Here’s a brutal revelation about modern motherhood: the notorious pro-cheating site Ashley Madison (yes, the one where you can find the perfect person to have an affair with) announced that the biggest spike in women signing up for the site occurs on the day after Mother’s Day. In fact, last year, they saw a 439% increase in new women signups on that fateful Monday.
This announcement has provoked the expected torrent of outrage — if there’s one thing Ashley Madison is good at, it’s using its own data to pierce our collective faith in the power of commitment, and clearly Mother’s Day isn’t sacrosanct. But before we all despair at the state of contemporary married life, let’s take a closer look at what this survey is really saying.
We can speculate on the reasons for this huge post-Mother’s Day cheat-fest, but one thing we can be pretty certain of is that the holiday is confronting for many married moms. Just as her children are expected to stop and contemplate the jaw-dropping onslaught of toil and worry and gifts and sacrifices that go into the raising of a child, so are moms forced to take a hard look at just what their lives involve on a day-to-day basis. Our society holds motherhood on a pedestal, glorifying it for its virtues and selfless nature, but when it comes down to brass tacks, we don’t do all that much in the way of helping moms escape the drudgery and hardship that come with the deal. Cards and flowers and a nice breakfast are lovely, but do they really make up for the weeks of no sleep, the 6 AM carpools, and the piles of mushy Cheerios perpetually left on the floor?
It would be interesting to know more information about these frustrated moms — specifically, whether they work full-time, and whether they share household and child-rearing responsibilities with their spouses. Plenty of studies purport to tell us that women are still shouldering most of the housework, and if you’ve looked at the internet in the past 2 years, there’s no way you’ve escaped at least one discussion of the near-impossibility of working moms “having it all.”
So is it really that much of a surprise that women might finish up their Mother’s Days ready for an escape? Instead of passing judgment and turning up our noses, shouldn’t we instead be questioning what’s happening in modern marriage and/or motherhood to make it something so many women want to escape from?
Also, before the morality police wag their fingers at the wantonness of American mothers, it’s worth considering that a 439% increase in signups for a website that lets people have affairs isn’t the same thing as a 439% increase in affairs. Signing up for a dating site doesn’t mean you’ll ever go on a date.
More like this:
- Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Find My Husband At Princeton
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- Why Friendships Are the New Marriage