2 articles Tag appreciation

Being Mum – The Self-Worth Special

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my ‘worth’ as a person lately and how that ties in with me being a mother. It’s been an eventful year, this 12 past the 2000, kicking off with me losing my job in April and Sausage starting school in September, two things which have contributed massively to my introspection. When I was working, I was a ‘working mum’ – I did a job and kept home and life ran to a schedule, Tuesday to Thursday at least. Then I lost my job and I became a ‘stay-at-home mum’, using my days to spend time with Sausage and do things together. But now she’s at school, am I still a stay-at-home mum, considering that between the hours of 8.55am and 3.20pm, I have no one to mother?

On a totally base level, since losing my job my contribution towards family life has been much less. Sure, I’ve been available for more housekeeping, but I’m not actually adding to the family coffers and I’m acutely aware that every time I spend money it’s usually been earned by someone else. I do have a small amount of income but that tends to get swallowed up as soon as it comes in on car insurance and my phone bill. I was able to do so much more before and it made me feel good.

My self-worth is obviously closely related to what I perceive as my use  to other people. I’m always offering to do things for people which are of no benefit to me, just to be the one who’s helped someone out, like I rack up ‘person points’ every time I offer help. I need to be needed. But I think I was like that before I ever became a parent.

As a mother, though, I know for a fact that I tend to put myself last in a lot of situations. Like mealtimes, for instance. If I’m cooking, Sausage gets her dinner first, then Husband and I tend to sit down rank last, after fetching drinks, condiments and all of the other mealtime accoutrements, with my meal being lukewarm more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, Husband often offers to do things, but I tend to insist he sits and eats while his food is hot and do the running around myself. So, does this mean that I put my worth at less than that of my family? Well, yes, I think I do. They deserve a nice meal, a hot meal, and if my is ruined well then so be it. It’s only me. 

My Nan does something similar, bowing and scraping even when there’s no need for her to do so, and I don’t know if it’s always been this way but with her, her martyrdom seems to be something that’s done so that she has a reason to moan. Her and my Grandad have a highly toxic relationship and it’s hard to know what came first; the bitterness or the hatred. Does she hate him and it’s made her bitter or has her bitterness morphed into a ball of hatred? Who knows, but either way, she’ll act like a timid servant (or did before she got too blind and disabled to do it all) and then loudly slag my Grandad off for not moving out of his chair.

I certainly don’t feel bitterness or hatred about my self-imposed lower worth, but then to be fair, I’m 28, not 78 so what’s to say I won’t be a walking hate-factory in 50 years time? Fortunately, the difference is that I have Husband who is NOTHING like my Grandad and I feel appreciated by him and Sausage on a daily basis, and I also have a modicum of reflection in my soul, which means I can see that way my life could go if I allow it. I’m not saying I’ll serve my dinner first or stop being ketchup-wallah, but I will try to consider myself a bit more at times when I feel like I don’t deserve any consideration.

Am I making even the slightest bit of sense? TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN!

The Little Things.

As parents and bloggers we all share those monumental moments with each other, the holidays, the developmental milestones like first steps and first days at school. But we often forget about the little things, the times that really mean something to us. I gave Sausage a bath this afternoon, and as I was brushing and drying her hair it hit me just how much I enjoy doing these small things. Sausage has a lot of hair and it’s getting very long and taking care of it has become a real bonding experience for us. She’s become a pro at leaning back in the bath or shower so that no shampoo goes in her eyes when I rinse it off, and since I’ve started dusing a little conditioner on it the tangles are minimal. She doesn’t even mind the hair dryer too much now so what was, six months ago, a shouting, writhing, wriggling, wholly unpleasant experience for all involved has turned into something that mother and daughter can share and enjoy.

Silly really, to wax lyrical to this extent about washing my kid’s hair, but if the past fortnight has taught me anything, it’s that we need to enjoy every possible moment while you can. Don’t take anything for granted.

We’ve recently discovered Julia Donaldson’s books and Husband, Sausage and I have developed a bit of a ritual of sitting on the sofa most evenings, Daddy reading one book and then me reading another. Sitting together, enjoying a story and getting lost in the rhyme and rhythm of a good book is exactly what we seem to need, as a family. It goes to show that, while day trips and holidays are fun and important, for the princely sum of a couple of quid per book, we have enjoyed countless hours together. Plus, Sausage’s reading is coming along leaps and bounds, which is an added bonus.

I guess you could say that I’m swinging between the ever pressing need to SEE THINGS and DO THINGS before I no longer have the chance to see and do, and spending time enjoying the small things and taking things slowly. Who knows which is the right way to do things? All I know is, my outlook and my priorities seem forever changed, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.