I read an article that stopped me in my tracks and made me question my own viewpoint. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to affirm…well, me! Lol. The writer of the article had strong opinions, and though she and I may never ever get a chance to converse, I thought it would be fitting as a member of LA’s mommysphere to start a conversation with you, my readers, about the topic.
Before I even began the process of weaving various pieces of my thoughts and reflections together, I needed to determine the statement in the article which impacted me so strongly:
“Being a parent is a source of joy and challenge and meaning for many humans of all genders. But it’s not the most important job there is.”
The writer goes on to elaborate from there. My issue with the writer’s statements lies in the need for clarification of the phrase “most important.” Most important is like most beautiful; it translates differently for each person. If we are to consider the most important jobs a person, or a woman in this case, is to hold, we must first provide a definition of “importance.” In the eyes of the writer, Mrs. Clooney’s dedication to her career as a human rights lawyer is extremely important. I would agree with that. While I cannot say that I have studied Amal Clooney extensively (I’ve been extremely busy in my very important job as “mom” *wink*), I think it’s amazing that she has the opportunity to speak to world leaders and fight for what is just, globally. I don’t think anyone could argue that point. What I can debate, however, is that her job is any more important than mine, or yours, no matter what the professional realm.
Asking me to value Amal Clooney’s career while insisting that motherhood isn’t a job at all, and reducing it to “a very demanding volunteer position that you can never, ever get out of,” is preposterous at best. Why, you ask? Because motherhood is often the very reason world leaders, lawyers, doctors and teachers exist! For some mothers, the title “mom” means raising the next generation of leaders and members of the very society that will shape what the world will become. With that burden (we have gladly accepted) comes the responsibility of contributing to not only our households, but to the greater good.
After I became a mother, I chose to continue to work outside of my home. It was what resonated most with me. It’s what felt right. But even if I had chosen to stay home to devote every moment to my two children, the task of motherhood would not have suddenly lost some measure of clout or standing. Being a mom and entrepreneur was intensely powerful for me. It didn’t downgrade my ability to aspire to or achieve greatness in the world. Loving, influencing and nurturing the minds of those two little souls, while simultaneously climbing every ladder in my professional life, resulted in realized, ignited and implemented potential. Perhaps it’s something a woman, maybe like the writer who hasn’t been a mother, wouldn’t quite understand. It’s a “you-had-to-be-there” kind of thing.
The last of the article states that the most important jobs are “ the one [sic] that comes with the most respect and power.” To that, I’d say a few things. Take a walk in the shoes of a woman who works 120 hours a week to change lives and reach goals and still wakes up multiple times a night to wipe runny noses and check under beds for monsters. Talk to the mothers of the most powerful men and women in this world and ask them what they sacrificed so that the people you applaud so loudly could be successful. The glorification of motherhood, or the lack thereof (i.e. this article), is important because of opinions and viewpoints like this one. Perhaps if more individuals understood and revered what moms do each day, we would realize that the glorification of motherhood does not, in fact, imply that a woman’s main purpose is not to change the world. It’s quite the opposite. She is the biggest change agent that exists. She is transforming the planet, human by human.
I can’t think of a more important job. Can you?