My accountant is going to be excited this tax season, because I’ve made his job SO EASY. Surely, mine will be the easiest tax return he completes. After all, my accountant is my husband, a corporate tax guy, and he only completes two returns: mine and his. When we first started dating, I asked him to do two years’ worth of my taxes, because I was “between accountants” the prior year, meaning that I was not dating one for the first time in my adult life (I really like accountants. I’m not sure what this says about me).
In any case, I’ve made his job easy because in 2018, I made a grand sum of (gasp!) zero dollars. Zero, zilch, nada, nothing. This is a tough pill for me to swallow. The truth is, I’ve always been a confident person but it wasn’t until I lost my income that I realized how much of my self-worth had become tied up in my income. An income is so tangible! Every pay raise and bonus was an indication of my own personal success, and a confirmation that I was contributing positively to my organization.
So here I am, back down to zero dollars, after completing my first full year as a stay at home parent. My blog is about feeling at home in your own life, but it’s definitely taken me a while to feel at home in my new role!
So, how do I value myself now? It certainly can’t be based on the praise of my children. My kids love me, but they’re kids and they’re fickle. One day, you’re great; the next day, they’re making Daddy a birthday card saying they “love you more than Mommy.” So, that’s out. And it can’t be based on my husband’s view of me, either. Most of the value that I bring to our family is invisible, and is therefore hard to specifically praise. It would be disingenuous for him to praise my mediocre cooking and cleaning “skills,” and frankly, it would belittle what I actually contribute around here.
I guess that leaves me at the cheesy-but-true revelation that my worth can’t be based on external factors like money, or praise from people around me. What a liberating revelation, because now I can do things that I value. I started French Club for Amelia and her friends, because I value friendships and language skills. I teach Sunday school because I value my faith and want others to learn about it. I started a blog because I believe there’s value in discussion, and that it binds us together to learn about each other. Sometimes (probably too often), I do nothing productive, choosing instead to hang out with my family, because I value spending time together. And I ski, because…well, I love it.
We all value different things, but we all have worth. Here’s to another year of finding self-worth in new ways!
PS – Even though I’m working on intrinsic value, I still love when you take the time to share my blog post!