Mother asks why having children isn’t seen as an ‘achievement’
A woman has sparked a heated debate online after asking why parenting isn’t viewed as positively as career success.
The thread, started on the parenting forum mumsnet by an anonymous poster in the UK, others asked if they think parenthood feels ‘ungrateful’ compared to professional achievement.
In the post, the woman revealed that parenting is the hardest thing she’s ever done, but said it’s rarely recognized as such by society.
The post sparked mixed reactions, with some commenters noting that while having a child isn’t an achievement per se, good parenting is.
An anonymous woman (not pictured) has asked others on Mumsnet if they agree that motherhood is less commendable than having a successful career, sparking a debate
The poster explained that she felt that motherhood can feel “ungrateful” and not recognized in the same way as professional achievement.
She wrote: ‘Having children is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I still feel that since most people have children, it’s nothing ‘special’ to get a pat on the back. as you would – if you had a very successful career, for example.
“The kind of social status that comes with being very successful in a career is just not the same as being a mother. Most people can be “mothers”, but most people cannot have a very successful career.
‘Is it just me, or is being a mother just a standard thing that seems a bit ‘ungrateful’ to society? Sorry if I didn’t explain my feelings and thoughts properly.
Many commentators noted that while conceiving a child is not an achievement, good parenting is difficult — and largely impossible to quantify.
One commenter expressed his opinion, saying that good parenting is an achievement, unlike having children, but admitted it is difficult to measure.
“Nobody knows how well parents have done until their kids are adults, and until then, raising kids is just standard business,” she said.
‘Having a successful career takes a lot of hard work and it means reaching a standard that not everyone can do. It’s okay to view a successful career as a much higher achievement than conceiving a child.”
Another wrote: ‘I think raising well-rounded children is an achievement. But just giving birth is not so much. Having a successful career and raising children is impressive.’
And another Mumsnetter added: ‘Having children is not an achievement.
“Although the fact that I haven’t given or lost mine yet IS an achievement.”
A number of commentators pointed out that while parenting is hard work, unlike many other careers, it doesn’t require any specific skills
Other Mumsnet users said that career success tended to yield greater social rewards because it requires a more specific skill set.
One poster read: ‘Any idiot can get pregnant and carry a child. It is much more difficult to build a successful career.
“Parenting is hard work, but it’s not specialized work – anyone can do it. That does not apply to professional careers.’
Another agreed, writing: ‘You said it yourself: most women can become mothers, if they want to; and frankly, unless they are actively negligent or abusive as a parent, they are more than likely going to make a fine kid. It may be hard work in the sense that it’s a grind, but it doesn’t require any special attributes or skills or specialist knowledge, which is what a career requires.’
A third wrote: ‘I think that’s because having children is not an achievement in itself. Any fertile couple can do it. Most women have children, so it’s a standard thing for most other people to do.”
A large number of respondents suggested that being a parent is not ‘ungrateful’ – and that the poster may be looking for thanks in the wrong places
Others, many of whom noted that not everyone can have children, suggested the poster may be looking in the wrong place for praise.
One of them said: ‘My children regularly tell me that I am the best mother in the world. That’s the only review I need. It makes my heart sing much more than positive feedback from my manager. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong places for the recognition you crave so much?’
A second Mumsnetter wrote similarly: ‘As to being ungrateful, that’s not my experience. I don’t expect thanks, but my daughter has always been very grateful and grateful for things. I need no thanks or acknowledgment from anyone else.”
And a third commenter added: ‘I don’t care what society thinks. I don’t need any thanks for my contribution.’