Monday, May 11, 2009

Healthy Self Esteem: A Mom's Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

Soon after our first daughter was born, I would cry to my husband, "I'm too selfish to be a mom!!!" Although I fell madly in love with my child at first sight, the moment reality set in, my healthy ego took one look around and said, "HUH????!!! What the ----? Up all night? Wading in pee, poop and spit up all day? Catering 24/7 to an utterly helpless, totally dependent human creature? This is SO NOT WORKING FOR ME!!!!"

I've always had a pretty strong self esteem, especially as an adult. Chalk it up to a loving family who always cheered me on (damn them!) or being a first-born overachiever, but I've always felt pretty confident in myself and felt worthy of everything I had and wanted to have. I suppose it's the impetus of this blog -- if we don't speak up for ourselves who will? And while that healthy self esteem has generally been a helpful tool in my personal arsenal, it's not been terribly useful as a mom, which is the most gut-wrenching, soul-sucking, ego-takes-a-back-seat, everyone else-comes-before-me kind of job.

But recently I read a couple of posts that made me appreciate my strong ego a bit more. One post (which I would link to, but I swear it disappeared off the face of the Internet) suggested that sticking up for ourselves and showing that we have a healthy respect for ourselves helps to set the standard for how our loved ones treat us. If we think highly of ourselves and we show that our lives, opinions and feeling are of value, we will in turn teach our husbands and our children to respect us. And then this great Mother's Day post from newsweek.com suggests that a healthy sense of self worth is like having a "mommy in your mind" -- it helps to nurture our souls so that we can have empathy and compassion for others.

What do you think? A healthy self-esteem -- friend or foe?
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1 comment:

ferrin said...

Of course, a healthy self-esteem is perfect for raising a child or children.