During my last year in college, I took a class called Gender and Development where we studied women's’ lives in different countries. My professor always emphasized how everywhere, in every country, women’s work in the home is undervalued because the home is a private space. Therefore it's difficult to ‘quantify’ or measure all the skills involved in managing a household in comparison with other lines of work. When I became a stay at home mom myself, I thought about this class a lot.
Suddenly it wasn't someone else's life anymore, it was mine.
As a mom, I was doing SO MUCH everyday to take care of my baby and maintain *somewhat* of a functional house. Yet I still felt somehow that society expected more from me. I felt my skills learned as a stay at home mom aren't acknowledged and appreciated on a resume in the same way that a certain title or job position is. I used to cringe when people asked ‘What do you do?’ because whenever I answered 'stay at home with my sons' it was like the conversation lulled. No one really knows how much you do, except other moms.
It all just felt so unfair...
even though the world is changing and it's pretty convincing that #thefutureisfemale, there are still some bigger shifts that need to happen. As women (whether you’re a mother or not) our biggest asset is self-empowerment.
The moment I realized that it doesn't matter what I do, the title I have, or if I’m acknowledged for my work. This was a HUGE turning point in my own life.
My value doesn’t need to be earned, I've always had it.
It's 'an inalienable right endowed by our creator’ (recognize that line? hehe). I don’t need to wait for permission or approval from someone else, I already am ENOUGH, just as I am. Now THAT is empowering.
It took me awhile to really feel this though...In fact, the exact moment this realization hit me, was the moment I felt utterly hopeless and incompetent as a mom.
It was on the day my own mother left after visiting for 3 months during the birth of my second son. I was TERRIFIED. I just didn’t think I could handle taking care of two boys under two all day on my own. Even though this was my second baby I still wasn't much better at scheduling, cooking, or remembering the last time he pooped...
So there I was feeling all these emotions, then I looked down and saw my 2 month old son staring at me, studying every inch of my face. He took it all in: my messy hair, my smelly pajamas...and all he saw was Mommy and that was all he needed.
In his 2 months of life, he taught me a lesson that I’d been struggling to understand for decades.
The greatest gift I can give my sons and others, is to be my unabashed self.
It's funny because in many ways motherhood is full of paradoxes. I’d thought I’d lost part of myself as a mom (mom brain anyone? haha) And maybe I did for a while, but when I was able to find myself again I gained a renewed confidence that I never even knew I had.
Even though I can honestly say now that I'm living the life of my dreams, it wasn’t any easy road to get here.
That's what makes me all the more grateful for everything and I'm SO grateful to you for being a big part of it!
Lots of love,
Yun-A (rhymes with 'fun' 'Ah') creator of Your Aesthetic Style.
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