My husband and I are in the same career field and made close to equal pay, so when I decided to stay at home to take care of our baby, our income was cut in half. I knew this would obviously affect us financially, but I did not expect how it would affect me emotionally.
I no longer financially contribute to my family, and I feel so guilty. I did not think I would feel this way. I thought I would know the worth of being a stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately, there isn’t a pay scale that shows you how much you’re worth. You have to redefine your own worth, and boy, that can be hard.
I’m home all day, yet when bedtime comes, I’m exhausted. I feel ashamed that I’m so tired. There are still dishes in the sink, laundry to fold, and another day went by without me vacuuming.
What exactly have I done today?
I know I’ve done something. I’ve taken care of my kid. But, is that all I’ve really done today? Shamefully, I fall into society’s often unrelenting, unappreciative views of moms.
With some grace for myself, I reflect on the day. My daughter and I had a great day. We went to the park, and she laughed and laughed as I pushed her in the swing. We ate applesauce together and made a giant mess. We read books and played with blocks. We chased the dog around the house. We cuddled, and she napped in my arms.
I have to acknowledge the value this brings to my family and remind myself that being here for my daughter is worth a lot. It cannot be equated to a paycheck. There is no magical equation that will show how much I would be getting paid if being a stay-at-home mom was a real job.
Redefining my worth based on how I feel is not always easy, especially on days I feel like I didn’t do enough.
But, I have discovered that when feelings of inadequacy creep up in me there are a few things I can do.
The first thing I do is stop and watch my daughter. I soak in her beautiful presence, which ultimately leads me to practice gratitude. I say out loud how thankful I am to spend time with her, to be able to love on her all day, and to watch her grow.
I look around me and, usually, there is a mess, but I also see where play has happened. I choose to focus on the connection and presence I’ve been able to give my child. This usually makes my heart swell because I’m just so proud to be my baby’s momma, and I let that pride wash all those inadequate feelings away.
I remember that this is a season.
A fleeting span of time in which the financial sacrifice, the messy house, and the microwaved dinners are all worth it.
So, stay-at-home momma, if you are feeling less than your worth today, I encourage you to pause and reflect because you are worth an incredible amount. I would say you are priceless.