Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are you working?

Mothers all over the country will be celebrated this Sunday, May 10, and what a fine thing that is. For the world's hardest job pays no salary, knows no schedule, issues no commendations, and lasts your entire life; so, well it should be honored once a year.

Still, while millions of people will be taking Mom to dinner or hurriedly buying her the last bouquet at the Stop 'n Go, so many still do not acknowledge the demands of being a mother--that it is every bit as much a calling and a job as any other profession that might earn a woman a paycheck and get her recognized as "working." Indeed, an acquaintance--a perfectly bright gentleman--just last night asked me if I was working. How does a mother answer that question without sounding peevish but remaining honest? Yes, I work. All the time. Am I getting a paycheck, you mean? No, nothing like that.

It would have been very nice if the women's liberation movement had, instead of pushing ladies into employment as the only way to fulfill one's abilities, raised the nation's understanding of the invaluable work that women do in the home and in society as mothers, wives, and volunteers. Wouldn't that have been something?

As it is, let's enjoy our day and politely spread the word that yes, we are working.

P.S. As an interesting aside, the woman who championed Mother's Day into being recognized as a national holiday, Anna M. Jarvis, became very distraught over the commercialization of the day. She actually fought to halt the selling of greeting cards and flowers and even came to regret what she had put in motion. Nevertheless, she did a good thing, and hopefully she knows that now. She died in 1948 without ever becoming a mother herself.

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