**This is not a male bashing piece (although said ignorant comment spewed forth from the mouth of someone of the male gender, stupidity does not sex discriminate.) This is not a feminist rant about women’s equal rights. I believe God created all humans equal- take that anyway you wish. This is not a social commentary on income equality, or job equality. It is not about unbalanced or unfair educational opportunities for females (if I remember correctly I took the same SAT as the boy sitting next to me.)
This is basically an opinion (OPINION!) piece about the unbelievable ignorance a person can express in one single sentence.
In this case, I believe it was ignorance of the value of motherhood.
But before we get into that, let’s just
choke on swallow the fact that ignorance comes in all shapes, sizes, races, ages, and of course, genders. Again, a woman could have just as easily shared with me these same thoughts. It just happened to be a man, in a most belittling tone, who wrote said ignorance in an email to me (which of course I find amusing, as I await him addressing me with that same statement face to face.)
He wrote, “His time was more valuable than mine.”
Let’s just let that sink in for a sec.
His time is more valuable than my time. Period.
The only causation being he is a working male, and clearly I am a bonbon eating, soap opera watching, school volunteering, Target shopping mom with a knitting habit. What could I possibly ‘know’ about real world things? Is my time mopping less valuable than his time career-ing? Where is the value in my thoughts of, ohhh, the cost of ground beef this week? There can’t be any, right?
Now since a statement like this absolutely reeks of stupidity and classlessness, it also does something else. It tells me he has neither a perceptual concept, nor is able to compute, the actual societal value of motherhood. And also, that he is an idiot. I could go farther and say his statement has belittled an entire gender, but it did not. It actually belittled both. See, there’s these wonderful things called stay at home dads. And now that I think about it, I wonder if he would have told an unemployed male peer that his time was of no real value? Now, let me ask, is it because I made a decision to ‘just be a mom’ that my time has suddenly lost societal value? Have I lost being able to address someone in, say, the business technology field? Talk about larger world issues? Have something credible to add even though I am not being paid for it? Is my time now actually less valuable simply because there is no monetary subsidy tied to it? Or perhaps my OB/GYN delivered my brain right along with my baby’s placenta. Maybe this working professional, with his years of adult wisdom, could enlighten me with his breadth and grasp of real life problems. I shall wait with bated breath his reply- in my yoga pants-whilst holding a latte, cupcake, and soccer ball in my hand.
Unfortunately, I fear there are scads of mothers seeking full time employment after years of being ‘just a mom,’ who will be forced to work with men like this. I am certain there are moms who spend their days at the office having to go the extra mile just to validate, over and over again, their actual value, simply because their ‘mile’ is perceived to be longer, as motherhood took them off course for a bit. And I know for sure there are women like me who meet men like this -who in a flash- can make them doubt their own personal value as a woman and mother. After all, we just take care of kids, right? A man who was able to make me, even for a few seconds, entertain the thought that maybe his time WAS more valuable than mine. Well, is it?
It is not. No one person’s time is more valuable than the next.
Because true value is measured in your character, not your W-2.
It is measured in your work ethic, not your work paycheck. It is the hospital janitor making minimum wage, so the surgeon can operate in an OR not littered with trash. It is the school teacher, grossly underpaid and working well past their contract time, just to ensure that ‘one’ child can read.
It is all the invisible, intangible, and forgotten contributions so many mothers make to society that we are neither compensated nor praised for, but still remain of immeasurable value.
Our time. My valuable time. Sir, it is equal to yours.
For me, it is measured in the care and time and years I spent wiping bottoms, not calculating bottom lines. It is my internal struggle to remind myself that my only true, unfettered, and objective validation comes from my spouse and my sons. And while I may often be tempted to look outside of that circle for my value, I should refrain from going down that road of subjective judgement. That road, its course, its detours, the other drivers on it, they do not know me. They cannot put value on my time. I will not allow it.
William Wallace, a patriotic poet living in the mid 1800s and raised without a father, wrote one of the most celebrated, endearing, and oft controversial lines in poetry ever. An accomplished lawyer and writer, he still struggled to find validation amongst his peers. At one point, his dear friend Edgar Allen Poe even had to vouch for his friend, reminding mutual peers of their “failure to recognize any merit but their own.” I know how he feels. Meanwhile, Wallace wrote eloquently and infamously of the value and merit of MOTHERS.
You may even recognize that most famous of lines.
You may even recognize that most famous of lines.
“For the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
Now how do you value THAT?