“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” – Unknown
I was warned when I became a stay-at-home mom. One of my family members that never worked outside of the home said to me, “Get ready for a thankless job that most people don’t consider to be any work at all.” It’s that great, huh, Aunt Dee?
Sadly, I can’t say that I don’t occasionally feel that way.
One moment stands out to me, when my son was about two months old, and one of my friends came over with a fellow mom that went back to work after maternity leave with her child.
My son was sleeping in the swing, and I was proud of myself that I had actually showered that day and made the house somewhat presentable.
The friend of my friend said to me, “What do you do all day? I would get so bored.” I was shocked, so much so that I think I mumbled the reply, “Take care of him.” My ego would have me go back in time and reply, “You know, keep a brand new human alive, fed, comfortable, happy, loved. No big deal. You are a mom yourself, right?”
By saying that raising children is boring, it implies that the job isn’t challenging, or that the job isn’t really work. Can we all at least agree with the fact that motherhood is challenging?
It’s a fair point that motherhood isn’t always intellectually stimulating. I’m not using much of my college degree when I make endless PB&Js, shuttle the kids around, and wipe butts on a daily basis.
But while I might not have to use my brain a lot in my job as a mom, I do have to use my heart, all day long. This can be a huge blessing at times, but it also creates its own unique set of challenges.
I’m constantly challenged to keep my patience when the kids are fighting in the car, and when the messes are constantly made, and when the imperfections inevitably arise when you are raising two young, sweet, beautiful children.
I’m constantly challenged to show up as the best version of myself for my kids. I fail at this more times than I would like to admit, but therein lies the challenge.
I’m even challenged in the midst of the tediousness of motherhood. The tedious routine, though by definition “boring,” is a challenge to me as the mom to keep things interesting by planning playdates, activities and extracurriculars to keep the boring at bay.
I’ve had to sacrifice moving ahead in my career to stay at home with my children. I know the ability to make this choice is a blessing, and not an option for every mom, but it’s still a sacrifice nonetheless.
I also previously played the role of working mom. There is absolutely no question that this role is just as challenging.
In the past, I came home from work, already feeling drained, and often had to log back on to my lap top. Many times, I felt as though I was failing at work and failing at motherhood at the same time.
There is no perfect scenario, and the sooner we are kinder to ourselves and realize this truth, the better.
Going back to the comment this person made, I think the main reason it upset me as much as it did is because I let it make me feel as though I have less value as a stay-at-home mom.
Here’s where the math equation comes in that I’ve come to realize:
A Working Mom = A Stay-At-Home Mom
Notice that there is no greater than or less than symbol in the equation. Both sides, though different, offer absolute value in this world, and one side’s value doesn’t subtract value from the other side.
I think people get hung up on the comparison and want to categorize one side as greater than the other, or one side as more work than the other, or one side as more valuable than the other, but none of that matters. They are looking at things all wrong.
All that really matters is that both sides are valuable.
It’s helpful to acknowledge the fact that not everyone is good at math.
Some people get the equation wrong and feel the need to subtract value from the other side in the hopes that it will add value to their own side. Some people are certain that their side is greater than the other side.
Don’t let the fact that their math is off confuse the absolute value that you offer.
Trust me. I even double-checked my work.