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Rachel East

Hey JoAnn,

I think that many of us with parents or grandparents who grew up in the Great Depression can relate to this money mindset! It’s amazing, when you think about it, just how many people inherited a fear mentality or scarcity mentality around money after such a big, catastrophic cultural event. It goes to show that these beliefs aren’t personal; they’re just very powerful messages that get passed down over the years.

I think it’s pretty ironic (not to mention mean) that you weren’t encouraged to “go to college or be anything” as a kid, but that you were simultaneously made fun of for saying, as a teen, that you one day hoped to be a good wife and mother. It sounds like you couldn’t get it “right,” regardless of what you did or didn’t do!

And I think there’s great value in you taking great care of your family and keeping things running smoothly. If that’s where you find the most joy, then that’s awesome! And I agree, I think there’s definitely a CDF in there somewhere. Words like “Nurture” and “Home” come to mind, for me.

So, I’m definitely going to push back on you saying, “I wish I could work part time so I could have time to do everything I like to do but I don’t feel worthy of that. I feel like I should have to contribute to the financial needs of the household too.” It sounds to me like you’re equating worth to financial value; like what you have to offer isn’t as “valuable” as cold, hard cash. And honestly, that’s a way that people (particularly women) consistently undervalue themselves.

Sure, money is necessary and valuable. But so, too, is someone who supports people’s physical and emotional needs. Who creates a great environment for people to thrive in. Who attends to and balances a lot of needs so that everyone can be their best. How do you even place a value on that?? Again, I think our society tends to put more emphasis on traditionally masculine traits, or “hard” skills. So, we value numbers and metrics (things you can easily count and define, like money) and undervalue more traditionally feminine traits or “soft skills” (things like nurturing, good communication, and empathy).

So, bottom line, I think you feeling worthy of working less and being at home more starts with you redefining how you, and your family measures “worth” in the first place, and acknowledging that what you have to offer is just as (if not more) valuable, even if it’s not as easily measured as cold hard dollars! Let me know what you think! 🙂