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I have something to tell you.
You might need to sit down for this: Being a mom is hard. This breaking news is just the tip of the iceberg.
Not only is it hard, but it is often thankless and undervalued. Sometimes you can’t help wondering if it’s worth it.
Is Being a Mom Still Worthwhile?
Yes. If you want to be a mom, then being a mom is very worthwhile. It sometimes feels like moms are no longer respected or admired but we are still valuable and important. Being a mom is a lot of work, often unappreciated work, but it is its own reward.
The Pushback Against Motherhood
I always knew that I wanted to be a mother but I was in no hurry. I wanted to figure out who I was first before I tried to raise children.
I worried about resenting children if I didn’t have the life experiences I felt I needed before they came along.
I found great strength in the novel “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. The main character, Jo, was based on Alcott herself.
- Alcott, Louisa May (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 546 Pages – 03/02/2019 (Publication Date) – SeaWolf Press (Publisher)
In the novel, Jo has the desire to pursue love and take care of her family but she also understands the need to find herself first. It was an important message that resonated with me.
Skip ahead to 2023.
My son was in a production of “Little Women” at his high school. At least, it was called “Little Women.” It had the same characters of the “Little Women” we all know and love.
There were a few similar scenes. However, the story was rewritten for the stage in a way that completely changed the message of the book.
This new version’s message was that all men are evil, being a wife is demeaning and becoming a mother is a mistake.
At the end of the play, my 12-year-old daughter turned to me and said, “I don’t know what we just saw, but it wasn’t ‘Little Women’.”
I was incredibly disturbed and offended by this adaptation. I wasn’t alone. The audience sometimes laughed uncomfortably and at least once, when Mr. March struck a defeated Marmee, audibly gasped.
By the time I saw my son after the show, I didn’t know whether to scream or cry. I asked him if he really felt that motherhood was a mistake. Did I seem unhappy to him?
He admitted that he and his cast mates were unhappy with the script but they were actors and they worked with what they had.
This caused me to wonder: Why does society decry traditional family roles?
What has made motherhood, in the eyes of some, seem like a prison sentence? Motherhood is hard, as pop culture keeps reminding us.
However, it is wonderfully joyful as well.
As often as I grow frustrated with my teen, struggle with paying escalating bills, or feel self-pity at a lack of empathy from my children, I experience unparalleled happiness at spending time with them. Watching them grow, and giving them the foundation they need to be happy, successful people.
The Karen Phenomenon
By now we all know that the name Karen is associated with difficult women who demand to be treated with unreasonably high expectations.
Sadly, the term has become synonymous with any woman who takes the time and effort to stand up for herself. This is especially true of women who advocate for their children.
Too many moms feel that they cannot be strong without being called a Karen. They feel powerless and wonder why they even bother trying to manage their homes.
The culture has created an atmosphere where even the slightest statement that isn’t entirely positive turns a deserving mom into a “Karen.”
It has happened to me. Just last week, my daughter ordered a meal from a mall food court. She felt very grown up ordering her own food and paying for it with the money I’d given her.
I watched with a smile from my seat at a nearby table. That smile disappeared when she came to me, sadly holding her tray of food, and said they had forgotten to give her the drink that came with the meal.
She felt awkward asking for the drink and decided it was best to do without. I told her this wasn’t the kind of thing she should feel awkward about. She paid for her drink. Therefore she should receive it.
I walked with her back to the food court restaurant and said, with a polite smile, “My daughter just bought this meal but wasn’t given the drink that came with it.” Without missing a beat, the server said, “Okay, Karen” with a sneer.
My daughter flinched faster than I did. The uncalled for statement was rude, but it wasn’t the first time a simple request has been belittled.
Being a mom means constantly having to defend oneself. Whether being called a “Karen” or a “soccer mom” or having to put up with snickers when talking about the PTA, there are a lot of stereotypes that we moms face.
That doesn’t mean being a mom isn’t worthwhile.
The Working Mom vs. the Stay-at-Home Mom
My friend and I were pregnant at the same time. We had both gone through fertility treatments and met each other in an infertility support group.
It was a happy day when we learned that we were due with our first children within a couple of months of each other.
Though we went through our pregnancies together, our future plans were very different. I had intended to continue working. I was interviewing nannies and touring daycare facilities.
My friend had no interest in working out of the house. Her dream was to be a stay-at-home mom. She turned in her notice and prepped a budget that would allow her family to thrive with one less income.
I went back to work after my maternity leave was over. After a few days, I realized that I did not want to be away from my child. I turned in my notice and became a stay-at-home mom.
A few months after her son was born, my friend realized that being a stay-at-home mom was not going to work for her. She hired a nanny and went back to work. Our sons are both 16 now.
They are both happy and healthy. Being a mom has been worthwhile for both of us, though in different ways.
There is a tale of a decades-long row between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Stay-at-home moms think that working moms aren’t really moms.
Working moms think that stay-at-home moms are vapid trophy wives. The funny thing is, neither of those statements are true.
Though I have long heard these statements, I have never personally met a working mom or a stay-at-home mom who thought either of these things about the other.
Every working mom I know feels some degree of guilt for not being home with their children. Every stay-at-home mom I know feels some degree of guilt for not contributing to the family with direct finances and benefits.
Each of us admire what the other can do while wondering if our families would benefit from us making other choices.
The truth is, most moms build each other up regardless of their choices. We all know that every mom’s situation is different. We also all know how extremely difficult it is to be a mom of any type.
Unfortunately, there are voices out there who attempt to manufacture a divide. Hearing these disparaging words make some moms wonder if they should feel less fulfilled.
What Makes Motherhood Worth It?
My son texted me a few minutes ago. He is having friend problems and wanted advice about how to talk to her.
I gave him some thoughts and wished him luck. He then thanked me and told me he loved me. I told him I love him more. He texted back, “Mom, that’s impossible.”
Between texts with my son, I had a call from my 12-year-old daughter. She was finished with her school day and on her way to dance rehearsals. It’s a long day for her, a hard day, and sometimes she just needs to talk to her mom.
She wanted to tell me about her classes, her tests and what her friends talked about at lunch. She told me she loved me and said she can’t wait to see me after rehearsals are over.
At the end of the day, I will help my daughter with her math homework. I will tell my son that no, I can’t help him with calculus, but if he ever wants to go back to seventh-grade math, I’ll be there for him.
We will laugh. We will hug. Sometimes we will yell and cry. No matter what happens, we always know that we are there for each other. Seeing my children grow, learn and thrive: That’s what makes it worth it.
Sometimes it feels like being a mom is so looked down upon it’s not even worth doing.
You have to remind yourself that being a mom is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. What is your take? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments.