Am I Worth It?

As we’re shoveling our way through another snow filled cluster f%@k of a week, I am pondering my worth. Not as a mom or a wife, because I know I rock the shit out of those roles. But my worth as a worker.

I recently read this article about women being punished in their careers for being moms. Really good one, you should read it. I learned a little something:  Did you know that a woman’s earnings decrease by 4% for every child she bears, while post kids, men’s earnings increase by about 6%? Is it because the more kids we have, the crazier our lives become and something’s gotta give? Does work suffer when a woman becomes a mom? I think maybe, in my case, it does.

Let’s face it: On paper, becoming a mom made me an awful employee. I take sick days when my child is sick. And then I take sick days when I catch what she had.  I take sick days when it snows, again, and school is canceled. I’m late to work on those delayed openings days. (Hell, I’m late to work on regular days.) I leave work early to get to doctor’s appointments for my child, or for school events. I play calendar gymnastics during school vacations and plans don’t always work out. I’ve even had to drag my daughter to work on a few rare occasions. There are days when I’ve been so tired, I’ve caught myself falling asleep at my desk. Somehow, I make it work. Does that mean I deserve to be paid less than a man in the same circumstances?

Don't work from home Mommy!  Let's play!
Don’t work from home Mommy! Let’s play in the snow! Photo: K Stevenson

How many of us are out there who can’t give work our all because there is just nothing left to give? I feel like I fall into that category several days a week. It’s not that I don’t do my job. I do and I’m darn good at it. I’m not a slouch. But I don’t exactly put in any extra effort. Because there is no extra. Am I missing out on opportunities in my career because I can’t give anymore?

“Now, if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay…” “If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair…why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?” Bare minimum.  My credo.
“Now, if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay…”
“If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair…why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?”
Bare minimum. My credo.

Maybe I do deserve that “less than” status because I’m a mom. There are others out there who work harder than I do, sure. In all honesty though, I think I deserve a medal for getting my job done well given that I burn the candle at both ends most of the time. I’m glad I show up with pants on and matching shoes every day, ready to contribute to the best of my ability. So what if “best” is a moving target right now?  This career, this life of working and being a mom, is a marathon, not a sprint. I just have to find my stride to make it through this rough uphill part. Maybe I’ll start to coast when I get the balance between being a mom and being a great employee figured out.



6 thoughts on “Am I Worth It?

  1. I have been reading about this phenomenon lately as well. I have also lived it. The first thing I noticed when I returned to work was that my full duties were not reinstated. My supervisor was vague when questioned about this and I , unfortunately, went along with it. I remember a co-worker expressing anxiety that I “looked/ seemed tired” and me assuring her I could still perform. I tried to reach out to other moms at work. One mom said simply: “When you become a Mom, you just turn into a superhero”. I don’t recall the rest of the conversation. There probably wasn’t much left to say after that. Shortly after my daughter’s birthday and in the most unfortunate of timing , just after we purchased our first home. (to be close to childcare and work) my supervisor started targeting me to the point I was forced to resign a year later. I don’t know how much my becoming a mom was a factor in the timing of things at work, but I can’t disregard the possible connection. I am meeting more and more women who have experienced negativity in the work place. Most are Moms. 😦


    1. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to live through this terrible experience. I hope you’ve been able to recover from this setback. I feel it’s really important, when you have an area of negativity like that, that you find a good support system. A group of “been there” sisters. Thank you for sharing your story and know you’re not alone.


  2. This is so tough. Perhaps, if the horse went before the cart and pay equality was a given, there’d be more folks burning the candle at both ends, and so it wouldn’t burn down as fast. Just sayin’ :).


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