Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Worth It

Though I have become, over the years, a zealot when it comes to home schooling, occasionally I have to confess a challenging aspect or two. The challenge of the moment for me is certainly not unique to home schoolers. It is the question of finding self worth.

Ever one of the brainy girls during my public school days, I struggled socially for most of my formative years. My validation came in the form of grades and praise from teachers. I became quite addicted to it and was very competitive--not a trait that helped in the social department, incidentally. This pattern continued into college to some extent, though I did make an effort to curb the competitive side. And so it can be particularly difficult for me to now be in a position of having to determine my own worth from within the confines of my lifestyle. My children certainly aren't heaping me with praise on a daily basis. To be fair, they do sometimes say very nice things, but mainly my efforts are met with complaints, sighs, and often negative attitudes. My husband is extremely supportive and encouraging, and will lavish me with accolades at the slightest hint. Unfortunately, it is too easy for me to dismiss his opinions on the matter. After all, he is contractually obligated to love me, making him not the most objective judge of my performance.

I applied for a job a couple of weeks ago. It was a teaching position with an online school. I don't think I really wanted it, so much as I was giving in to that old craving for external kudos. When I was informed that I lacked the qualifications to even warrant an interview, I started to spiral into a feeling of having no value or merit. I have taken the past week to do a little soul-searching and I have realized that it is simply time to change the tools with which I take my personal measurements. If I want to have that feeling of self worth, than I must value what I do. It's not up to the world to do that for me anymore.

How fitting to be deep in these thoughts during Mother's Day. What a common plight for women to worry over what the world thinks of us, especially when we choose to stay home with our children rather than pursue careers. We so readily buy into the notion that work for pay is the only work of real value. We dwell on what we have "given up" to be full time mothers and forget that motherhood is the ultimate promotion and we deserve to wear the role as proudly as any academic credentials or job title.

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