Sometimes I look at the eclectic group of friends I have and wonder why these relationships work. I was chatting with one of these pals yesterday. We often laugh at how different our lives are, she is an active stay-at-home mom, volunteering on every committee, staying up all hours to bake homemade cookies for her child’s classroom and making their Halloween costumes by hand. I do none of these things. Ever.
But, surprisingly, we have very similar values, they are just manifested differently. We are both committed mothers, hard workers, and feel it is critical for our children to have a sense of community. We have open and honest conversations with our kids on everything from poverty and privilege to sex. We can spend hours talking, yet our days couldn’t be more different.
But back to my friend. We were chatting and I suddenly realized something so incredibly important. She was telling me about how she will often tell people about the work she does, looking for an opportunity to vent or for advice or even just an ear to listen. This lady works HARD. She throws herself into everything she does 100%. Like me. The difference is instead of notes of thanks and accolades she often gets eye rolling and impatience. When she comments that she is tired she might get, “well then don’t take on so much” or “you did this to yourself”.
What strikes me is how, for some reason, her hard work is less valued. People see what she does as optional so therefore somehow it doesn’t matter as much. While I declare to a group that I am up all hours in order to grow my business, I get knowing looks and sympathy. My friend gets an eye roll and a comment, “they don’t need homemade cookies, you know.”
Why is this? My friend spends endless hours volunteering and we all reap the benefits. Our kids get to eat those homemade cookies she bakes! She doesn’t get paid and, most of the time, people have no idea she pulled it all together. How thankless. Yet she does it and works so hard.
There have been days when I have looked at her life and thought, “wouldn’t it be nice…” but really, would it? I see my hard work appreciated and acknowledged. Shouldn’t she have the same?