This mother really does know best.
A recent study by the Welch’s fruit juice company found that motherhood isn’t just a full-time job in itself, it’s actually two full-time jobs, with a half a job still left over.
And while some single men – and even some married fathers — might take that number with a grain of salt, one veteran of the mommy wars has no problem proving it’s true.
According to the New York Post, the “motherhood is equivalent to 2.5 full-time jobs” argument came from the Welch’s study that found women with children aged 5-12 self-reported an average daily starting time of 6:23 a.m. with an average “finishing” time of 8:30 p.m.
“Not many jobs require a 14-hour working day, and most moms have to do this every day of the week,” the Post reported.
“In total, that makes a mother’s working week a whopping 98 hours of work, or two and a half times more than the average job.”
But in a March column published by the conservative website The Federalist, journalist and mother Cheryl Magness said the Welch’s study was actually underestimating the situation.
“Assuming eight hours per night of sleep (a generous estimate), that would leave about 14 hours per week for everything else, including eating and personal grooming,” Magness wrote.
“I think most of the moms I know would be surprised to hear they have even that much time for such ‘luxuries.’ Being a mom is a 24/7 proposition, a vocation of such import and responsibility that most moms find it difficult to enjoy ‘down’ time even when they get it (which is hardly ever).”
Magness, who has re-entered the employment world as the managing editor of Reporter Online, the official web magazine of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and assistant editor at sisterdaughtermotherwife.com, a forum about Christian female vocation, had no problem listing the ways working outside the home is actually easier than being a full-time mother.
“When you finish a task, it actually stays done for a while instead of promptly getting eaten, dirtied, spilled, broken, smeared, walked on, torn, lost, or moved.
“You regularly get to talk to adults about things of interest to adults.
“You regularly get to eat a meal all the way through without having to attend to someone else’s needs.
“You don’t have to dig things out of the toilet that don’t belong there.
“You don’t have to hide the chocolate and scissors.
“You can go to the bathroom without worrying what disaster you’re going to find when you come out.
“Speaking of the bathroom, you don’t have to wend your way through an obstacle course to get to it.
“You get this crazy thing called a break.
“You actually get to stay in bed when you’re sick.
“I won’t even mention the salary, insurance, and retirement plan.”
Just about every woman who has raised a family can relate to that.
With some obvious variations, those statements are true of every woman who’s ever given birth, whether in the wealthy world of a woman like first lady Melania Trump, or a woman who lives a little closer to the day-to-day life of regular Americans.
One Twitter post about the Welch’s study summed it up perfectly:
Women aren't called Rocks for nothing.
— Bambhino (@MihlaliBambeni) May 11, 2018
The best part about Magness’ piece wasn’t it’s honesty, though; it was the way she ended:
“But as much as I love my current work, I believe that the most important work I have ever done consisted of singing a baby to sleep, chasing a diaperless toddler through the house, talking to a 7-year-old about God, consoling a 12-year-old following the death of a pet, and helping a 17-year-old pick out a college. The lion’s share of that work is done, and I’m a little sad about that.
“At the same time, I don’t think I could do it all again. It was too hard, and I’m not as young or as strong as I used to be. Thankfully, each season of life tends to bring the work that is suited to that season, and there is peace in accepting what God has given you to do today.”
That’s advice we could all use, regardless of whether we’re ever blessed with children.
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