Hi, I’m Des, and I’ve been given the opportunity to guest write a few pieces. I’m the mother of a child with a chronic autoimmune disorder, a teacher, currently of special needs children, and a military wife. All of these things have given me the opportunity to come into contact with scores of people who all have something that they struggle with. I am a natural nurturer, listener, and often find myself in the role of advisor. I want to thank MCASMommy for the opportunity to share some thoughts.

This week I have been spending a lot of time thinking about worth. Finding the place where each person I know understands their worth and their value. What makes a person worthwhile? Do they have to make some sort of amazing contribution to the world, to their families, or do they just have to be a good person in order to have worth. What is our worth wrapped up in, what you do? Who you are? How you are viewed by others? Do we have intrinsic worth that we are ignoring in our quest for perfection?

“But what am I worth if I’m not able to….”
take care of my family
earn a good living
make friends easily
get dinner on the table
keep my house clean
keep my kids from fighting          …the list is endless.

You are worth love, respect, honesty, and time. YOU are worth so much more than your accomplisments. YOU are worth so much more than your contributions. YOU are worthy of being loved even if you are unable to do what you feel expected to do.

I have found that oftentimes people, especially me, extend so much more caring to others than they expect to recieve themselves. I will open my home to anyone but feel like people are put out when they open their home to me. I will answer a text or call for any reason at any time, but I won’t call even my best friends when I am having a breakdown. Why do we not allow the people around us to be as good to us, as accepting of us as we are to them? Does my husband care if I tell him that dinner is leftovers or cold cereal? No, but I feel like a failure if that is what I need to tell him. We both worked all day, he understands, it is me who puts unrealistic expectations on myself.

I remember a day, when my students at school were particularly struggling, acting out in explosive ways, and generally just exhausting. I left work feeling defeated because I could not figure out what had happened to make them feel like outbursts were their only option. As soon as I walked in the door my daughter told me that her disorder was in a flare and we needed to get to the ER. So without even getting to put both feet inside the threshold I was off again. As I’m walking out with her I have to tell my other daughter that since her Dad also had a work emergency she would have to miss her practice that night, one that was supposed to be mandatory. We get to the ER and they start treating her immediately, which of course requires multiple needles and invasive and embarressing tests. My daughter is having a full blown panic attack she has a massive fear of needles and need to privacy, trying to allow the doctors and nurses to work, because she knows they can’t help her without this information, she’s shaking and tears are covering her face. All I can do it tell her to let them do what they need to. I couldn’t help her, I couldn’t comfort her, I had abandoned her sister to yet another dinner of cold cereal, and not even remembered to tell my husband what was going on, I had failed my students, both of my children, and my husband all in the course of a few hours. I felt worthless, worse than worthless, I felt ineffective, useless, and like they would be better off with a better person doing my job.

My husband remembers this day differently. He sees a wife who despite being worn down still did everything in her power to take care of everyone in the family.

My oldest remembers a mom who loved her enough to help her through the tough things so that she could get treatment and go home faster.

My youngest remembers a fun night where she got to goof off, have ice cream for dinner, and relax.

My students and coworkers remember a teacher who didn’t allow the chaos of the day to affect the way she supported them.

How do you find your worth when you are dealing with the massive and minor roadblocks of life? For me it is reminding myself that my worth isn’t tied up in a to do list of accomplishments. If I don’t do the work of three adults, and still remember to nurture every single person I come into contact with it’s okay. Really, it’s okay. The beauty of humanity and relationships is that when one of us feels less than worthwhile there is someone else who can help us along the way. Again share your feelings, call friend, family, or a counselor, heck, even your pet if you can’t bring yourself to share in those ways. Tell them your struggles, feelings, and what is weighing you down. Allow them to prop you up when you feel lower than low. Then next time, when they are struggling you help them. Caring about yourself and others is one of the most amazing things that we are able to do as humans, and something that we can do even when everything else seems impossible.

*if you don’t feel like you have someone in real life to talk to, please reach out online, I have found some of my best support in the form of online relationships.

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