I've read a number of posts lately where people have called mothering (or parenting) "the most thankless job in the world", and it really made me stop and think. And what I think is:
That is so far from the truth.
I know we all have days when we feel pretty beaten up and taken advantage of. We all have days when we are just not feeling the love. We all have days when all they've done is cry, and complain about the food, and woken you up too many times in the night, and refused to clean up their toys. And then there are the days when they've done all of those things and more.
I have all of those days too. A LOT of them. I have four young kids, so I get it from all directions.
There is no doubt, being a mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
It's certainly the hardest job I've ever done.
But the most thankless?
I do not agree. This is what I think:
If you're not seeing their appreciation, you might not be looking in the right places.
No, they don't say "thank you" in the way that we would might expect to be thanked by an adult for all the hard work we do.
If I was back at my corporate marketing job I would expect my colleagues to thank me when I email them a detailed report that I spent hours working on, or I would expect my manager to congratulate me on a job well done when I completed a year long project. When I make lunch for my husband, I expect him to say "thank you". When I babysit a friend's kids I expect her to say "thank you".
Children don't "thank you" in the way you might be used to.
But they do say "thank you" in so many of their own ways, without those words.
On a daily basis, I am overwhelmed with it.
I am showered with hugs and kisses and people begging to sit on my lap, asking to give me some cuddles.
I am given little flowers picked from the yard.
I own countless custom works of art, created just for me - pictures of unicorns and horses, stick drawings of me and my daughter wearing pink tutus with flowers in our hair, pictures of airplanes and footballs.
I have scraps of paper on which small people have written the word "mom" for the very first time.
I've been given three blankets and a stuffed horse and a stuffed dog to sleep with, because they want to make sure I have something to "love on" when they are away from me in the night.
I get my hair done, my hand held, my tiniest of scratches bandaged and kissed.
I get meals shared with me (and fed to me!), and get a last little bite of cookie or ice cream saved for me.
I get private serenades, original songwriting, and dance performances choreographed just for me.
I have people who love me so much that they never want to leave my side, and who can only be comforted with hugs from me.
And occasionally, without being told to, they say things like "mom, you're the best!"
All of these things are their ways of saying "thank you", the only ways they know how.
I don't know how anyone could call this a thankless job. What other job could possibly exist that offers these kinds of benefits?
I've had a lot of other jobs. Jobs that paid me a lot of money.