You know an argument I hear a lot? "My bloody taxes shouldn't be spent on criminals in prisons, so we should bring in capital punishment"...
I don't agree with this statement but it never particularly offended me until now, when I started thinking about the core belief of this statement being that human life has to be validated by a monetary value.
At this present moment in time I produce no income. In fact for two whole years now, save a brief spell of paid photography and blog work, I haven't really brought home any money at all. Now I realise the people making the aforementioned statement don't want to hurl me into gas chamber but they are informing me, my children and my society (if we wanna get big with this) that the decision to be a SAHM (stay at home Mum) has somehow cheapened my self-worth! Hmmm... That neither feels good nor rings true.
Most of the time my resolve to stay at home and focus on my family is concrete (for me, my situation and my family I stress). Occasionally, usually triggered by some other body-image crisis, social boo-boo or bad-day related event, that concrete cracks and I let the "salary/job title = worth/importance of my role" logic seep in. When it does it's serious poison. SAHM kryptonite. And I literally have to get some fresh air and pep-talk myself back to sunnier thoughts about myself.
Enough. I've had this argument with myself for too long. Judged myself, my purpose, my self-worth, and my self-confidence against monetary scales for too long. I don't want a cash sum on my tombstone, so why is the thought of living to a cash sum taking up so much of my headspace?!
So how should I be valuing myself? I came up with a list of questions to ask myself when mid-concrete-cracking in the hope different thoughts and feelings seep in... If I can answer "yes" to a few of these then surely my efforts are going in right direction...
Was I challenged emotionally today?
Do I have standards for my role at home and did I try to meet them today?
Have my children played today?
Do I have a creative outlet and do I practice it regularly?
Am I in some kind of learning curve of any variety (intellectual, physical, emotional...)?
Have my chidden had a learning opportunity today?
Am I proud of something my children did today, no matter how small or even if I've seen it ten times before?
Did I have to problem solve today?
Do I have aspirations for my home and my family and for my role within it?
Did I do the majority of everything today with the best intentions?
Have I made decisions with a wider view of my community in mind today?
Did I want to do my job today?
Were there moments of joy in my role today?
Basically I am asking if I am fulfilled. But "am I fulfilled?" is a far to broad question and anticipating answering that as an unequivocal 100% YES everyday is unrealistic. So I'm going for answering yes to some/most of these. If I wanted to give myself some numbers to target let's say I want to answer 30% of these yes on an ok day, 50% yes on a good day and 75%+... Well I'm high-fiving myself and pouring a glass of performance related bonus juice in the evening!