Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parenting is not a Job (from DadCentric)

Over the past few weeks, I've been seeing this Proctor and Gamble ad plastered all over Facebook walls, festooned with comments about the tears and squishy feelings it has inspired.  I'm sure you've seen it too.  If not, here it is:

Being that this is an advertisement for household products, I was skeptical when I clicked play.  Then I saw where it was headed: Moms make sacrifices, kids excel, sports happen, medals and glory follow, moms cry, we all buy soap.  I have to admit that , despite my fully engaged force-field of cynicism, I was a little moved.  This thing was, after all, scientifically formulated to tug heartstrings, which I still have, however frayed they may be.  And who among us can resist a good montage?  Not me.

But when the last few seconds of the ad rolled around, and the tagline appeared on the screen, my hackles went up.  I should have smelled this tired old commonplace coming from around corner: "The hardest job in the world, is the best job in the world. Thank you, Mom."

It wasn't just the superfluous comma that raised my ire, although it certainly didn't make the message any more palatable.  No, my more powerful initial reaction was indignation.

Oh. Yeah. Of course.  Being a *mom* is the hardest job in the world.  And being a dad is...what?...a fucking hobby?

Shortly after that, though, I realized that my indignation wasn't sustainable, because I wasn't really mad about men being treated as the second sex in terms of parenting.  I'm increasingly not indignant about that notion because I realize the only place I'm getting that message from is the media.  In real life, no one (to my knowledge) is making assumptions about who in my family is the more important or competent parent, and the idea that there is competition for those titles just doesn't come up.  Your mileage may vary.

Read more at DadCentric


I haven't been able to write much here for the usual reasons, but, in case you missed my relentless facebook (like me?) and twitter (follow me?) pimpage, here's what I wrote elsewhere in the last couple weeks.

On Aiming Low, I wrote about keeping the fun in my marriage by making light of others' desperate situations.

Also on Aiming Low, I talk about kids' earliest memories, and ask readers to share their own.


  1. Thanks for the link love to my soap post, dude.

  2. Maybe being the biased woman that I am, I do not completely disagree with the message of the commercial. Of course being a parent is not a JOB - as if it's a social status one can whimsically enter and leave. And of course the mother and father are equally important though they may take different roles. The only reason why I think mothers should be revered a little more has to do with my personal experiences with family. The way I was raised was traditional. Though both my parents worked, my mother managed to be an ever-present parent who struggled through raising 5 kids. My father is NOT chopped liver. He worked his butt off to provide for the family, but like most men in my family he was wary of actual parenting catastrophes such as sibling rivalry and left them to my mother. Disciplinary enforcement (grounding, spanking, etc) was also my father's role.

    In the end though, nobody should be offended. A majority of stay at home parents are mothers, so an advertisement does what it's meant to do and targets the majority into buying their soap. Maybe if we learn to emotionally detach ourselves from things like these, we'd be less duped and enraged.


Don't hold back.


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