If I am not getting paid, my contribu-tion has no value = feeling of inadequacy
“I do a lot: community work, youth projects, am with my kids – I am constantly busy and mostly I love it – I just don’t earn any money with all this” – I hear this or statements along these lines very often. What gets to me is the undertone of “not earning money = negative” and the feeling of inadequacy that I is tangible between the lines.
Women, young and old, sometimes outspoken, sometimes just underlying the conversation, seem to be affected deeply
Being a mother, the guardian of the home, was and is acknowledged, highly respected and valued in the few remaining indigenous cultures on this planet and traditionally in well-functioning communities. Not so in modern societies where the value-adding benefit and contribution to the community/family/society is mainly measured by money. Jobs are valued and ranked based on their monetary outcome. There is no direct monetary outcome linked to the “mum-job”, and this creates a pretty strong social and cultural “imprint”, even in women (and men, for that matter) who “rebel” against it and aim for different values: Jobs that aren’t measureable in money, aren’t valued which translates into: if I am not getting paid, my contribution has no value = feeling of inadequacy, sinking self-esteem.
This applies to the job “mum” (same for “dad”, of course!) as well as to other jobs like “artist”, “philosopher”, “healer/shaman/witch”, “activist”, “visionary” etc. In tribal societies these positions within the community had a respected place and were valued. They were seen as vital roles contributing to the balance, sustainability and well-being of the whole community. There were the hunters & gatherers, later the gardeners and cultivators, entrepreneurs, and many more, running around, doing “stuff”, being busy – and there were also the ones who sat on mountain tops, in caves, secluded huts, the ones who tended the home fires, listened deeply, were in touch with other realms, played, dreamt , etc., and all of them were respected as they brought balance into the talking circle, into the community.
We need female qualities to birth new paradigms into being
In this post I focus on the “mum-job”, because I think that in these times of transition we need female qualities to birth new paradigms into being. Female qualities within men and women! The monetary system, as we currently experience and interpret it, is dominated by male qualities. When I see young women trying to push themselves hard “to succeed” (usually this translates into
All the roles mentioned before are not only important, they are essential for a healthy and thriving community.
It’s time to shift the “money myth” and to see the community value and benefit in things and activities that are not directly linked to a monetary outcome.
It’s time to value and acknowledge people who donate their energies to the community/to humanity in various different ways: as volunteers in various forms, as activists, as philosophers, as artists, as elders, as young ones, as meditators, contemplators, visionaries, as mums and dads.
It's time to allow them to share their gifts with the community by actively supporting them. There are many opportunities and examples of how we can do this: creating collaborative, cooperative models to support each other (Buen vivir, Care, Commons, Ecommony, Shareconomy, Gift economy (another example here), etc.), establishing a basic income (see recent Finland experiment), slowing things down and opening pathways for open communication, mutual sharing and nurturing in many areas. I see inspiring initiatives spring forth everywhere, and I am sure we can and will come up with many more solutions to concretely create an infrastructure to allow for shifts to happen and to welcome and integrate community-oriented values and skills.
I am a mum of a daughter, and want her to see her value, no matter of her degree, certification, external factors and social/cultural rankings. This is my wish for everybody! We all have to give something – whatever that “thing” might be, it is of value for the whole. We might not see it at first. We might have to develop it. But it’s always there.
However, I met and meet a lot of people who seem to think they are “not enough” or they do not “earn enough” (money).
A lot of women sometimes struggle and feel “inadequate” because they are not earning (enough) money. They feel like they are not “good enough”, even though they are doing amazing things for their community: raising children, doing voluntary work to benefit their community, putting their energy and heart into campaigning for the well-being of the planet, creating beauty and insights, etc. etc. etc. – in short: they pour a lot of energy into nurturing the balance, beauty and well-being of their community and life in general. What could be more important and valuable for humanity?
If you feel inadequate, restless, “not enough” in whatever way sometimes or if you know a mum who does, please consider the following:
Being a mum (no matter of how many/few children!) is a full-time job. Actually, it is more than your usual full-time job as it isn’t a 9-5, 40-hours-a-week kind of job. It doesn’t stop. The responsibility for a young child is always there. And mum can feel “it” – all the time… As they get older they might not need mum so much anymore on a physical level, however, it is hugely valuable if there is a safe haven, a place to land, to recover, to enjoy when coming back from teenage explorations and life’s turmoil. Holding a nurturing space for children to grow, for family to evolve, includes an amazing variety of tasks: preparing/growing food, creating a safe place, a homely atmosphere, managing tasks and needs and wants, being there and listening, giving advice, supporting the overall growths and development of future citizens physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - and so much more. In order to do this job, especially in modern-day societies where mums often aren’t supported by their families, community, etc. but left to their own devices, it is, in my view, also necessary that mum holds a space for herself to refuel, regenerate, replenish her energies. Otherwise – and I see this often and know it from my own experience – it is easy to become exhausted and unbalanced.
In my view, being a mum (and dad, of course, but as said before I am focusing on mums here) is one of the most important jobs a human can have. Again: What could be more important for humanity than raising children to become well-balanced happy grown-ups? The important bit here is: well-balanced and happy. This is a huge task in itself and requires a lot. The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ shows that, ideally, this task is fulfilled by many. However, in any case, “mum” is a very important figure in every child’s life, and in modern societies with single mums on the rise, they are often the center point for a child.
Why is this important role not seen and valued? Why do some mums feel like they are not doing enough in terms of “contributing”? Why are some mums pushed back or “do feel the pressure of having to go back into the workforce” instead of seeing their huge value and, at the same time, being valued and supported in staying at home and/or in giving their energy into projects/work that serves their community? I am not talking about mums here who choose to work in a regular job. I am talking about options and having choices, and about how a mum feels about herself and how mums are valued in society.
Value your Self and the important, vital role you play
Please value your Self and the important, vital role you play; e.g. in being there for your children, holding a space for family, sharing your gifts with your community in whatever form this might be! This will be a first step to shift the “money myth” and all its
… we honor and acknowledge those amongst us (including ourselves) who give their energy into “family/community matters”? Support them = provide food, shelter, security for them, because we see the value in their contribution?
… our political leaders and doers had advisors who contemplate and connect with the bigger picture and include the voices of mums in their decision-making processes? What would political decisions (on a communal and international level) look like then?
… there were balancing ad-wise-ors in other areas as well? People who stepped out of the busyness of modern day life and therefore are able to contribute a balancing perspective?