Motherhood and sacrifice are two terms that have long been intertwined in ways that have become reasonable and largely acceptable. However, very few think otherwise and still manage to put it in a positive way.
The recent article that appeared on New York Times, Sunday Review section under the title ‘Motherhood Isn’t A Sacrifice, It’s Selfishness’ sheds some light on how the words that the society associates with motherhood weakens the role that mothers are naturally bestowed upon.
We start with the most stereotypical statements used in society—A mother’s job is considered the toughest. A glimpse into a working mother’s life is more like this.
She has to take care of her child along with managing her work and playing the role of a care giver at home. She has to ensure that her kids are ready for school, their lunches are packed and their homework is up to date. Some days she has to leave early from work and rush to take her sick kid home who is at the day care center.
A mother accepts a routine like this as a part of her life. She prepares herself to juggle between the time she devotes to her work and her role as a mother—while there is little time she is left with for herself, to pay attention to her own way of living when all that now she focuses on is her kids.
We aren’t solely considering the lives of working women. Even the mothers’ who leave their job in the interest of their expanded family, religiously devote their time to the kids.
It is very true that when a woman becomes a mother, her focus shifts from everything around her to her child.
Sympathizing with her ever-busy life, we often tag motherhood as a period where we highlight the sacrificial aspect of a woman’s life, in a pitiful way, which can neither be denied nor dealt with.
As was mentioned by Karen Rinaldi, author of the novel ‘The End of Men’ and founder and publisher of Harper Wave imprint at HarperCollins, we are wrongly tagging motherhood as a job. She mentions that a job is where an employer gets paid for the work they do and the work is reported to the employee.
Parenthood cannot be termed as a job. We aren’t taking care of our children out of necessity. There is no denying the fact that parenthood is a responsibility, but using words like ‘job’ makes raising children a mechanical work that requires serious effort.
Rinaldi focuses on taking parenthood, especially motherhood in a positive way. Rather than a sacrifice, it should be considered as a privilege that a mother enjoys. It is not an unavoidable burden on her. Becoming a mother is a choice that brings her endless joy. As a mother, she does everything in her power to give her child the best care and endless love—this is willful and not something she complains and despises about it to fellow mothers.
Of course, there are days of stress and frustration. No mother gives up she on her kids. Instead, she seeks for a solution to cope with moments in ways that are in best interest of her child. However, it is a prejudice against her when we sympathize with her, thinking that her role as a mother is way too demanding.
Using positive words like privilege and gift of producing life are not intended on shadowing the hardships she faces. This only empowers her and pushes us to have a better outlook towards the role of a mother.
Even the fathers have a big role to play as a parent. However, from a social perspective, it is easier for them to have children as well as focus on their professional career, unlike mothers who have to choose between the two.
Motherhood can be tagged as selfish, referring to it as a way by which women exploit their ability and power of nourishing a baby inside her body for 9 months, giving birth to them and nurturing them till they are self-dependent.
It is selfish because she chooses to nurture her little one and enjoy little precious moments with her child which her partner may not be able to, to a fuller extent—even though it means pulling out her hair when the baby won’t stop crying and there is no one to help or giving cuddles to her baby when he/she is hurt or sad and runs into her arms.
What if we refer to motherhood as priceless, beautiful and selfish. When even nature is biased to give the mother the power of giving life, we mustn’t hold the words on the tip of our tongues, for mothers deserve more than that.