I’ve been quietly working on retraining my brain over the last few months. Last year I came to a harsh realization: I am not very good at recognizing the value of my own time. I was stuck in a cycle of filling my time with too many tasks out of a sense of obligation, making me bitter. I was overcommitting and putting too much on my plate because I didn’t recognize the value of my own time.
While I still am not perfect, I have found that by recognizing the value of my own time, I have felt more content and less frazzled over the past year. Below are three takeaways I’ve learned as I have worked to recognize the value of my time better.
Motherhood is not martyrdom.
It is really taxing being a modern mother. I will spare you the history lesson on the transformation of the role and expectations of motherhood in the last 100 years. The result is that motherhood’s mental and physical load is unlike ever before. It is easy to fall into the trap of being devoted to the belief that motherhood should be martyrdom. Society, social media, and the modern narrative will tell you that you are failing your children if you are not treating motherhood as martyrdom. Over the last year, I’ve learned this couldn’t be farther from the truth. While I’m not advocating you neglect your children and spend your time wholly devoted to yourself, I am advocating for a more balanced approach. This past year, I’ve learned it’s ok to put my interest or need in the priority section, and, in turn, I’ve found myself to be a more content mom.
Just because I can does not mean I should.
Confession: I am a recovering people pleaser. I want to help people out. I want to be seen as good (any other Enneagram 1s hear me on this?). I cannot stand the idea of letting someone else down or not helping out when there’s a need. I have spent years saying “yes” to things that put additional stress on myself (and my family) to lighten someone else’s load. But over the last year, I’ve learned that just because I can does not mean I should. I still struggle a lot with this because the truth of it is I like to help other people out when there’s a need. I love to show up for my people. I’ve just learned to be more discerning in it. I’ve also learned that no one (who matters) will like me any less because they recognize the value of my time.
A mom’s time is valuable even if she doesn’t work outside the home.
Since I became a full-time SAHM after we moved to Arizona for my husband’s job, I have spent the last number of years in a struggle. It is a constant battle for me to recognize the value of my own time. I have constantly felt my time has less value because there’s no paycheck associated with it. I have worked really hard to recognize the importance of my time is not connected to a paycheck, particularly in the last year. The value is there because it is my time, and it’s up to me how I choose to fill it. For me, this means volunteering in various capacities that bring me intellectual stimulation and fulfillment. It can also mean grocery shopping on a weekday to move my family forward because I can, and how I choose to spend my time has value.
If, like me, you’ve struggled with recognizing the value of your time, I hope this piece will help you realize your time has value because it’s yours. How you choose to fill it is up to you. Guilt and pressure should not prevent you from recognizing the importance of your time.