“Are you employed?”, the intake nurse asks me. “No”, I answer wondering again why this question matters at a doctor’s office. She’s seen that I have health insurance and a driver’s license. The underlying message I continually hear is that to be a valid person, you must earn money. And if I find no value in myself as an essential home worker, I will pass this worthlessness bias and belief down to my daughter.
Salary.com states that if mothers were paid for their efforts, they’d make over 100K per year. While there is no calculation of worth for our maternal love and care, this monetary translation serves to only trivialize our hard work. As if acknowledging an imaginary wage will quiet our rising discontent for being taken for granted. There is no price one can put on all our patience and caretaking efforts as this is what we expect of ourselves as “good mothers”. Our worth is much much more than monetary.
This capitalistic patriarchal mindset is so prevalent that even as women, we cannot give ourselves credit for our efforts.
If our society needs children to perpetuate itself, these little people need raising. The fact that each of us is alive means that someone kept us this way. Children who have good souls owe them to our work. The magic of Christmas happens in our homes because of our work. The pandemic made it glaringly clear that home management was essential unpaid work.
Yet “women’s” work remains underrecognized and is even seen as demeaning. In our modern world, we are valued for our earning capacity. So, with no paycheck, we have no worth. This capitalistic patriarchal mindset is so prevalent that even as women, we cannot give ourselves credit for our efforts. We’re burning ourselves out from both ends as we willingly dismiss our passionate efforts to give our children safer and happier childhoods and strive to make money to legitimize ourselves.
The worthless bias will only be broken if we claim our worthiness.
I adore my life as a Homebody, Homemaker, and a Stay-at-Home Mom. As well as a writer, a blogger, and an uber-creative. This is where I am happiest. I care for my hearth and realm with voracity because the family I chose to create deserves the best life I can facilitate for them. One that’s safe, creative, and happy.
As the chef, meal planner, kitchen manager, and the grocery shopper, I am responsible for 21 meals per week for 4 people which includes the planning, prep, cooking, and cleanup. No one ever eats enough vegetables, but we eat our meals all together as much as possible.
To create responsible kids, and to not do all the housework myself, I am chore coordinator, although an undone chore always falls back onto my plate. And I am the character coach here to witness their positive achievement moments and mirror them back to my children and listen wisely when necessary.
Self-care is how I recharge myself to be able to return to all those chores with good cheer and energy.
I am also the social secretary and health and beauty manager. I arrange play dates and book doctor’s, dentist, and haircut appointments as well as keep the calendar updated and complete all necessary paperwork.
And I’m the housekeeper and taxicab. I maintain a moderately clean house. I clear clogged drains, wash dishes, distribute towels, change sheets and cat boxes, and wash windows. And I am always aware of how, when, and where my children will be at all times. If I must, I’ll drive them to school and camps and classes and put the gas in the car to get them there.
All of this still doesn’t mention the time it takes me to take care of myself. I still need bathe me or get a pedicure, write on my blog, and spend time with my friends or husband. Self-care is how I recharge myself to be able to return to all those chores with good cheer and energy.
If we dismiss our own care, we become resentful unhappy caretakers and our children will become this too.
These unseen efforts are perpetual. There’s no clock to punch in and out of. My time’s not ever really mine when the priority is the children. Yes, I claw at the calendar to claim my time which can overwhelm me enough to not want to claim my own space. But if we dismiss our own care, we become resentful unhappy caretakers and our children will become this too.
We are the backbone of the society. Just because we chose to bear and have the children does not mean that they are “our problem”. Our tasks of caring allow for the bread winners to be unbothered by all these tasks and just focus on their jobs. And themselves. We’re fried before we take on that part/full time job to make ends meet.
We will only break this worthless bias if we claim our worthiness. If we ask to be recognized for our invisible efforts to maintain everyone as well as ourselves. We are worth so much more doing this invisible essential work than the media represents. We deserve so much more appreciation than our ungrateful families sometimes show us. The change in our representation requires us to show up for ourselves and represent all the others who have no voice.
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