Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Self Value


So let's also reverse it:

"When you undervalue who you are, the world will undervalue what you do."

Wow. This puts the responsibility for how we are perceived at least partly back on our own shoulders.

I was trying to think how this idea might apply to say, mothers, but surely it also applies to fathers, especially when these two people are in their workplaces instead of their homes. Are you a mother or homemaker who undervalues herself because you are not in the paid workforce? Let's ban the phrase "Just a housewife" from our speech and thinking.

Jayn and James at Legoland

I was thinking how it might apply to women, ("woman's work") but surely it also applies to men ("cos after all he's just a man"). Here are some surprising stats about time spent doing different activities categorized by employment level (FT, PT, none). At least, I was surprised. The page isn't perfect - they have left out the ages of the children which I think differentiates the three similar tables. Also they do leave out some (important from my pov) demographics - the minority of families where mother works full time and father is either part time or not working, or both work part time. Yet it is still very interesting. Who knew moms are getting more sleep than dads? And by the way, home schoolers, scroll down to the Reading to Children and Playing/Doing Hobbies with Children lines and prepare to be amazed.

Jayn's earrings on her Etsy store

Of course professionally women are still paid less than men for the same work - except that it isn't always the same occupations. Women are often still the first choice for the crappy ones. Plus it turns out women aren't as good at asking for more money. I know I'm not!

Aquarium of the Pacific public mural activities

The world tends to undervalue the daily work of children, unless it is at the level of prodigy (ie indistinguishable from that of an adult). I don't think it's because children undervalue themselves. Maybe they learn to undervalue their own gifts and strangeness in favor of the external gratifications of grades and the correct answers to test questions. What about the daily work of children in much of the third world, who are living as if they were adults? Their work is undervalued.


On another level, do you claim your highest aspirational title? I call myself Writer, not someone doing a bit of writing. I call myself Artist, Artisan, Crafter, Maker - increasingly leaning to dropping everything but Artist  - not dabbler, dilettante or hobbyist, not playing with stuff. This is serious professional business for me. If I value my title as a big part of my identity, maybe it will follow that the effort I place on my work, the quality of my work will improve and then the world will value what I do.

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