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.
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.
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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