Please note that this post is not titled "Happy Mother's Day" as I seek to remain cognizant of the fact that this Hallmark holiday isn't a happy day for everyone. This post acknowledges all of my mothers and their incredibly important roles - even if there isn't a card in the card aisle that specifically speaks to them.
Recently a Boston agency posted a job listing online for a “director of operations” position and videotaped the interviewees. Some of the qualifications and requirements were:
- No time to sleep
- Increased workload on holidays
- 135+ hours per week and constant exertion
- $0 Salary
The video was a hit and went viral as the job description was actually describing that of a working mom, claiming it to be the toughest unpaid job in the world.
Being a mom certainly ranks amongst the toughest jobs in the world (from what I can see), unfortunately, the video left out a large population of moms. In fact two out my three moms were left out of the video’s targeted recipients. Qualifications and requirements for the incredibly tough jobs of being a foster mother or birth mother may include tasks such as the ones previously listed as well as these:
- Must be able to manage intrusive questions regarding your behavioral choices
- Must be open to an unannounced visits on your doorstep from birth-children
- Will experience yearly triggers when opening your mailbox to find a holiday card, letter or email from your foster child.
- Must maintain a cheery disposition when coyly looking at everyone that passes by in case they may be your kin or a child you raised for a short time.
- Must use wisdom when discerning how and with whom to educate about topics such as abortion, adoption, trauma, neglect or parenting.
- Must be able to play with your child for an hour in an office setting while being watched by a social worker, then say goodbye in a non-emotional way as to not scare your child.
- Must be able to hand off the child you’ve grown attached to over the year to a stranger whom you hope will take as good of care as you did.
- $0 Salary (Benefits include: unexplained sick days, feeling invisible, post-partum depression without a child and loss of control).
Popular understanding of today's American mom is glamorized by receiving hundreds of congratulatory Facebook messages after announcing a pregnancy, picking out matching outfits for twin toddlers, coaching t-ball for the youngin’s, and sending the tween off in her beautiful prom dress. The joy of celebrating these milestones are undeniably exciting times. However we mustn’t neglect that a child’s birthdate for a birthparent, or the anniversary of the termination of one’s parental rights is a milestone in parenting as well – acknowledged in a different way.
Birthparents who choose to share their voice and work through their grief by healing publicly are parenting even whilst their child is not legally theirs. 3am breastfeeding sessions are easily understood to be a difficult time period during child infancy in terms of parental sleep deprivation. However, fewer people understand the magnitude of energy required for parents when learning how to assimilate back to an empty nest and quiet home after fostering a child with special needs for the past two years. Or for a birthparent who works two jobs, while single-parenting their 2 month old, only to have the child removed by child protective services because they weren’t able to keep their child safe.
Whether you’re a working mom, a stay at home mom, a birth mom, an adoptive mom or a foster mom – your job is tough. Whether you’re visiting your child in their home country, struggling with infertility or awaiting a referral – your job is tough. Whether you are visiting your child who is currently in a foster home and your rights are about to be terminated – you are important and your role is tough. Whether you made decisions that were hurtful to your child thus resulting in the termination of your rights or not, you are still a parent and you have great meaning and importance to your child and to the world.
***Authors note: Father’s Day is around the corner and an almost identical job description will be used. ***