Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm Worth It

It feels strange to even type those words. It's not something most women are good at stating, to themselves or to the world. I had coffee with a friend yesterday and we discussed how important it is to affirm our own value in our homes and in the world. We have the same value as our husbands and our children and our friends and extended family members. We just sometimes forget we do.

Moms are hardwired to give to their kids. We all know some who appear to be wired differently and take care of their own needs ahead of their children's, but by and large I see most of my friends giving more to their family and taking less for themselves. In many ways, the world runs on this principle, and everything might fall apart if it weren't set up this way.

But there is a subtle place where women begin to believe less of themselves, particularly in the early days of motherhood when we are consumed by the same repetitive tasks of diapers, bottles, naps, temper tantrums and so on. Our husbands come home with stories of exciting developments, lunches and promotions at work, and we begin to shrink into their shadow. How many times can we describe at dinner time what we did that day with our children, since each day tends to blend into the next?

Last year I poked my head out of my rabbit hole, and realized that there was a big world out there, with people in it, living life and carrying on while I was focused on my babies and toddlers. When William was three and Ava was in Grade One, it suddenly became a little easier, and I had space to look at my own worth and value within my family.

I had to rebuild that sense of value, brick by brick, until it resembled something with a little substance. I love that I'm not the same person as I was before I had children. I am forever changed, much less self centred and more caring and kind, and I wouldn't trade those qualities for anything. But I have always been valuable, and worth the same extras as anyone else.

It's a slow process, but worth it in the end, to affirm ourselves as mothers, wives, and women. Today we have massages booked in the morning, and then babysitters coming for the afternoon while we go on a lunch and movie date. Tomorrow I'm using a gift certificate I requested for my birthday to a spa where I'll have a variety of pampering treatments. I plan to enjoy every moment of these activities, and remind myself that I'm worth the time and the cost, and come back to my kids with a light heart and a refreshed spirit.

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