A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
I saw a lot of that quote around Mother's Day, especially on Facebook, and at first I was all, "Yeah! That's awesome!" and then I was like "That's aweso...well, hold on a minute."
Because you know, I like pie.
I like it a lot. In fact, I would cut you for a slice of pie right now. Even if it wasn't strictly necessary. Even if you were offering me a piece of lemon meringue, I might shove you out of the way and take the whole pan.
I can see the appeal of the quote. Gracious sacrifice for the sake of others can be a lovely thing. It's generosity without martyrdom, an everyday kindness freely given. Lord knows we give up a lot as mothers, big and little things, and it's nice to see a funny quote acknowledging our constant tiny sacrifices.
On the other hand, though, why couldn't we just divide up the pie a little differently so everybody gets some? Or why can't the toddler go without pie? She'll just cram it into her ear canal anyway. The four-year-old won't eat anything involving cooked fruit, and would be happier with honey on toast. Or you know, maybe Dad was served lunch at a symposium, and there was dessert. Maybe Mom gets two pieces of pie.
These are all completely fictional examples, of course.
It's a truism that mothers sacrifice. It's the reality of our daily life, it's something the sodden-with-sympathy conservative right trots out to venerate us on one hand while snatching away support with the other. The job we do is so important and it doesn't pay has long been twisted to read the job we do is so important that it doesn't pay. And no mandated extended maternity leave or decent affordable child care, either. Be sure to breastfeed but be sure to get back to work after six weeks too! Stay home and don't let strangers raise your kids, but earn a paycheck and don't drop out of the workforce and don't waste that degree!
Being a mother -- indeed, being a woman -- in our culture means getting screwed six ways to Sunday, and told you're doing it wrong in the bargain. I am happy with the choices I've made and grateful that I had the opportunity to make them, but you know what? If there's pie to be had, I am damn well going to have a piece.