Guest Post: Self Worth – One Mom’s Personal Journey To Overcoming The Lie

***The following post was written by Geneva from the blog Cerrato Mom >


How much are you worth?  Are you measured by your looks?  Your money? Your job? Your political affiliation?

I have spent a great portion of my life feeling like I was never good enough.  I was not pretty enough. I was not smart enough. I was not bold enough. I was not making enough money.  I was not doing enough.

My struggle with self worth began when I was a young child.  I blame much of my lack of confidence on the fact that my father was not around.  And thereafter my step father was not around. I never felt like I was enough. I did not feel like I deserved love.

Then at the tender age of sixteen I fell in love.  I thought, this was it.  I found someone who was going to love me and erase all my feelings of self doubt and I would finally feel worth something.  This feeling did not last as I realized my worth was once again measured by what I could do for someone.

Fast forward nearly seven years of staying in an unhappy relationship, numbing the pain with poetry and alcohol, and I finally said enough is enough.

I met my husband.  We started a family.  And for the first time I felt like I had true purpose in life.  Being a mother is everything I ever wanted to be. But over the years I began to doubt my self worth again as I settled into my role as a ‘stay at home mom’.  The questions began to trickle in from family and friends (some innocent, some not) about when would I be returning to work? What was I going to do when the kids were older?

And so over the years I danced the dance of feeling worthless and like I am not enough.  I am raising my children, but I am not making money. Does that make me worthless?

I think not.  It has been a long time coming that I am at the place where I can say I am not worthless.  I am deserving of love. Happiness. To be content with my life and the choices I make.

I know I do not speak for ALL stay at home moms, but I think I speak for most when I say they can relate to the questions and the judgement from other people on our choice of occupation.

I was not enough as an innocent child who only wanted a loving father.

I was not enough as a lovestruck, naive girl who wanted the love of a husband.  I was not enough as a woman working hard to put him through school. I was not submissive enough.

Society now tells me I am not enough as a stay at home mom.  Society also tells working mothers that they are not doing enough for their children.  You really can’t win.

Slowly, after the birth of my third child, I have come to the realization that to society, and to those that would use you and abuse you, the problem lies with them, and not with you.

I am enough.  I have always been enough.  The love and the kindness I always try to share with people, the gentleness of my spirit, my sense of humor, my intuitiveness, my proclivity for being domestic and maternal – none of it is a mark against me.  It is all what makes me ME. It is not the summation of my worth, but it is worth something.

My worth is not contingent on what I can do for somebody or what I do for my family.  Yes, I love my children very much and I take care of them, take care of the house, and try to be a good wife to my husband.  But if I didn’t have children, if I didn’t take care of the house, my husband would still love me. And I would still be worthwhile.

And someday when my children are grown I may be working outside the home. I may not.  Does that determine my worth? I think not.

I want to close by saying to anyone that struggles with feeling worthless, or that you are not doing enough, or not making enough money, I stand with you, I have been in that place many times of feeling hopeless and burdened with doubt.  I have to tell you that you will only start to see your true worth when you let everything else go. Let go of expectations. Opinions. Judgement. Don’t let anyone take your power from you.

You know yourself.  You know what you have to offer the world.  You know your gifts and talents. You know your worth.  Start living it.  Show everyone exactly who you are and what you stand for.  

Show them how invaluable you truly are.


I want to say thank you to Geneva from Cerrato Mom for taking the time to write a thought provoking guest post for #MillennialLifeCrisis.

Geneva is a mom, a super hero, a writer, a California girl and the keeper of insights and intelligence on the incredible blog Cerrato Mom. She is one of the kindest human beings that I’ve ever met and always succeeds with providing me a new way to see the world. I sincerely hope that you’ll take a swift click over to her page and check out some of what she has to say. You won’t regret it.

Go to Cerrato Mom >

Grateful for the good.

As she opened her birthday presents at the kitchen table, my mom broke down and cried this morning. They were both tears of happiness and tears of… something more. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but seemed almost like tears of nostalgia or thankfulness.

My brother bought her plane tickets to Denmark for her birthday. He sent them to her email this morning with a note that said ‘Happy Birthday, I’ll see you in two weeks”. The significance of this is that her granddaughter was born in May and she’s been itching to get over there to meet her grand-baby ever since. So now, the woman who thought she would never ever get to travel is off to Europe for the second time in two years. It’s safe to say that made her morning, and likely day/week/year.

The other presents we gave her were much smaller in comparison. Just little things that sort of fit into her world each day. A fishing pole for her days at the lake, a new summer outfit for if it EVER gets sunny around here, a rice cooker because she always complained of never having one but was too stubborn to go buy one.

After she’d opened the presents, though, she was still crying. After she’d seen her cake, she was still in tears. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I’d asked her what was wrong.

She quite literally broke down at the kitchen table this morning, right in front of me.

‘I’m remembering my bithday last year’, she said.

‘No doubt,’ I responded, thinking she was just reflecting on what has been a difficult year for her.

‘I was so sick last year. So very sick. And I was afraid to tell anyone and I was afraid to get checked out. I really should have gotten checked out in August and not in November when I did.”

I wrapped my arms around her as she sat in the chair and said ‘It’s okay, it all worked out okay’.

She went on to say ‘When they finally did give me my diagnosis, when I finally learned what was wrong, you know you go through that moment, that… ‘Am I going to make it to my next birthday’ frame of mind. And now I’m here and it’s so incredible and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself how incredible it feels and to tell myself it’s all going to be okay.’

See, she had never told anyone in my family that she was feeling sick until November. So this morning was a bit of a revelation for us. We may not always get along (rarely, actually) and we definitely don’t ever see eye to eye, but I’ve got an immense amount of pride in my heart for the woman. My mother is the strongest woman that I know. She started down cancer and she won. Now she’s here to celebrate a birthday, but also conquering the past twelve months.

And honestly, this birthday, I’m reminded how grateful I am that she’s still here, too. Now I’ve got to teach her how to pack for two weeks in Europe in only a carry-on bag. Send help! lol

Happy Birthday, Mom. (I know she doesn’t know about this blog, so writing that on here is more for sentiment than anything else, but I wanted it to be said) Here’s to many more bithdays ahead.

Grateful for the Warriors

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms with babies in arms, moms with babies in heaven, mom’s who are struggling to conceive, adopted moms, step moms, dads who are mom and moms at heart. We see you. We appreciate you.

*The above was written by my friend Amanda. I stole it because it adequately explains the sentiment in my heart on a day like today.

My mom’s pretty sick today. She’s been having a rough weekend all around. Her last day of treatments was Friday – we’re not really sure if her body is struggling because it was her last day, or if it was a stronger treatment or what, but she’s been in bed most of the weekend. That being said, she’s happy. And that’s what matters. She’s a warrior. The true warrior of 2019 and beyond.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you and I am so thankful for you. Here’s to many more years of Mother’s Day ahead.

Life after cancer.

Tonight, I am once again reminded why my mother has the biggest heart of anyone that I know.

Tomorrow is her (fingers crossed) last chemotherapy treatment. She’s been talking about it for weeks. And, though it’s been a pretty freaking miserable process for her the past few months, we were very lucky that her cancer was caught early, and that (fingers crossed) she’ll go into complete remission and we’ll never have to deal with cancer again.

Anyways, I digress.

After spending a few hours at Starbucks tonight, with a friend of mine, I returned home to find that my mother had gone to bed even earlier than usual. An hour earlier than normal. When I asked my dad if she was alright (being worried that she’d gone to bed so early) he said that she was tired from all of the baking she’d done.

What?

Oh yeah. My mom, with the help of my dad, baked lemon pie tarts for the staff of the cancer clinic. She plans to give them to all of the staff tomorrow when she goes in for her last treatment.

Atop the container filled with lemon tarts, she’d taped a note. The envelope says ‘Thank You’. Me, being the nosey daughter that I am, had to open it to read the note.

Here’s how it reads.

Thank You.

Thank you to each and every one of you [she names the staff members, doctors and nurses who’ve helped her the past few months] for helping me, for taking me on my worst day, at my lowest moment and making me feel better. Thank you for wiping away my tears, talking away my fears and for treating me as good, if not better, then you would treat your own family members.

It’s because of the incredible kindness of each of you hat I am here, that I have the opportunity for full recovery, that I get to be one of the lucky ones.

Thank you. It’s because of you that I’ve got a second chance. You’ve given me my life back, and I can’t stop thinking about all of the Christmas and Birthday celebrations that I’ll get to be a part of with my children and grandchildren now, thanks to you. Every moment, every celebration, it will matter that much more than it ever did before.

I am eternally grateful for all that you’ve done for me. And, I really hope that you take this a good way when I say that I hope I never have to visit here ever again.

Sincerely,

[Mom’s name]

I most definitely had an ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying’ moment when I read it. I resealed the envelope and taped it back to the container as to not let her know that anyone touched it.

Tomorrow is her final chemotherapy treatment (if all goes according to plan). I’m feeling grateful, and thankful that she now gets to start thinking about life after cancer. I know not everyone gets that lucky. And, from the note I read, it sounds like she’s already begun planning her life after cancer… which in itself makes me extremely happy.

A day in the life of an unemployed millennial.

I’ve been unemployed since December 31, 2018. I was fired, without cause (legally speaking). It’s actually a bit of a story that I, at one point, had posted on this blog but took down. Regardless of details, here goes:

8:15 am – Wake up.

8:20 am – Drink BCAAs and cook eggs for breaky.

8:45 – 9:45 am – Some time during this period I will drive my mom to the cancer clinic. The time she begins her treatment depends entirely on what the doctor has scheduled so it is different each morning.

~ Sit with mom at cancer clinic, through appointments with Doctor and Nurse Practioners.

12:00 pm – Return home from cancer clinic. Make Lunch for myself, my mom and my dad (if he’s off work that day)

1:00 pm – Do dishes. My mom usually goes to nap at this time, so I am left with some freedom to pick up around the house, or watch Gilmore Girls. Usually it’s a bit of both.

2:00 pm – My Mom’s awake and now in her ‘cancer won’t get me down’ kind of mood, determined to go out into the world and do something. So I will take her out to run her errands, or wander around the mall. Just something to get her out into the world that doesn’t take place at the hospital.

4:00 – 5:00 pm – This is my sacred hour. During this hour I’ll look at/update my blog or head out on my own and just wander, decompress and calm myself.

5:00 pm – Start cooking dinner. Eat Dinner. Clean up Dinner. Do dishes.

6:30 pm – Help my Mom with various things.

7:30 pm – My Mom usually crawls into bed. I’ll take the dog for a walk, or watch Jeopardy. Or both.

8:30 pm – Sit down at computer and start looking for jobs online. Send my resume off for positions that don’t sound sucky or shitty. A lot of times I’ll send my resume off for positions that do sound suck or shitty as well. I’ll also respond to emails at this time, browse wordpress a little more and, play Clash Royale, watch TV or do something mindless and easy.

12:30 am – Go to bed.

Of course, not every day is the same. But, it’s a lot of just helping my mom at this time. She needs all the help she can get, lately. And, luckily for her, she has a lot of support from myself, my brother and my father. Cancer will do that to a family, though. I admire anyone who’s been through cancer with someone in their family. It’s a lot of hard work both for the person suffering and for the person looking after them.

Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, she should have a status of being in remission in just a few short weeks. I’m looking forward to her being healthy again, because I know she wants to go back to enjoying life and not feeling so sick all of the time.

I also think that soon enough, when she’s healthy and starts enjoying life again, perhaps things will change for me, too. I’m looking forward to going back to work. I’m looking forward to not having to worry so much. I’m just looking forward to life calming down a little bit.

This became a lot longer than I wanted too. People say that I’m the ultimate cliche because I am an unemployed millennial. I think, though, that’s what happens when you judge a book by it’s cover. Or perhaps I am normal and this is normal. Either way, the most important thing to me at this point in time is that my mom gets healthy again.

That’s all.

Wow. Okay.

My mom’s been in a bit of a bad mood for the past few months. In general she’s always been more of a bubbly person in nature, but when she received her diagnosis late last year, it was almost as though a darkness came out in her.

It’s definitely been something that my family has been trying hard to deal with, and to understand. I mean, I’ve never battled cancer but I’d like to think that if I had to, people would allow me to feel exactly how I wanted. So, for that reason, we’ve kind of just… let her be.

I’ve noticed though, that the times in which she crosses the line seem to be happening more and more as of late. And I’m put in this horrible position of trying to put her in her place, or letting it go, knowing what she’s just said or done is completely not okay but she’s battling cancer and it’s taking it’s toll on her.

This morning my brother, Aaron, called to ask her if she and my dad would come to his baby shower. His girlfriend is expecting their first child and her due date is in late June. Instead of just saying ‘Aaron, I am unable to come’, her response was ‘I’m not going to a baby shower before the baby is born because I don’t even know if that baby is going to live or not’.

Harsh, right?

Little bit.

My brother is about to become a dad for the first time in his life, I think of all of the things that are running through his head at this point in time, the last thing he needs to be worrying about is miscarriage. Especially this late in the pregnancy.

And don’t get me wrong. I understand that miscarriages happen. I do. And I understand that they still happen late in pregnancy. I get that. I just don’t think it’s appropriate to put that thought in the mind of a first-time-father. He shouldn’t have to be worrying about whether or not his baby is going to survive. There’s enough for him to be worried about right now.

I just really wish she hadn’t said that. Aaron is someone that I know personally has suffered from anxiety in his life and I worry now that he’s going to anxiously worry about this for the rest of his girlfriend’s pregnancy. I worry that he’s going to keep that thought in the back of his mind as he patiently awaits the birth of his first child – something that really didn’t need to be there and really shouldn’t be there.

We all understand that miscarriages happen. That doesn’t mean that you need to fill that thought in first-time-parent’s heads as they get ready to have their baby.

The whole situation has completely dumbfounded me. Why would she do this? When I talked to her when she got off the phone, my mother’s response was ‘I had two miscarriages, so it’s time they wake up and smell the realities of life.’ I really don’t think she understands at all what she just said.

All he wanted to do was invite her to a baby shower.

Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything to her. Perhaps I just should ignore the entire situation completely. I’m just of the belief that there are some things that, especially for an anxious mind, do you know good to be thinking about until they happen, if they even happen at all. Miscarriages are a very real reality for pregnant women, I get that, but I also think there’s a certain amount of decorum one should show with respect to the subject.

I tried calling Aaron after I spoke to my mom. I think he’s just pissed off and stewing right now. All he said was ‘It’s fine. She just needs to focus on getting better, I guess’. Clearly he’s taken the route of just ignoring that it happened. Or trying to ignore that it happened, at least.

#FUCKCANCER

You know that question that people ask when you’re bored, ‘if you were to win the lottery tomorrow, what would you spend your money on’? I asked that to my grandpa one day (when he was around) and he gave me an answer that has stuck with me ever since. Further to that, not only did I love and appreciate his answer, I have adopted it myself for when I get asked variations of the above question.

‘I would donate at least half,’ he said.

‘What would you donate the money towards?’ I asked.

‘Medical school tuition fees. Every single person in this world will need a doctor at one point or another, and, if you’re one of those people with the courage and determination to become a doctor, you should never be turned away for fear of paying for your education. Making more doctors benefits everyone.”

I remember being so dumbfounded and impressed when he said that to me. It made so much sense. Doctor’s benefit everyone. Whether they’re practitioners or researches, doctors push our planet forward and they help keep us healthy and safe, which is something my family has needed quite a bit of lately.

Late last year my mom was hit with a lot of exhaustion. She kept catching cold’s and it seemed like when she was getting sick, she couldn’t shake it. Ultimately, she and my dad made the decision that she was going to retire. She wanted to spend more time with my dad, and, felt as though if she wasn’t working so hard she might not be so exhausted all of the time.

She retired on November 30th.

On December 14th she went into the hospital emergency. I won’t explain why, as it’s very much TMI for this story. But, she needed to go to the hospital. Within 48 hours she had exploratory surgery.

On December 19 she was given the results of her exploratory surgery. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. It had been caught exceptionally early. The doctors were praising her for advocating so strongly for herself that something was wrong.

She was scheduled for a hysterectomy on January 8th. The surgery went well. She spent four days in the hospital following the surgery to recover and she was sent home to continue her recovery. Part of the treatment plan for my mom was that she complete five weeks of radiation therapy treatments as a precautionary treatment.

Throughout this entire process, it has been doctor’s who’ve gone above and beyond to make sure that my mom is okay. As she broke down in tears in the doctors office when she was given her diagnosis, it was her doctor who promised her a treatment plan that would allow her to recover and enjoy her retirement with her husband. When she went into surgery, it was doctors who instilled in her the warrior mentality that she was going to get through this, all she had to do was fight.

There’s been an incredible team of doctors and nurses (I can’t forget about the nurses because they’ve been incredible too) looking after my mom every step of the way and for that, I am so thankful.

Honestly, I believed in the value of doctors long before this ever happened. But now, more so than ever before, I believe that an investment in doctors and future doctors is something that benefits us all. Even if you don’t get sick, even if you think you have no use for them – you love someone in this world and they will need a doctor.

If I ever win the lottery, I am donating half of it to tuition for medical school students.

The world benefits when we have more doctors and when we have more informed doctors.

Also, #FUCKCANCER. My mom is a warrior.