Recently I had a little crisis of my self-esteem and I wanted to share the experience with you today because I thought some of you might have had (or are still having) the same problem. Even guys can experience this too I guess.
Ever since I graduated from uni at age of 21, I kept working without a break. When I was in Japan, I lived with my parents, but after I moved to Australia, I couldn’t rely on anyone, so I made a living for myself. I always worried about becoming sick or losing my job.
My mum kept telling me since I was younger that I’d better have a job and my own money even after I got married. She had a little marriage crisis with my dad (they are fine now!!) but because she didn’t work after marriage, she couldn’t get any high paying job and had to rely on my dad financially. That’s why she thought women should be financially independent all the time. After the crisis, she studied hard and got a medical office work certificate and worked for a clinic for long time. Now she’s enjoying travelling around the world.
I liked my job and having my own money, so I was happy to continue it when I got married but I had to stop working when I got pregnant…my maternity leave started a month before my due date.
Then soon after I got back to my work (Nico was only 4 months old), I lost my job. Although I started my business soon after that, I was just spending my savings to set up my business and couldn’t actually contribute to my family financially. In Japan we often say that “he who does not work, neither shall he eat”. I was working, but not getting money so I felt bad about eating with Paul’s salary.
I know Paul doesn’t mind at all and many housewives do that, but I just wasn’t used to it. When I was working, I could also keep some of my own money for myself, so I could often buy Paul a cup of coffee or nice treat, a lovely Christmas present and Birthday present, but now I can’t do much of those stuff. That makes me a bit depressed.
Timewise, I couldn’t spend my time for myself either and that gave my self-esteem a bit of damage too. Doing my own business, looking after Nico and taking care of the house work at the same time never gave me time to look after myself. When I go to the supermarket with Nico, I always have bed hair and wear T-shirts and pants which Nico touched with his dirty hands. I don’t really have time to iron my lovely blouse. I don’t have time to put lipstick or contact lenses on.
When I see a mirror or window, I just think “who is this miserable lady?” Probably this is what Paul is thinking too...haha. It’s too different from someone who he got married 3 years ago - I always wore my makeup, nail polish and dressed up nicely. But Paul is so nice and he always says “you look beautiful no matter what”. Well I know I don’t look beautiful with bed hair at all, so that only makes me doubt that all the lovely words he’s saying are just out of consideration...although I think he really means it - I think he’d better see an eye doctor!
I lost all my confidence. I started to think Nico must be pretty unhappy with this terrible looking mum and Paul better find a new beautiful wife. I’m not really contributing anything to my family and just eating food from our money. I just hated myself.
Well…how did I got recovered from that point? Of course with my family’s support and encouragement. Paul said to me that if being a mother is a job, it has to be one of the most high-paying jobs and that’s how I’m contributing to my family. And then I could change my thought like this: “Well.. although I’m not making any money, we don’t have to pay $50 a day for childcare fee, so it’s same as I’m making $250 pw. It’s not zero at least! And being able to spend time with Nico is priceless.“ I know how working mums struggle too, this way of thinking just helps me feel more positive about my own situation.
About my miserable appearance? Well I try to look nicer on the weekend when Paul can look after Nico too, but on weekdays I just decided not to care much. I just don’t have time to feel depressed. No matter if I’m feeling down or up, the battle with new dirty dishes, clothes, nappies and hungry boys come. The most important thing is that I’m actually happier now than those times when I could spend all the time for myself and dress up nicely. Next time when I see myself miserable in mirror, I will just think “She’s trying so hard for her family!”
I hope this entry helps some mums (and even dads) thinking the same way - as parents, you're all doing something amazing!