2 min
at 10:43 PM

The job of being a mother is hard work, made even tougher by a local culture that values youth over motherhood. EK Bayer has this Perspective.

My 8-year-old son asks me if I work, and I shoot back, “I work my tail off.” Without guile, he says, “I mean a real job.”

I have found utter joy in staying home to raise kids; I’m very lucky to be able to do that in San Francisco. However, I underestimated the impact of a culture that doesn’t value motherhood. Families are leaving the city in droves because it’s just too hard to raise kids here, a city that caters to youth, but not to mothers. I guess it’s been eating at me, the idea that being ‘just a mom’ is somehow unenlightened, not a real job, definitely not hip, instead of the hardest, most important job I know.

In a lapse of focus on my mom-job, I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel the other night. That's the show about a 1950s housewife who wants to be a comedian. Oh, and, by the way, just like me, she has two, young children. At least I think she does. It’s hard to tell. Mostly, she is out-and-about pursuing her dreams. A baby appears just once, dressed all in white, sitting quietly on her Mama’s lap while Mama peruses the want ads. Later Mrs. Marvelous takes her three-year-old to the park, then wanders into a group demonstration, making friends and addressing the crowd, with no sign of her child.

She doesn’t look like a Mama, either, no bags under her eyes, no squishiness, certainly not distracted by the well-being of her children. She looks oddly perfect. Her house has no sign of children, unlike the clutter surrounding me. Watching the show, I suddenly feel an all-too familiar rage, like walking into a cute new cafe on Valencia where my kids are glared at and I get ignored. I hate feeling invisible - unless I’m at the gym.

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I get it: the show is funny - in a Mad Men kind of way. It’s funny that Mrs. Maisel’s love and connection to her kids is totally missing. But how messed up is it to create a world where we have to disappear motherhood in order to follow our dreams?

For the record, I’m a Mama, capital M.

With a Perspective, I’m EK Bayer.

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EK Bayer has twin boys, and lives in San Francisco.

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