The Life of a Working Mother is Unbelievable!
OMG. A favorite meme on Facebook these days talks about “being old isn’t for sissies.” Forget it. It’s the life of a working mother that isn’t for sissies. It’s ridiculously hard. There is a reason, a serious reason, why we have our children when we are young.
Back when I was a kid (let’s not talk about how long ago that was) mothers were at home. Meals got fixed, houses and laundry got cleaned, all that mundane stuff got done while kids were at school. In my day we played outside until dark, unsupervised. Children being kidnapped off the street and school shootings didn’t happen.
Children’s extracurricular activities were minimal. Boy’s athletic activity was real but it usually amounted to practice and one game of some sort per week. Girls in my school didn’t have athletic options. Athletic options outside of school just weren’t a thing. When I look at the extracurricular activities of today’s children, it blows my mind.
Yes, it was tough for a mother when the kids were babies but at least Mom was home with the sick child and the need to balance a job with the needs at home wasn’t a problem. Unless, of course, MOM is sick. But Moms weren’t often sick back then, untrue today.
Being a working mother isn’t for sissies.
Imagine when everything, everything that needs to be done has to be shoved into three hours (or less) in the evening (or early morning) and that isn’t all at home. Those dang kids are growing, have to eat/sleep and do homework. And parents have to collapse. When I wrote my book, It’s All About the Food, I actually imagined that these parents would be reading it. Did I truly think they would have time to read a book?
And it isn’t just “stuff” needing to be done. Children don’t just become adults by adding years, they have to be trained. That doesn’t just happen by osmosis. I think often about the amount of stress that kids endure these days. Their parents also have that to deal with. Whatever a child learns, whether a child thrives is likely dependent on the contribution of their parents.
As one of those old, retired people, long past the time when my child was at home, I have lots more time. I can spend huge chunks of time learning about health and nutrition and write books about it. I just finished listening to a four hour podcast. That’s my thing. But I still can read other people’s books and play bridge once a week. I could never have done that when I was working and raising a child. Unfortunately, I ultimately paid a health price for NOT knowing anything about health and nutrition. And I am not alone.
But that isn’t the point. The point is, a parent who survives successfully today either came into the job well trained or the missing information is handed to them on a silver platter. Message to the world! Don’t tell young working mothers to set the table. If they didn’t learn at home, the lessons better arrive in chewable chunks that fit into tiny little increments of time. And the stuff they need to know has to be high-priority important right now. How the table should be set is not high priority.
I’m writing a new book and getting this message was important for me. Health and nutrition is more critical than anyone can imagine. If the priority of messages to parents has to be both clear and believable, and come in tiny increments, so be it. I will deliver that.
In the meantime, society, don’t waste too much time saying what a working mother should be doing or criticizing their judgement in having the children in the first place. They are doing the best they know how. What you don’t know, you don’t know. The life of a working mother is unbelievable!
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. She is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry), and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.