Meaning in motherhood

With Mother’s Day now past many mothers, myself included, have been the recipients of those treasures beyond price

With Mother’s Day now past many mothers, myself included, have been the recipients of those treasures beyond price — the delicious bacon, egg and waffle breakfast, the butterfly footprint art, not to mention the lovely new flowers in my outdoor planters.

These are the things moms love to share.

But there are some other things about motherhood that I can do without.

The first is one of my biggest irritations. And the scenario goes like this:

You are out with a friend at a restaurant, or walking your dog or going to a show and someone stops you to chat.

“So hubby’s babysitting tonight?” they inquire.

Uh, uh. No.

You see, babysitting is when you hire someone to watch the kids for a couple of hours.

When your spouse is looking after his own children is it not called babysitting — it’s called parenting.

How often do you think this ever happens to a father?

When they go out, do they get asked if their wife is babysitting the children?

No, it’s just assumed that’s her womanly duty to watch over home, hearth and progeny. It’s an inherent sexism that simply sets my teeth on edge.

I also hate being called a “working mother.”

Yes, I have a job outside of the home, but when I leave here and return to my residence, I am working every bit as hard.

In my mind this phrase is also blatantly sexist. (When’s the last time you heard a man referred to as a “working father?”)

The last thing women need is a wider chasm between stay-at-home mothers and those who are employed outside the home. While some mothers make their choice without any qualms, I believe that scenario is the exception rather than the norm.

For most mothers I know, the choice between working or staying at home full time is often fraught with doubt and guilt. The stay-at-home mother worries about her potential lost career opportunities, financial implications and yes, likely even about her sanity as the children fight for the umpteenth time about the colour of their drinking cup.

The mother who works outside the home is fraught with guilt over missing the precious moments in their youngster’s life, over whether they are getting proper care. They mentally beat themselves up when they send their child to day care with a cough because they have to be in the office and there’s no other child-care option.

The term “working mother” simply creates divisions between mothers, at a time when women need to stick together in support of each other’s parenting choices, much of which are dictated by economic and social factors beyond our control. Mothers of all persuasions need more supports, not infighting over labels.

Bottom line — we’re all working mothers.