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My wife has the real career and I work from home and take care of our son, so my insights into raising children are more analogous to what is typically motherhood rather than fatherhood. Raising children is a ton of work, and I have recently been thinking about how motherhood gets very little respect from our society in general. A moment from an old Simpsons episode popped into my head the other day, the kids were supposed go with their parents to work (so Principal Skinner could go on vacation early) and the note sent home specifically said that being a mom isn't work, which is why you don't get paid for it. I know it's just a cheap joke, but it really does seem to be a fairly typical attitude in this country. The men go to work and earn the money. They are the bread winners, they are doing what matters. The women are just at home raising the children and keeping the household together, or whatever. They are probably just spending half the day on their asses watching TV. Maybe it is just because I grew up in a fairly fundamentalist environment, but this wasn't simply a joke, it did seem to be the general attitude I grew up around, and to a lesser extend that I still see.
Another example that came to mind recently is the whole idea of the welfare mom. My dad listened to Rush Limbaugh a lot when I was growing up and I recall hearing these welfare moms completely vilified. "They are just having kid after kid to get their check from the government". Granted, this is a fairly extreme view from an extreme source. And yet, for the idea to land at all in anyone's mind, people already have to believe that raising kids is easy. The whole point is that they are deadbeats, it makes no sense that they are doing something this difficult just to get some money from the government. If my entire motivation was to get a check in the mail, I would never have another kid, it makes no sense. It's way too much work. Seriously, how much money would it take for it to be worth it for that alone?
This post is a bit rambly, I'm mostly just working out some thoughts that have been accumulating in my brain for the last little bit. If I do have a point of some sort it is this, I have a new appreciation for mothers, especially single mothers. I honestly have no idea how they do it. My wife and I are working together and we are both run super ragged.