It can be good to have a job, I mean the kind of job where you leave the house and go to another building and work for a stranger to provide a product or service to other strangers. It’s nice to be a “professional”, of any sort. It can be fulfilling to have a “career.” It’s certainly necessary for a lot of us, myself included. But we’ve elevated this type of existence to a level where it simply does not belong. The truth is, whether we want to accept it or not, whatever 9 to 5 job we have, we are interchangeable, expendable, replaceable. Someone else can do what you do, and maybe even do it better. You’re a statistic, a number on a payroll sheet. You could stop doing it tomorrow and someone else would step in and the world would not be seriously altered by this change. I include myself in all of this, of course.
It’s worth noting on this particular day that mothers and fathers are the only people whose jobs are so integral to the functioning of society that they simply can not be replaced without causing serious and possibly fatal complications to the entire system. I don’t care if you’re a top executive at a Fortune 500 firm, you could quit tomorrow and the ramifications would be, at most, temporary and manageable. You quit your job as a parent, however, and the ripples of that decisions will be felt for decades, and in ways and to degrees that you can not possibly fathom. On Mother’s Day we like to say nice things about how moms have the “toughest job” on the planet. I agree, but it bugs me when these platitudes are abandoned the rest of the year as we fall back on the absurd feminist notion that a woman isn’t really “contributing” unless she has a “real job.” This is like saying an astronaut doesn’t impress you unless he also collects stamps in his free time. A 9 to 5 job on top of being a mother, although financially necessary for many people, does not at all compete in importance and dignity with the transcendent duties of motherhood itself.
It’s funny when you think about it: “Jobs” are only rather recent phenomenons. Two hundred years ago, few people had “jobs”, yet they lived a life of work and sweat and blood and tears. They didn’t “go to work” because that would imply that there was ever a moment when they weren’t working. Their life was work. Punch in when you wake up, punch out when you go to bed. The Industrial Age changed this dynamic dramatically, but I bring up this bit of history just to put everything in perspective.
So, yes, moms have answered the highest calling and have accepted the toughest “career” on planet Earth. They don’t create a product, they create a person. And then they guide, shape, mold, teach and raise that person, or multiple people, and thereby change the world and impact society in ways no business on the NASDAQ ever could. Let’s try to keep this in mind all the time.
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