get another one because you didn’t like the people you were working with. It’s not a vocation either – being a mother is a relationship.
Even if it were a job, there is no way being a professional mother could be the hardest when compared to working 16 hours a day in a clothing factory in Bangladesh, making bricks in an Indian kiln, or being a Chinese miner. Nor could it ever be considered the most important job in comparison with a surgeon who saves lives, anyone running a nation, or a judge deciding on people’s destiny.
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