If You Need a Good Cry

Watch this P&G ad for the Olympics. In response, Salon had an interesting essay yesterday titled, Motherhood is not a job.

I’m comfortable with calling motherhood a job. I think I only have a problem with calling it the most important job, as if what the rest of us do, or what else we do, is not as important, as the author of the essay pointed out (Mary Beth Williams). Calling motherhood a job started because for so long being a mom wasn’t considered as important as what the man does. The problem is, calling motherhood a job feels condescending, depending on who is saying it and how. It’s like a pat on the head. Even this ad, which made me sob and sob and sob, is like a really artful pat on the head. The children are the ones who are achieving greatness and getting awards. The mothers are getting a really moving and well-deserved thank you. It’s another version of “behind every great man there’s a great woman.” Yes, it’s pointing out that the woman helped him get there, and that he couldn’t have gotten there without her, but the man did the great thing. It’s another way of saying thank you.

This video makes me sob because the “thank you” feels so genuine. The whole thing is so wonderfully done, from beginning to end. To see the children’s gratitude and acknowledgment for all their mother’s work and sacrifice, and to watch the mothers witnessing the fruits of their labors, I’m tearing up again just writing about it. But what about the dads?


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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