Monday, April 28, 2014

World's Toughest Job you say?

By now I'm sure you have seen this video (this youtube link has over 10 million views even). A fake company comes up with this fake job and posts it for people to apply. About 20 responded and their interviews were taped. The description of job is read off to them and one by one the applicants seem to turn the job down. In the end it turns out the description was of a mother, billed as the toughest job in the world.

Now let me say something first. I am by no means saying that being a mother is easy or not tough. They do a lot, put up with a lot, and they keep on going. My mom did it, my girlfriend is doing it, and women all over the world are doing it. But with that in mind this ad goes too far. It goes from trying to show how hard it is to be a mother to straight up idolizing mothers.

I saw what was a pretty damn good break down of some of the "qualifications" over at the Men's Rights Reddit:
Some of my facebook friends posted this. This was my response to them:
I feel the need, as usual, to play devils advocate on this one and voice a dissenting opinion. I guess I should go line by line and look at each of the "qualifications".
"Standing up almost all the time." I think this seems pretty subjective and the applicability of this qualification should be judged on a case by case basis, as opposed to a blanket statement that mothers have to be standing all the time. I've gone to the park with my 2 year old son. I've seen mothers chasing after their children. I've also seen mothers sitting on the benches at the playground chatting with other moms. Nothing wrong with either. It just seems that some children, like mine, are "higher drive" and require more effort to keep an eye on than others. Luck of the draw, if you will. I would be interested in seeing who stands more on the job... mothers or assembly line workers. 

"Constantly exerting yourself." Again, very relative and subjective. How physically strenuous is being a parent compared to, say, working on a commercial fishing ship, down in a coal mine, in the forest as a lumberjack, or on a construction site? How much stamina do you need as a parent compared to an ER physician, who will work up to a 36 hour shift during their residency? 
"Working from 135 to unlimited hours per week" 135 hours per week equates to, roughly, 19.5 hrs per day. While I can see that being the case for a single mother with a newborn infant, this gauntlet only lasts a few months until the child starts to settle into a sleeping routine. It also assumes that a mother has ZERO minutes of break during any part of the day whatsoever. I don't think this is really true. Kids nap. Older kids go to school. "Well, I have to get other housework done while the kid naps." Sure. I get that. Many working adults have to do errands during their breaks as well. A "breakless" job is not unique to parenthood. 

"Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary" No. No it isn't. Knowing how to put a band aid on a cut is not the same as 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school to get that degree. Balancing a checkbook and keeping up with a monthly household budget is not the same as 4 years of school to learn finance. Cooking spaghetti and macaroni & cheese is not the same as formally studying and getting a degree in the culinary arts. These things don't compare. This past weekend, I mended our fence. That doesn't mean that being a degree in carpentry is necessary to be a father and dad. 
"No vacations" Depends. Most families have grandparents that can help. I will agree that vacations become "working vacations" when you have kids and take them with you.
"The work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other holidays" Yeah. That's pretty true. 

"No time to sleep" For the first few months after baby is born, there is certainly a deficit of sleep. After the child gets the hang of a sleep cycle, however, there is no reason why mom shouldn't be able to get any sleep. 
"Salary = $0" Technically, this is true. Money, however, is just one form of value. We use it as a medium of exchange. Parenthood doesn't pay like most other jobs. I will grant you that. There are other forms of value and wealth though. 
So.... all in all... tough job? Yes. Toughest job? No. Stuff like this makes for great propaganda though. 
Propaganda indeed.

Not only does this video exaggerate what mothers do but I think it is also a disservice to fathers as well.

I wonder if part of their figuring in this was the presumption that since dad as the stereotypical breadwinner is getting paid for the work that he does its not as tough. Well let's not act like he's keeping all that money to himself and not using it to support his family. I think saying "well at least dad is getting paid for his work" is a bit dismissive of the contributions that he makes to the family especially if that is being used as evidence to say its not as tough as being a mom.

But anyway making that argument against this ad just feeds the "Battle of the Sexes" mentality that has done little else but keep men and women divided over the years.

Parenting is hard no matter which part of you are doing. We don't need checklists, witty posts, and viral videos trying to tell us who has it worse or who has it harder. We need to get together and work on raising our kids.