The Dumbest Job Ever: Mother.

It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud —especially if it’s while I’m sweating and working my heiny off on the elliptical at the gym. (Yes, I read the paper while I work out—multitasking!) But the other day, I nearly tumbled off the machine into bruising hysterics when I read “Job Description for the Dumbest Job Ever: Mother” by Kimberly Harrington, a witty detailed description of the responsibilities and woes of motherhood that was in the NYTimes on Sunday.

While Harrington’s post is surely not the first time someone has aired their views on the occasional tedium of motherhood, I seem to never tire of reading someone else’s take on it and being reminded that we’re all in the same boat. The things that make me laugh the hardest are the things that poke fun at my own idiosyncrasies, small failings or day-to-day life mishaps. (I also enjoy a good Dick Van Dyke-style slip or fall.)

When Kimberly Harrington poked fun at how tirelessly moms work yet how they still feel inadequate and like they’ve accomplished absolutely nothing, I thought myself, yes, that’s me!!! My stupid to-do list never gets done and sometimes I feel like the things that I do accomplish go unnoticed.

She nails it when she writes: “Responsibilities: Literally everything… including keeping co-workers alive.” And “…Supervision of all possible hazards, including: electrical currents; water in all forms (baths, sheets of ice, swimming pools, Slip ‘N Slides, lakes, dodgy sprinklers, igloos); table corners… uncut grapes; playground equipment; bees.”

When I googled her article to include the link to this post, I discovered two very negative reviews of Harrington’s post accusing her of being resentful and negative, and of “making a mockery of motherhood.” And I thought to myself, can’t we all just vent sometimes without being judged? I am surrounded by amazing, kind, energetic, dedicated mothers but we all have our moments where we need 5 minutes to vent about our crappy day “on the job” and where we think to ourselves (or even scream out loud), “I hate this stupid job!”

And for those of us who had careers before motherhood, it’s hard not to laugh at the stark contrast between our B.C. Lives (before children) and A.C. (after). Although motherhood is the toughest, most emotionally demanding job I’ve ever had, it is also the most gratifying and surprisingly fun–truly the best job I’ve ever had.  Harrington jests that motherhood is an “unpaid position” with “no vacation time” and at times a “hostile work environment,” but I can honestly say that I wake up happy to go to work each day.

My husband will admit that he would never want my job. And though at times, I am envious that he leaves for working looking clean and polished, works in an environment where no one kicks, screams, cries or throws milk, and where people actually listen to him, I’d rather do what I’m doing: working from home just a few blocks away from my kids school. I feel fortunate that I can.

Sadly, life has been moving a little too quickly. When my three were babies, parents with older children would point out how quickly they grow up. But back then, a minute could feel like an hour! These days, an hour feels like a minute. Although it’s years away, I can’t imagine the day when my youngest sets off on her own and my nest is empty. So when I read Harrington’s last line, it tugged at my heartstrings and I wish I had written it myself:

SUMMARY: The primary purpose of this position is to train the people you love most in this world to leave you. Forever.”

Kimberly, you have a new groupie. I want to party with you.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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