Motherhood is indeed a legitimate business. It has all of the makings of a real job – expectations, periodic reviews of performance (self-inflicted and from friends and family), success and failure, management and supervision, and on and on. Like a businessperson, mothers are expected to be dedicated, high achievers day and night. I’ve often dreamed of an obstacle course that would educate people on the physical rigors of parenthood.
Here’s how it goes…

First, prepare your body with a lack of sleep or proper nutrition. Don’t resist fast food or eating in your car. In fact, dump a bag of trash in your car. Set your alarm clock for different times in the middle of the night for a week, and play a recording of a crying baby or a child’s poignant description of a nightmare while you cradle and rock a doll to pacify it. Then, hug a heavy pile of wet, urine-soaked laundry so you can pretend you’re carrying your child who just wet the bed. The day of the race is here. Put a toddler on one hip, a baby on the other. Strap a 20-pound diaper bag to your back, and run! Run fast! Pretend you’re dodging cars in a parking lot. Then, go to your kitchen and prepare dinner. Make sure the phone rings at least four times; the doorbell rings twice; and two irate toddlers are running through your legs while they fight for a toy.

Motherhood is tough. It’s misunderstood and under-appreciated. Once you accept that it is indeed a business, you will not only see it increase in value and legitimacy, but you will be ready to make it the most successful operation you have ever managed in your life!

It’s amazing that you need a license to drive a car or to operate heavy machinery. You need a degree to teach in public schools. You need advanced training to be a doctor or lawyer. But to raise a child, to be responsible for another human being, you simply need one “oops.” People joke that they send you home from the hospital with a newborn without an owner’s manual or instruction booklet. Well, finally, here it is!

– Amy Smith