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!
8 thoughts on “Being Mum – The Self-Worth Special”
You are so young! I don’t know why but I assumed, wrongly I hasten to add very quickly! , that you were older! Ia m now reliant on my OH for money and it sucks not having access to my own money that I earned. Hence, why this month I took on too many sponsors posts because I was offered them and because I earns myself a little spending money for the first time in 3 years! And we all put ourselves last , I rarely find time to shave my legs for example or do my hair nice because I put myself last! Awww sending you (hugs) and hope you soon feel more like yourself xxx
*Wanders off wishing I was as young as you!! *X x
‘What I have to get over: that the value of love rises as the self dwindles.’ – Susan Sontag
she also said “being in loves means being willing to ruin yourself for the other person’. Confused much?
I understand as you know BUT, as you also know i have to disagree. I went from being the higher earner in my partnership, to being unemployed and dependant on not just a lower income but benefits too, and it sucks, but i’m not sure that it knocked my self esteem, i know my worth and was p*ssed that others couldn’t recognise it. That overnight because of your location, your made up artificial responsibilities, your monetary value as judged by someone else changed so did your rank in the world. Being a mother, and a wife a natural ‘roles’, you should do them because you want to, but you should not martyr yourself either because not only COULD you end up bitter, but you limit the ability of your partner to do for you, and make you feel WANTED, not NEEDED, and you are also providing a model for your daughter. I’m not saying its an example that she’ll follow, but it’s saying to her this is how i want to be seen, is it?
The trick with mealtimes is to be more organised before you start, make sure the table is laid, drinks are poured and everything is ready before you dish up, then all three of you can sit down and eat together as a family. I’m sure you could do this in other areas as well.
When a family live together they are a single unit, its not his/hers/mine, its “ours” or thats how it should be. It may take a while to get used to but thats how you should be thinking. Your contribution is on an equal par to your partners – its not all about money. (from a SAHM of some 40 years standing!)
Oh yes, I understand completely! Since having the children, I’ve been totally reliant financially, on my partner and I really don’t like it! As a result I go out of my way to not buy things personally for myself, because I simply can’t justify it, when I’m not the one earning the money. Thankfully the roles are reversing and we’re in a position where he can’t find any work, and I need to really think about my own worth, in order to go and get a job. It’s an alien position to be in and it feels strange having to ask him to take the twins with him and pick up the eldest from nursery, because I have an appointment at that time. I feel like I shouldn’t be asking him because it’s my job!
I understand! I was brought up to not rely financially on a man, so when I went on maternity leave I found it really hard on the reduced salary. Luckily I still had enough for my needs and debts, and was able to put a small amount into the joint account but not much. Now I’m contemplating a second child, I am already on a part-time salary and need to work out how we’ll survive on half of that for 6 months and then nothing for the remaining six months. Did someone say sponsored post? Selling my soul? At least I’m paying my way…
I understand! Was in a similar situation when I went to Uni 6 years ago and temporarily gave up work. Felt the need to over compensate and do everything else. Hang on, I did everything anyway! So, not quite the same. Now I’m on my own, I still have mother’s guilt, obvz, as I work full time, HOWEVER, I love the fact that I don’t feel I have to ‘make up’ for anything to anyone – I work hard and just do the best I can and now I’m not left feeling like I ‘owe’ anyone anything. Now I don’t know if I’m making sense! Just know you’re doing an invaluable job and you’re brilliant. End of.
I understand what you mean! I think it’s really hard when you become a parent in lots of ways, because it can heighten feelings that may have been there, lying dormant under the surface for a while. I’m always guilty of thinking I’m not good enough or “as good” as others, whether that be in a work or mum capacity. When I was on maternity leave with my daughter I spent a lot of time feeling less important than everyone else – and then when I went self-employed SO much of my self-worth came from how much money I was making every month. On months that weren’t so good, I’d often feel like a failure somehow. It’s ridiculous really, because money isn’t one of the things I value first in life at all – it’s just that it’s the way our society is built so you can get sucked into thinking you’re not as good as others if you’re not earning as much or don’t have as much… stuff. But you’re not less important. And neither am I. You’re doing a bloody important job raising a little member of society and one day you’ll be earning more again (if you want to) doing something you love and feel passionate about. I know it. x