One Woman’s Value

Elderly woman in yellow shirt and braids
Mom bright and sunny today

How do we measure value? I don’t mean value in the sense of cost, the cost of bread or ear buds. I mean personal value, self-value. What do you deserve? Can we even quantify personal value? Or, let’s get gender specific. Can we quantify a woman’s value? What about a mother’s value? Theoretically, it’s simple. Everyone will agree that mothers rule! But do we demonstrate in action to our mothers how much they truly mean to us? This question occurs to me as I watch my mother.

Today has been hard. I want to explain why I choose to label today as hard, but it is far more complicated than that.  It isn’t hard for me, so much. But it is hard for her. Some days are actually quite good and she wakes with some semblance of energy and moves about tending to her small chores. She feeds her dog and puts birdseed on the porch for the pigeons and sparrows. She checks her own sugar and writes the number on a calendar on the wall in the bathroom.

Elderly woman at park talking
Mom at the park

I have left chores for her, so she can feel her value. Although, I don’t measure her by what she does, she does measure herself that way. She often frets that she is not helping me. Not putting the laundry in the machine or washing the dishes. Such ordinary chores. What she does do for me she cannot even see. And I couldn’t explain it to her without drowning in guilt and shame.

I tell her, “You are my mom. I love you. You may not remember all that you have done for me, but I do.” I can never repay what she has done for me. Yet, when I think of my own children I feel like they don’t owe me anything. Isn’t that odd? That I, too, don’t feel like I deserve for my children to put their lives on pause for me, to escort me out of this reality. So, I suppose that is why she feels like she should be doing something for me.

How little we women value ourselves.

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