Is Motherhood The Right Gig For You?

by Melissa King
lose yourself to motherhood
coolmilo / iStock

Think being a mommy is the right career choice for you? You are not alone! Many people have launched careers in this field, only to discover that the truth behind the shiny veneer of life with little ones is real life with little ones. To avoid viewing this opportunity with rose-colored glasses, here are a few things to consider before pursuing a living in motherhood:

1. A Degree Won’t Help You

You can read all the books in the world, but nothing will ever prepare you for that first time you deal with a horrendous fit, the moment that your favorite sweater gets covered in vomit, or the day that (God forbid) you find out at 6 a.m. that you’ve run out of coffee.

2. No Training Offered

Following on the last point, not only will your “educational” pursuits be less than preparatory, no one has come up with a better preparation course, or a formula for how to solve every problem you will encounter. On-the-job training, and trial and error is the best you can hope for.

3. Alcohol Is Frowned Upon

If you envision yourself in this position as Betty Draper sipping cocktails in the middle of the day, think again. No matter how frustrating your little tyrants may get and how delicious that cabernet in the kitchen may look, this is 2016, and drinking away the sorrows of the day probably won’t win you any points.

4. No Performance Reviews

No one will sit you down and talk you through what you’re doing right or explain to you that the massive fits you field on a daily basis are not a reflection on your work. You may never know whether anything you’re doing is working or not. Be prepared for a lot of unsolicited “advice” (read: criticism), however.

5. It’s a Thankless Position

There will be no muffin baskets or gift cards from the people who benefit from your work, thanking you for your service. If you’re as blessed as I am, you might have a co-worker who brings you chocolate to say they understand, but you’ll be lucky if you can sneak a bite without the clients pestering you for half of it.

6. You Must Become an Expert in Everything

From what different colors of poop mean, to diagnosing illnesses, to fixing broken electronics (without electrocuting anyone), to how to make green beans taste like cupcakes, to obscure trivia on the finer points of dinosaur-watching, you will be expected to have all the answers. Be prepared to hone your improv skills.

7. Most Demanding ‘Clients’ in the World

You’re here to serve them, but contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right. Most often, your interactions will involve impossible requests, dictatorial tendencies, the need for constant attention, and lots of hand-holding.

8. The Hours Are Insanely Long

Sunup to sundown sums up the expectations well, although depending on the client, it may be even longer. Also, bathroom breaks and time for meals are not guaranteed. (Is this even legal?)

9. The On-Call Hours Are Even Longer

Be prepared to be called upon outside of your normal work hours. Often. Middle of the night calls, start times before your first alarm sounds in the morning, and extended bedtimes will be common and unavoidable.

10. The Pay Is Terrible

Okay, well nonexistent actually. This is more of an “unpaid internship” type of thing, that promises “experience” rather than monetary compensation. There is a popular statistic stating that if proportional to the workload, the wages should land in the six-figure range, but good luck with that.

There you have it. Still think motherhood is the right job for you? You are a either insane, a saint, or one very brave soul. So, you might just have what it takes.

If you’re finding yourself having some doubts, however, I recommend a long hard look at what you’re trying to gain. If your goal is money, power or sanity, then stay away! This industry is not for you.