Mothers deserve more than a day every 12 months. Twenty-four hours isn’t enough for such a daunting title with just three letters — Mom.
The website Salary.com calculates how much a mother would be paid if it were a paying gig: it works out to $143,102 a year in compensation for stay-at-home moms and $90,223 for working ones.
That seems low for such an all-encompassing, 24/7 job. After all, what other job requires the diverse and demanding skills of judge, janitor, housekeeper, caregiver, teacher, grief counselor, fashion consultant, personal shopper, chauffeur, therapist, chef, tutor, event planner, academic adviser, dish washer, nutritionist, tailor, nurse, laundry manager, referee and (on really bad days) plumber all in one shift, and occasionally all at the same time?
Moms are dozens of unofficial titles, many taken for granted.
And, that's only for the first 18 years. Motherhood doesn’t end when a son or daughter hits 18. It's a lifetime investment.
For non-moms, the job can seem overwhelming, simultaneously requiring both spines of steel, open hearts and the emotional improv skills of a Second City performer. As the abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe is quoted as saying, “Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.”
Or to put another way, to quote the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”
That’s why moms get top billing above all others.
Sure, dads and other family members do their part rearing families and keeping houses in order. And every family is a little different — there are adopted families, mixed families, every other kind of family — all with their own roles and dynamics, just as there are single moms, married moms, working moms and guardian moms who aren’t blood relatives.
But by and large, there is one mom of the house, whether by birth or otherwise, who runs the show and has her hand on the controls. They’re the ones juggling life in this hectic modern age. They’re the ones with just the right tone, organizational skills and optimistic outlook to make this crazy world seem OK.
That need doesn’t go away when children become adults. The world needs moms. We all need them.
Mary Towles Sasseen, of Henderson, Ky., gets credit for founding Mother’s Day in the 1880s, although it seems curious it took that long for humans to realize we should recognize the everyday miracle that is motherhood.
Society places so many unfair expectations on moms, along with countless sacrifices — professional goals delayed, careers altered, dreams deferred. Moms carry the load, weather the storm and keep the faith.
Every mom deserves to be honored this Mother’s Day.
And how should we show our appreciation? Flowers are nice. Cards never hurt. But a more appropriate gift might be two words that should be used liberally and frequently all year long: Thank you.
Thank you for all you do, have done and will do, moms.
Yours is a tough job. We can’t imagine anyone else doing it.