The Hardest Job is the Best Job

Proctor & Gamble has it right!

Have you seen their latest advertisement campaign?  It’s centered around the Olympic theme, as are many commercials out right now, and one other notable figure: a mom.  There’s one particular commercial showing a woman scurrying around her child’s life – she does the laundry between getting her child from school and packing lunches in the morning, she is up in the wee hours of the morning to take her girl to gymnastics practice, and up late at night to tuck her into bed.  At the end of the commercial, P & G makes their sentiment clear:  “The hardest job is the best job.”

“Well said, P & G.  Well said,” I thought as the commercial ended with the little girl grown up winning the gold and immediately hugging her dutiful mother who was, of course, right there on the sidelines.  But it got me to thinking: every bit of that tagline was true, “the hardest job is the best job.” And yet, so often, our world – our culture – seems to want to convince us otherwise.  They want us to see how being a mom is not that hard, it’s not really a job, and there are so many other more important things women could be doing with their time and capabilities.

But Being a Mom is HARD!

Take a random survey at your local grocery store, and every mom will tell you: she does not get to do the things she wants to do because of the demands that motherhood brings.  And most are okay with that, it has to be done.  A greater good is the focus – happy, healthy, well-adjusted children, a tranquil, steady home environment in a seemingly chaotic world. Moms know that to be a mom – a good mom – they must be self-sacrificial.  They must look to the needs of their family and meet them, regardless of their own wants or wishes.  This is hard, and sometimes moms don’t feel like sacrificing, but, more often than not, they do.

Scripture tells parents to “train up a child in the way that he should go, and he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).  This is hard work, for some children – quite possibly me, after all, I was creative AND stubborn (a problematic combination) – it is harder.  This verse is talking about the intentional discipleship of children, a dedicated focus on a child’s upbringing.  Children aren’t just going to grow up and innately know (or even want) to do the right thing, to be a person of character, to be godly.  That all must be instilled in them at a young age; it must be taught, and it must be intentional.  Equally as taxing, mothers don’t have the luxury of being lazy.  When they are lazy, things don’t get done around the house, family doesn’t get fed, children don’t get taught – and eventually, society suffers for it.  That’s a lot of pressure on moms.

So, yes. Being a Mom is hard.

But Being a Mom is a JOB!

The ability to be a good mom can be difficult. And the skill set needed is extensive. There is a monthly budget to make and meet, resources in which to invest, tasks to organize and complete, “employees” to rally, inspire and delegate.  In short, being a Mom is much like being the CEO of your own mini-corporation, except without a day off…ever,  the paid vacations, a dedicated secretary, and a corner office with a view.

Growing up, my mom had always been a stay-at-home mom, until I was in Junior High.  My older brothers were just starting to head off to college, so my mother took a part-time job in an office to help pay for their college tuition.  (My parents strongly wanted us to graduate debt-free, and figured if they could, they would help us do that: again, self-sacrificial parenting is hard work). I remember this one morning, I was curious what my mom’s day would look like so I asked her inquisitively, “You working today, Mom, or are you just staying home?” My mother smiled and said, “I work every day, dear. Some days it’s for love, other days it’s for money.  Today, I’m working for money.”  I think that’s the time in my life when it dawned on me: when I’m off at school, my mom is working…hard.  Her job is being my mom.  Sure, she may not clock in and out somewhere, and she may be able to go to work in sweats with her hair in a knot.  But the fact remains: 

Being a Mom is a job!

But Being a Mom is THE BEST!

The power of influence a mom has in her immediate families lives is unparalleled. It is her arms where solace is found on a otherwise rotten day. It is her lips where words of wisdom sound within the bedroom walls or around the kitchen table.  It is her ears that become the listener in the car rides after school.  She is the go-to problem solver.  And the advice she doles out is paramount.

And there in lies the gravity of her responsibility.  She is not just responsible for bringing life into the world; she’s responsible for cultivating that life, nurturing it, growing her children into the men and women God created them to be.  A mom’s role is so vital that even science can now give evidence of this truth, “The home environment has greater influence on teens than even hormone levels,” Dr. McIlaney, a medical research doctor, tells us. (McIlaney, Hooked, pg 19).  As women, we are to be “keepers of the home” Scripture tells us in Titus 2:5.  This is where our responsibility lies, our greatest responsibility. For our home influences the next generation of children who influence the next generation’s culture which influences the next generation of mothers.  It’s no wonder God created women powerfully strong, authoritative, capable, intelligent, savvy, and resourceful.  We need to be in order to do the best job that He’s given us to do: mothering.

Thank you, P & G, for reminding us, “The hardest job is the best job!” And thank you, Mom, for doing it so well.

8 thoughts on “The Hardest Job is the Best Job

  1. Great phrase! “Sometimes I work for love and sometimes I work for money.” I always wonder though, when we say that mothering is the best job and the hardest job, what do fathers hear? That mothering is harder than fathering? Or that mothering is better than fathering? I always wonder that. As a mom (although just for 2 months though), I couldn’t do it without my husband. At least, I wouldn’t want.

    There’s such a battle in our culture against mothering as a ‘job’ or the value of mothers, so I’m always thrilled when we esteem it. But I also wonder what men hear when we do so?

  2. But it really bothered me that there were no corresponding, dad-extolling ads, ESPECIALLY the week leading up to Fathers Day. I actually found those ads a little tacky that week. Granted, moms GENERALLY deal more with the day-to-day child-rearing/caring things, but our society has such a sad, lopsided view of family and parenting. It seems our culture is valuing motherhood increasingly more than it has in the last several decades ~ which is great ~ but there is still a glaring exclusion of real men, good fathers, and other responsibility-accepting male role models. I believe the previous commenter implied it, and I agree: I think these ads tend to exacerbate THAT problem even as they help to build up the value of motherhood.

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  4. What about women who have no children. Being a mother is a great blessing, that I hope one day to experience. But I really dislike when Christians exalt motherhood to “the best job” on the earth. I have even heard pastors call it the highest calling. Which is completely false, the highest calling is to be a follower of Jesus and the second highest calling after that is to go into the world and make disciples. I know being a mother gives you a great opportunity to disciple your own children, but what about the billions of others out there who never have the opportunity to hear the gospel? I really dislike it when women use being a mother as an excuse to lock themselves inside the home and never leave, never serving or sharing with anyone outside their own home.

    I don’t mean to sound bitter or that I am discounting motherhood. I think it’s great, but it seems like people are on the opposite pendulum swing now of looking down on anyone who doesn’t think being a mother is the best and only most holy option for a woman’s life. There are amazing and really hard things women can accomplish without having children, maybe even more. They can disciple many people and have spiritual children. But mothers tend to look down on those of us who do not have children and think we are not yet fully experiencing life or godliness because we don’t have children, and that is wrong. Try living in a dark foreign country as an older single female alone in a male dominated society trying to share with people who don’t want to hear the good news in a language you don’t quite fluently speak, with a million more obstacles that come up each day. Are you trying to tell me your job is harder and better than mine? I’m sorry if I resent that a little, but I think that is pretty arrogant of you.

    Sorry to sound harsh, but this is something I hear over and over and I get tired of hearing. I know mothers will never fully understand or empathize with women who are single, and I will probably never fully understand what it is like to be a mother, but I would just like to have a voice in the world of Christian women as well. Because I am one, striving to work hard, seek after and honor God, even though I am not a mother, doing the “best” and “hardest” job in the world.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read our articles and respond to those about which you are most passionate. As a single woman with no children who is diligently trying to serve the Lord and do what I can for His kingdom, I can understand the temptation to get personally invested in this tension between over-glorifying motherhood, and if you felt that was the tone of my article, I’m truly sorry. It was not intended. I simply know how hard my own mother and others like her work to create a godly atmosphere in the home only to be discredited in their endeavors because they didn’t monetarily contribute to the home. And I was, honestly, shocked and encouraged by P&G’s Olympic campaign applauding the efforts of mothers across America. It’s definitely not something seen on a daily basis. And yet, here is was on national television, culture challenging culture. Have to admit…that’s kinda cool. So, our attitude toward motherhood should be as God’s: Proverbs 31:26-28, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed.” Motherhood is something to be honored the way Scripture honors it. But I think, too, that motherhood is not limited to the physical, but can extend to the spiritual as well: Paul says to consider older women as mothers (1 Timothy 5:1), and Titus charges older women to teach (and what mother doesn’t teach?) younger women (Titus 2). As women, we are nurturers; this is our nature and how God has created us to be. With that in mind, I believe we are to be mothering those whom God places in our path, whether by birth or by circumstance. And in this way, although I am a single woman, I can partake in one of the best and hardest jobs assigned to women: mothering.

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