Many moons ago as I write, I casually excused myself from the dinner table. In the bathroom I sat on my children’s stepping stool and cried, real actual tears. Why? Because the conversation at the table had turned to opinions on dinner. It was a school break at the time so for several days in a row I had much more kitchen duty than normal. When everyone is home our dishwasher has to run twice and that barely gets everything done.
On that particular day, homemade apple sauce had set off a menu of fried pork chops, garden salad with a variety of ingredients, and tater tots at the children’s request (we aren’t a proud people). Of course, the rare tater tot was the biggest hit. I was fine with that but when what I had actually made began being picked apart by the little free loaders, I crumbled. A large under appreciated part of my day is spent in the kitchen.
My husband goes out of his way to show his gratitude for my contributions to the home, but five other people can be very harsh and forward critics.
They are just being kids, but as I regathered myself in the bathroom that night I saw how embarrassingly fragile my confidence can be. I began giving myself a little pep talk about the accolades I had received for my accomplishments during my career. Soothing myself with memories of children blossoming under my tutelage as a teacher, pats on the back from colleagues and superiors, paychecks. Some would say that teaching is an under appreciated profession, that would be true until you compare it to being a stay-at-home mom or dad.
This was also revealing to me. My confidence still lies in my career. A career that I stepped away from years ago. That well is getting harder to draw from.
It further occurred to me, that there may be other moms in the world sequestered in their pocket half baths not wanting to face the dinner panel, confidence and emotional state cruelly shaken by the feeling that they aren’t very good at this 'at home' parenting thing. But it's not just an 'at home' parenting thing. It might just be a parenting thing.
My thoughts then turned to women who work outside the home. They too may feel more competent and appreciated at work but secretly wobbly on their feet at home. They may feel judged and compared by and to us 'at home' types.
Then I started thinking that people who aren't parents may have areas in their lives that feel shaky to them. There is this sense of not quite being good enough.
Lots of my think time happens in the bathroom, apparently.
So confidence.... More to come
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