Thanks to Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney never working a day in her life, the subject of mothering has come to the fore once again – just in time for Mother’s Day.
While I believe that parenting, whether done primarily by a mother or a father, is indeed the hardest and most important job anyone will ever undertake, I do not think that society as a whole gives mothering any more than lip service. On Mother’s Day we can give mothers that pat on the back fulfilling our obligation and then be done with it. If indeed it is the hardest job, why do we not feel the need to give parents every opportunity to do the job well?
We certainly consider doctoring a critically important job, hence the years of training necessary to do it. The same can be said of any job. We need education to drive a car, fly a plane, work in a bank, be a neighborhood watchman. But giving birth requires no education at all. We place so little value on the job of mothering that it’s easy for a highly educated woman to make the comment that Mrs. Romney has never worked a day in her life.