Knowing your value
Recently, I was listening to an episode of the EntreLeadership podcast. It was all about knowing your value, dying to your dreams, and being faithful in the little things. They stressed the importance of knowing your own value as a person, because if you put your worth on success or a lack-there-of, it's a downward spiral into either pride or self-loathing.
As I stood there at the stove pouring Cuban-style black beans into a pot for a dinner, I couldn't help but think of an exchange I had at the dentist's office a week prior. The hygienist was making small talk, of course saw my bump and asked if this was my first. This ultimately led to the question that at-home moms simultaneously dread and brush off, so are you working? I immediately found myself internally scrambling to come up with an answer because a simple "no" always seems awkward. I mean no, not strictly speaking, but I'm pursuing what I love. No, that's awkward, too. I resorted to the typical no, I'm staying at home right now. (Catch how I added the "right now"?) The hygienist, with kids of her own, responded typically (but endearingly) with "oh that's nice".
This post isn't about working or at-home moms. At the end of the day, moms are moms and we do what's best for us and our families whether we go to an office, have an at-home office or find our schedules dictated around poops and playtime. What I realized about my internal dialogue though later bothered me. It suggested I thought I was something less if I didn't respond with a "Yeah, I work at _____." This especially got to me, because I have never been happier or more fulfilled. Thanks to having my daughter, I fell into a place that I actually liked, doing something I actually enjoyed doing - being with my family and writing every day. And I'm confident in the decisions I made. But due to societal pressures, stigmas, and the ongoing "having it all" conversation, I always feel a little twinge when I'm asked if I "work".
I know it's the typical small-talk topic, but even if I told you I did work, what it would say underneath my name on an office door wouldn't define me. And if one day I find myself in an office again, it won't define me. I wasn't any more of a person a year and a half ago when working while pregnant just as I'm not any less of a person now at-home with one and one on the way.
I'm Kaitlin (or Kate to the blogging world). I'm a believer, a writer, a wife, a mother, a friend, daughter. Not any one of these titles solely defines me. Together, they make me who I am. Sometimes being a mom demands more of me than being a writer does, but at other times, I go out of my way to be a writer or a friend. And at others, my daughter is babysat while I put on my best wife hat and go on a date with my husband. And at most times, each title helps me to be better in another.
My value lies in my name, my person, not in any title that doesn't or will ever follow it.