Mommyshame

STFU Parents: Labor Day Isn’t About Moms Who Have Labored

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As a writer with an actual journalism degree (believe it or not), I’m typically a fan of playing with words. I love a good (i.e. terrible) pun, and I’m passionate about making wildly inappropriate analogies, regardless of how little sense they make. But one play on words that I absolutely cannot get behind, that shakes me to my core each and every year, is when people joke about the significance of “Labor Day” as it applies to moms. We already know that not every mother “labored and delivered”; you can be a mother whether you actually birthed a child or not. But beyond that, this joke is just so goddamn tired—even more tired than the parents who insist on making it. In fact, some of the people who make this joke are either completely serious—they seem to have no clue that Labor Day celebrates the creation of the labor movement and its workers, aka laborers—OR they genuinely believe that the day should specifically serve mothers, as well. In other words, we should acknowledge moms and their “contributions” (birthing babies / raising kids) and reflect on their “labor” (and delivery of their babies) in addition to hardworking laborers who contribute to the economy in more “jobby job” ways.

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Granted, moms work their asses off. No doubt about it, being a mom is a difficult and sometimes thankless job. We know this. And yes, mothers are often tasked with ensuring that their kids become productive members of society who can then go and make their own contributions to the economic landscape. I’m not saying I don’t see the connection between hardworking moms and Labor Day. But the thing is, there’s this OTHER holiday called MOTHER’S DAY, and it takes place in May. We all celebrated it earlier this year, and the whole day was dedicated to moms! That’s why on Labor Day, we kind of don’t focus on moms and rather just focus on the workforce. Indeed, seventy percent of moms are also in the workforce, but the holiday is about highlighting fiscal and social contributions in our economy, not pondering the contributions moms make by having kids and raising ’em real good.

I’m not even sure when this “Labor Day” joke became a thing, but I first noticed it in 2011 and it’s been plaguing me annually ever since. I want to laugh at it and shrug it off and enjoy the play on words, I really do. But some mothers are already so smug about birth in the first place, it’s hard not to think they sound like ignorant morons when they trade definitions of ‘labor’ on this particular holiday. Can’t we all just relax, appreciate the holiday for what it is, and take the day off from overthinking such things? According to some moms, the answer is no, because moms are still “working” on Labor Day. Duh. Moms don’t ever get the day off. And until they do, we’ll be hearing this stale Labor Day joke all over social media on the first Monday in September, year in and year out, forever.

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I don’t know about you, but this year, I’m just gonna sit it out and sip a cocktail by the pool. I think we’ve all earned as much, haven’t we? Let’s check out some examples of moms who are totally into Labor Day for reasons that involve their birth canal.

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