The theme for 2021’s International Women’s Day, which falls on Monday March 8th, is #ChoosetoChallenge .While the global pandemic over the past year has challenged all of us in ways we’d never have wished on anyone, it has also brought to light some woeful discrepancies in gender equality. I have issue with the dismissal and disrespect for Stay-at-home Moms who became the majority this past year.

In the middle of spending months constantly caretaking and worrying about three demanding humans this past year, I acknowledged I felt emotionally and physically exhausted and resentful of all the “doing” for my family. It was apparent my kids didn’t appreciate me. And when I heard other women were struggling with the overwhelm of having to simultaneously work, home-school, clean, and cook for their families, I saw a pattern of disrespect from society, families, and ourselves emerging.

Once you see something, you can not Un-see it. The world is unappreciative of the women who have been keeping us all sane, sanitary, and fed through this pandemic and of the generations prior. The very backbone of every country has been and is taken for granted as a “given” resource. But this Mom job isn’t a default job because we weren’t good enough for anything else. Honestly, we are so good at the multitasking of home maintenance that we make it look too easy. And we’re being taken for granted.

From my perspective, keeping the seams of the country stitched together is a relentless, disrespected, and necessary job. The toddler in diapers and the angry teen are the future of our country. Refusing to acknowledge, honor, and support families’ now saturated need for this special type of care and love at home dooms our next generation to their entitled future anger for emotional abandonment as their mothers spread themselves too thin to do it all. As they work to just pay for childcare.

International Women's Day 2021 : Seeing Ourselves as Valuable on Shalavee.com

These very women are also not asking the world and their families for their due acknowledgment and appreciation. It makes me sad that women are so quick to disregard themselves and their value. We often do what needs getting done without too much “fuss” stating it’s not a big deal, we’re just used to this and it’s easier for us to do the work without help. This is the hardest job ever. By taking ourselves for granted, we are raising and priming the next generation of women for the same self-neglect and disrespect. Playing it down needs to stop.

We cannot conquer what we can not recognize as oppressive, be it our own self-neglect or societal disrespect. In order to see ourselves as valuable human beings, we need to treat ourselves as such. But feeling entitled to respect when we suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety is nearly impossible. I am still on my own journey to climb out of the self-hatred hole and into the compassionate light of seeing myself as a worthy human. This takes additional work beyond that of caring for the family.

The lockdown has taught me life’s easier when I’m vigilant about my self-care by prioritizing my needs and maintaining my boundaries, especially with my family. I can only continue care-taking my children effectively and thoughtfully when I replenish my energy reserves. I do this with therapy, community support, journaling, creating art, and I am committed to taking anti-anxiety medications for the rest of my life. This is how I revere myself and stay sane. Our refusal to prioritize our care and needs doesn’t boost our self-sacrifice points. It does no one any good.

International Women's Day 2021 : Seeing Ourselves as Valuable on Shalavee.com

As we acknowledge our worthiness as women, I’d like to see us choose to join together in the grander act of superversion; a joint and conscious nurturing act of building ourselves and our daughters esteems up so they will be entitled to ask to be treated fairly and respectfully. Unlike subversion, this is not an act against anyone or anything, but an answer to a societal oversight. To honor our heroic female ancestors and ourselves, we can only help future generations recognize the importance of all the unseen selfless acts of love women perform for their families that have allowed future generations to thrive.

Only when we start exhibiting the behavior that we want to see, will the world shift with us. Right is just plain right. A little superversion as purposeful positivity, support, and nurturing, can unite and carry us together safely as one to speak and act on behalf of women around the globe who can not speak for themselves. This is how we can make change, from within ourselves and for the world. I’d like to say the patriarchy will applaud us, but it won’t. We just have to be here for each other no matter.

If you feel resentful towards the world and your families for the way they take you for granted, I completely understand. What will it take for us to tell them to think better of us? What tax breaks could we be offered so that being a stay at home Mom could be the more valued job it should be? How about subsidizing childcare workers to make it more available? And how can you yourself revere your own worthiness with acts of kindness so that others will treat you as you treat you? Please share these ideas and respectfully remember all those wonderful women who have come before us who deserved this kind of love and respect.

And then give this to yourselves.

This post is written to acknowledge the role of women in the world in honour of International Women’s Day 2021. The theme is  #choosetochallenge.  Co-ordinated by Attract Readers, https://www.attractreaders.com

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8 Comments

  1. Shalagh, I can so relate to your thoughts because I was a stay-at-home mum for a few years and it was anything but easy. I hope I became a good role models for my son and my daughters but it took me a while to appreciate what an important job I actually did. I also had to learn to ask for help and found that how and what we communicate to our families influences how they treat us.
    I must say I am in awe of you and all mums who have to do all that AND navigate the challenges of the pandemic too!

    • The frustration that I felt was partially at myself because I knew I was not valuing myself and asking them to do the same. Thank you Ute for the opportunity to write a little more deeply on a subject that means a lot to me.
      In Gratitude,
      Shalagh

      • You’re very welcome. So glad you shared your thoughts on such an important topic for all women in mothering roles! You are “sheroes” for sure… such a perfect word (thanks for that Valerie)

  2. Hi Shalagh, I’m a bereaved mother, but I do so agree with everything you have said! Mothers are so often the forgotten ‘sheroes’ the ‘invisible’ thread holding the home and its members together. Growing up, both my parents worked and we children (6) all had to dig in with household chores and were taught how to cook, laundry etc. These early lessons taught me to be appreciative of the roles we all play in later life.

    I look around me at mother’s I know, and like Ute, am in awe of all they’ve had to do and cope with throughout the pandemic and it’s challenges. Respect and recognition is well overdue.

    • Thank you so much Valerie for your thoughtful support. I adore the word “sheroes”. I’d love to hear how other women would see the respect and recognition manifesting. What actions should we take? The women’s march was a beautiful show of solidarity. What more could we do?
      Much Gratitude,
      Shalagh

  3. Hi Shelagh,
    It’s great to read that you now see yourself as worthy. Journaling, therapy, creativity and community support are great ways to replenish and something we could all benefit from. Best wishes

  4. Shelagh, you make such a good point and totally agree that mothers everywhere should be shown more respect and reward for the incredible job they do. It is so important to look after yourself first, so that you can look after others.

    • Thank you so much for reading Gill! Society takes it’s clues form itself and currently, there isn’t the sort of acknowledgement there should be. The only thing I know how to do is to speak more loudly about my value. To my kids and the world. My husband is sorta there.
      Much Love,
      Shalagh

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