The Thanklessness of Motherhood

by Jill Smokler
Originally Published: 

Motherhood, as wondrous and fulfilling as it may be, is an utterly thankless job.

When else is it considered acceptable to be hollered for when someone needs an ass wiping, and not get so much as a thank you for a job well done?

Just last week, I had to turn around immediately after school drop-off, drive back home to find Lily’s cleats, and return to school just to deliver them to her. Did I get so much as a thank- you? No, I got attitude for forgetting her socks.

Back when I brought my laundry to the wash and dry in college, I certainly mustered up a smile and a thank-you as it was presented to me all clean and folded in my plastic laundry basket (those were the days). My children, however, seem to think the clothes magically end up clean and organized in their drawers while they sleep. If only.

Dinner is met with eye rolls rather than appreciation and, God forbid, I not have their favorite cereal stocked in the pantry.

But when I do have it stocked, ninety-nine percent of the time, do you think I get so much as a “thanks!”? No. I do not.

Obviously, I do these things because I love my children and taking care of them—asses and all—is what I signed up for. But every once in a while, a sincere “thank you for everything you do, Mom” would be nice.

That’s why, once I became a mother, Thanksgiving took the cake as my favorite holiday. A day to really reflect on all that I’m grateful for, and even better, a day to be lavished in gratitude myself. None of the Hallmark cheesiness of Mother’s Day and no messy breakfasts in bed to clean up after. Just one day a year to truly be thankful for my three biggest blessings, and to be celebrated by them, as well. Sign me up!

Except it never seems to happen like that.

“What are you thankful for?” I asked the kids a few years back, desperately fishing for compliments when they weren’t flowing as I’d hoped.

“Poop,” Evan enthusiastically responded. Poop? Ooookay, strike one. Luckily I have three kids.

“Eating ice cream,” Ben followed up with. Ice cream? None for you today, punk.

“Ummmmm…” Lily was thoughtful. This was what I’d been waiting for. She was my new favorite, perhaps for life.

“Daddy,” she finally pronounced.

Daddy? Daddy?

Daddy, who was napping on the couch and hadn’t or wouldn’t lift a finger to prepare the delicious dinner you’re about to in- hale? DADDY? Daddy didn’t carry you and birth you and sure as hell isn’t sporting stretch marks because of you. Daddy? And ice cream? And poop?! Who the hell raised these children and did they come with a return policy?

“That’s nice,” I mustered up.

“What about me?”

“Of course, you,” she responded.

Well, okay.

Of course me.

After Daddy, poop and ice cream.

That’s motherhood for you.

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The above was excerpted from Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays. For more like it, pick up your copy today! I mean, seriously, it’s three bucks. Just buy it.

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