Being a Mum is Not a Job

I’m currently addicted to TV game shows. I’ve always had a love of trivia – any quiz night outing I’ll be there with bells on. Not a lot of helpful knowledge, but plenty of enthusiasm.

It was during one of these TV game shows that we heard the usual format of introductions. “Hi, my name is Frank and I’m an engineer from Gloucester.” (Sorry, no one does game shows better than the Brits!). They continued. “Hello, my name is Janice and I’m a corporate manager from Lincoln.” “Hi, my name is Megan and I’m a stay at home mum from Bristol.”

“That’s not a job.”

That was Mr 11. The one I thought was busy creating a kennel for his virtual dogs in Minecraft and not paying attention to mum’s boring TV shows.

“I mean, everyone else is like, I’m an accountant, I’m an engineer. She can’t say ‘I’m a stay at home mum’, that’s not a job.”

My head slowly turned toward him, sitting on the other half of the couch and my dumbfounded stare met his quick look up in my direction.

“You what?” Obviously at this point I could have led with something a little more poignant but I was still in the midst of trying to determine where in his 11 years on this planet he got the notion that being a mum was just a hobby. “You don’t think that being a mum is a job? It’s THE most important job in the world!”

“But you don’t get paid for it,” he continued.

“I KNOW!!”

“Son, just don’t go there.” My husband is quite old school when it comes to household duties and parenting but he knows when to pull his head in and to instruct his offspring that they are treading on dangerous ground.

“But you have a job, mum.”

“AND I’m a mother as well!”

“Maybe I should stop digging this hole before it gets too big.”

At this point I wasn’t a hundred percent sure if he was still playing Minecraft or if his father’s words had finally sunk in.

Mother’s work

The conversation definitely made me reflect on what impression I give my kids with regards to the duties of being a mother. My parenting style tends to vary quite a bit between authoritarian and laid-back-hippie. I’ve been referred to as a ‘drill sargeant’ when it comes to my kids’ behaviour. That’s probably a bit unfair. The kids know what I expect from them and I appreciate the fact that 99% of the time they are well-behaved. It’s more of a mutual understanding rather than a dictatorship. But I also think kids need to be kids – acting silly, laughing, playing, running, shouting. The kids can run through the house, making more noise than a herd of elephants whilst shooting Nerf bullets in my direction with appalling accuracy and I will hardly bat an eyelid (though I may just arm myself with a stashed blaster!).

Maybe the “job” of being a mother doesn’t seem like hard work to them because I’m making this all look too easy? (Cue hysterical laughter). Heaven knows that is so far from the truth and is an illusion that took years to perfect. The difference between being a mum with a baby and a toddler and being a mum to a tween and a teen is about four hours of additional sleep each night and the joys of cognitive reasoning. And while there may be an outward mirage of calm and control, quite often I am paddling like crazy through the trials and traumas of the bigger issues that confront tweens and teens – proverbially up the creek, approaching the waterfall and hoping my paddle doesn’t break!

But seriously, being a mum or dad is more than just duties, discipline and housework. It’s guidance; it’s instilling resilience and a sense of worth; it’s showing kids that life is to be enjoyed and respected; it’s sharing the joy of family and love; it’s our future. It’s the hardest job in the world and the most rewarding.

How do you show your children the worth of being a mum?

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. Micht 08/03/2020 at 11:08 pm

    By modelling what a good mum is and by letting them be exposed to a mixed up world where there are mums who dont care much… or wont give extra time or effort to anything… when they experience it…understanding becomes more clear.

  2. Alezandra 07/03/2020 at 11:59 pm

    A good read. I really love the whole interaction in the beginning. I remember an instance with my 3 year old then during lunch. I gave him his meal and he said he wanted orange juice. I told him ‘no’ coz he already had a drink for breakfast and I said to eat his meal. He kept saying ‘juice, juice, juice’ and I still said no. He suddenly said “Mommy, you’re fired.” So yes, a 3 year old knows being a mom is a JOB. In my head, if only I can resign. 😛

  3. Mands1980 02/03/2020 at 7:27 pm

    I show my children by what I do around the house. Some parents stay at home plus have a cleaner etc but I do all this it’s not an easy job. We do the washing, dishes sort out meals each night. Plus there is all the work outside lawns, gardening it’s never ending doing mum jobs then getting them to all after school activities.

  4. Bevik1971 28/02/2020 at 10:14 am

    Hehe 🙂 I just think teaching your kids that everyone has a worth, regardless of what you do “job” wise and to be respectful is the most important. I have done the single mother working full time to my son who is 26 and now I work full time and have a 7 year old and my partner has been Stay at home Dad. Not easy but rewarding 🙂

    • Mands1980 02/03/2020 at 7:28 pm

      I show my children by what I do around the house. Some parents stay at home plus have a cleaner etc but I do all this it’s not an easy job. We do the washing, dishes sort out meals each night. Plus there is all the work outside lawns, gardening it’s never ending doing mum jobs then getting them to all after school activities.

  5. Jen_Wiig 27/02/2020 at 2:20 pm

    Haha this is such a brilliant article!!! So so true too I’ve had my 11yr old say almost the same thing and it took alot for me not to lose my rag completely. I show my boys my worth in some extreme ways sometimes especially when they need a kick up their bums to remind them just how important a job of being mum is… Ill go on dishes strike and even been on shopping and cooking strike before too 😂😂 they’ve learnt quickly that without mums the world wouldn’t work so well and they whole heartedly believe Mars needs Mom’s is a fact based movie designed for kids to understand tats why it’s a cartoon hahahaha.

  6. Shorrty4life1 26/02/2020 at 9:24 pm

    Great read. I show my children the worth of being a mum by always caring for them feeding them, putting the clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads and most importantly having fun with them teaching them new things and showering them with love.

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