Thursday, May 13, 2010

perception...

 
This has been a word that keeps going around in my mind of late.  Coincidentally, I have had numerous conversations recently with loads of different women and the topic of perception just keeps coming up.  How we are viewed by others, work colleagues, friends, family members, other mums.  It's funny how we perceive people, the reality is, we are seeing someones world through completely different eyes & in most cases we are all living the same daily challenges  that being a mum, homemaker, employee, employer faces. 
I remember going on staff retreats with work & doing the whole team building self awareness & development thing.  I remember one time in particular when I was so overwhelmed by the way my colleagues perceived me & my abilities.  It brought me to tears & really made me take a look at myself, to view myself in a more positive light & to give myself a break!  To me, it was like they were viewing a different person entirely.  I was amazed at who they thought I was, this confident, successful, caring & generous person!  It's so nice to hear that occasionally, that you are great at what you do and people recognise those very special traits we are often too self critical to acknowledge ourselves.
I look at other women sometimes & think admiringly, "God how does she do it!?" meanwhile, my perception is that she is looking at me and thinking "Oh my god, lady get it together!".  I know we can all be very hard on ourselves most of the time, but the fact is we all think and feel the same way & we are all doing a really good job!  
It's nice to meet people & talk about the highs & lows of parenthood.  To reassure one another that there are times when we all feel as though we are barely keeping our heads above water & other times when life is just a pure & simple joy.
The most profound realisation came over me just the other day...for the first time in 8 years, since I began maternity leave to have my first child,  I no longer feel the need to justify being a full time Mum & home maker!  I have always felt that there is no greater job in the world than being a parent & raising a family of good, honest, loving, considerate,independent & well adjusted people!  My husband & I decided from the beginning that we would be prepared to make the sacrifices necessary for our kids to have one of us at home at least until they all reach school age.  While this was a decision that we were very sure about, sadly I always felt I needed to justify myself because I wasn't contributing financially, that it wasn't really considered by others to be a real job & a valuable use of time (or so I thought was how I was perceived). 
You know, as the years roll on, I feel I'm getting better & better at my 'job', and now that I have finally let go of the need to justifying my life for the sake of what I think others might perceive me to be, I'm going to enjoy it a whole lot more too!  I absolutely love my life.  I love that I am a mother, wife and homemaker.  I feel blessed every single day that I have been lucky enough to do this full time.  Yes, it's a challenge most of the time, dealing with very demanding little personalities all day, but it's all worth it, the fun times far out way the hard.  For us, it comes down to simplifying, wanting less, getting back to the basics of good old fashioned family living. 
And so in conclusion to this ramble which has taken on a whole other dimension since beginning it, I am going to be sure to let all the other gorgeous hardworking mum's I am surrounded by know just how great a job they are doing too... 

19 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post. It's something I have been thinking a lot about lately too. It's amazing how we can build up ideas of what others are thinking of us without ever asking what they really think. If only general conversation and everyday life came with a comment button! (ps I think you are pretty damn good at your job too!)

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  2. Good on you for this!! Perception is reality, it's soooo true, which is why some people think you're awesome, others are jealous, it's THEIR problem not yours. I did a psych degree, handy when you have 4 children in 4 years, but i found people would ask me questions about being a stay at home mum, mother of twins, mother of many, breastfeeding, you name it - it all came from their own judgement on themselves, the need to compare (if they were jealous or feeling inadequate) or genuine happiness that you could do it & do it well!! I've given up caring what others think as my children are old enough to be the only ones i try to impress with a well rounded wholesome attitude to everything from what goes into their heads & bellies to how i balance them, with my work, my husband (or lack of husband as he's away so much) & keeping a happy household. What anyone else thinks, well i was raised never seeking approval, my parents just gave me the right amount of love & attention to be super confident in every aspect of my life. That is the kind of parent i want to be too!! Love Posie

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  3. yay! for doing what you want to do.....It wasn't until I had my daughter that i really realised what i wanted to do and gave up the job i hated working for the fat cats to do what i really loved , looking after her and pursuing creative endeavours.....if your happy the child is happy .....
    say it loud and say it pround.

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  4. Couldn't agree with you more. Perception may be how other's see you, but it may not always be how you see yourself - your intent and how you feel about yourself is what counts. The easiest lessons in life, seem to be the hardest to learn. Loving ourselves, accepting our lives, removed of guilt and second guessing is really the ultimate lesson in life. Sounds like you've got that nailed!

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  5. Great post!! I really enjoyed reading this and I think you articulated really well a subject that is so relevant to alot of us mums. How liberating to be able to say with confidence that you are happy & proud of what you do, and who you are. Thanks for this thought provoking post, I'd say more but I'm so tired after looking after sick kids and having a crazy busy day that I'm a little incoherant!! Sleep well, lovely you x

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  6. Fabulous post Mel, you've really hit the nail on the head there. Perceptions of others and how we think others perceive us can differ so greatly the the realistic picture. Congratulations on reaching comfortableness about being a stay at home mum, I know that is my grand aspiration in life and there is no 'just' about staying at home and caring for your family, while financial contributions are unfortunately somewhat necessary, the emotional contributions you are providing your family are priceless and invaluable and something that will be appreciated for a lifetime.

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  7. Such a great post - mums perceptions of other mums can be wonderful and harmful - there should be more of just being comfortable and less judging. Plus, as you know, it's bloody hard (but very rewarding) work "just" being a mum and homemaker!! Nic x

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  8. It's like you wrote that just for me, I too am a stay at home Mom and I have been accused of even being lazy for this sacrifice from some of my sister-n-laws! We also made the commitment of me quitting and staying home just like my Mom! I think a stay at home Mom has the hardest job in the world and the most rewarding!!!! I love it but don't get me wrong I have my cry baby days too! What a wonderful post! My other beef is Know it all Moms In one ear and out the other!!!!

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  9. What a great post Mel! I am not yet a mumma but I have girlfriends that are - and this is something they have discussed with me... I think I'll point them in the direction of your blog! My hubby and I have talked about this too, and we have decided we'd like to have one of us at home for our kids full-time too... it's great to hear your positive thoughts on the subject - GO YOU!!

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  10. Such a great post. It resonated so much with me. I haven't made a proper "financial" contribution to the family in almost 2 years now and I often get very stressed about this, although my husband and I feel the very best we can give is having one of us stay home with the children. So much of my struggle comes from what I think our friends and peer group must think of me (as I am one of the first 'mums' and the only one who hasn't gone back to work). It's inspirational and comforting to know there are women (and men) who are strong in their convictions and decisions to stay at home and who lead by example, like you! Lots of love for the weekend. xo m.

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  11. Mel, you bring me to tears!
    we don't have to justify what we do to anyone but ourselves.
    it is more than a full time job being a mother, wife and homemaker.
    I was interrupted before I began reading your post by my 3 having a hair pulling episode.
    It was really lovely to then come back later and read your words.
    we all do it hard, we all have great times.
    we probably do all judge others when we shouldn't.
    we really need to support and look deeper into each and every life. cause you just never know what challenges others are facing in their days, nights, and lives.

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  12. What a lovely post. Good for you for owning your role in your life...say it loud and proud sista! You are one of those people who others look at and say "how does she do it all...she's amazing!" (you just don't always know it :)...that's okay cause all your bloggy friends are hear to remind you!).

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  13. It's taken me forever to stand tall and say I am a 'Mum'. And because I am self employed and occasionally have ridiculously busy times I am easily able to hide behind 'graphic designer'. The thing is, I would much rather my kids have the perception that I am a valid and valuable member of society because of the work I do as a Mum. Not for the time I spend looking at the space between the letters of a logotype.

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  14. WOW to come across your blog and this posting on a day when Mummy bashing has been a hot topic - how refreshing to read your thoughts.
    Yeah to all of us Mummies xxx

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  15. Don't know if you have read it but Yarn Harlot had a post about being a working woman and perceptions about that recently ... As long as it works for your family, to hell with everyone else.

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  16. Great post! Our self-perception is so easily warped. My friend who runs a careers site reckons the best way to write an application for a job is to get a colleague to write it for you. They'll always see the best in you, in surprising ways, while we don't always see it ourselves.

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  17. Fab post, Mel. You totally nailed my thinking too. x

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  18. This is just so lovely to read. It is nearly 7 years since I finished full time work to start my first maternity leave.

    I was complimented yesterday on the manners and outlook and confidence of one of my children. I found myself shrugging, saying "That's my job". It was quite a nice feeling.....

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  19. Oh, wow, Mel. Brilliant post. I have had a similar one brewing away in my head for months. My battle with perception is ongoing and tiring. It sounds like you're in a great space now - I'm so pleased for you. J x

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