Or do some mothers *make* it a thankless job?
I've had this discussion a lot recently and it seems that I'm the only one who doesn't think it is. Granted, with kids under about age three, there isn't a lot of helpfulness or gratitude. (And actually, I believe the milky toothless smile after nursing is a baby's way of saying thanks, and when our kids raised their legs for a diaper change, we praised them for being helpful.) I think you do your kids (and spouse) a disservice if you do everything for them, and especially if you don't insist on the simple respect of a "thank you," in return. By about the age of three, illnesses and disabilities aside, I say if you think motherhood is truly a thankless job, then you're probably doing too much that others should be doing themselves and/or not putting some reasonable things in place to make your life a bit easier.
The moms who seem to be saying this the most are the ones who IMHO make their own trouble, those who make two separate meals every night because their kids are "too picky," or who don't have their kids do chores or pick up toys because it's easier/faster/done better yourself, or who leave the TV remote where the kids can reach it in the mornings even when they know it causes trouble getting ready for school. Moms who complain about their kids locking the bedroom door but who don't remove the lock. Moms who don't make their kids say, "thank you," when served a snack or given help with homework. Moms who schedule their kids with two piano lessons, two Spanish classes, swimming lessons, kung fu lessons, art class, and soccer, every week, and then ***** about having no family time. Moms who take a forgotten lunch box to school for the third time in one week. Moms who, when doing laundry, check every pocket for crayons & tissues, turn all the socks right side out, turn the sparkly things inside out, and do it all again week after week after week, apparently never once thinking to NOT do that child's laundry if it hasn't been properly prepared. These moms have all said something along the lines of, "Well, I'm the mom, that's just what moms do. It's a thankless job." I guess if I was one of those moms, I'd think it was a thankless job, too.