Return on Investment

1982CalculatorMoms, why is it so hard to invest in ourselves?

Is it parental guilt? A relic notion of “modesty”? A societally ingrained notion of selfishness?

Why, even in situations when the return on investment is quite obvious, does this feel so uncomfortable?

For instance, this weekend there’s a kids’ book conference, and I dilly dallied over whether or not to go. I even reached out to my writers’ circle on Facebook, seeking an impartial thumbs up or down. Their reply:

I bet you’d get a lot out of that … What is your hesitation?

What was my hesitation? The answer came down to three things.

Photo courtesy of Anna Magal, Flickr Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of Anna Magal, Flickr Creative Commons

1. Money

The conference in question costs a whopping $300.

Many of us have spent that much on a family trip to Target or a get together for friends. And don’t event get me started on house projects. (That $300 would disappear faster than you could find help at Home Depot on a Saturday.)

But put an opportunity within arm’s reach that could propel us toward our goals, and we cringe. We wish-wash. We debate.

“That sure is a lot of money for something that might not pan out anyway,” I caught myself thinking. Do I really believe that? Surely not, and certainly my everyday hard work begs to differ. Which brings me to …

2. Time

I’m guessing I’m not the only parent (or mom in particular) who’s guilty of this:

We hold ourselves accountable to an unrealistically high bar for time spent making others happy.

I’m reminded of the airplane safety message. “Put your mask on first.” In order to best serve those we love, we need to take care of ourselves. Part of that is investing in our personal goals.

It’s perhaps the strongest message we can send to our kids. “Mommy wants to do X, and she’s going to do X to make that happen.” Surely you (and I) can rally around that cause. If nothing else, do it for the children.

Snorkle Mask3. Networking

I’m a writer and a thinker, not a talker. As an introvert (like most writers), it’s uncomfortable for me to put myself in a room full people and talk about myself, my goals, and what others can do for me. It’s not my natural habitat.

I mean, come on … Have you been reading this post? I’ve been groomed to believe it’s not about me. Even to think so is unmotherly, unladylike, and just plain selfish.

But shouldn’t our lives have something to do with ourselves?

What is that thing you’ve been meaning to do, for your personal happiness and fulfillment? What’s stopping you? Should it be? This is your life. It’s relatively brief, infinitely unique, and you only get one.

Honor it. It’s worth it.

2 thoughts on “Return on Investment

  1. I think you should go if you think its worthwhile for you. Its an investment in YOU! As moms, we always seem to put ourselves last…once in a while, we need to do something for ourselves!

    1. Thank you … and I am! I’m really excited about it, too. Hopefully I’ll have some fun stuff to report. If nothing else, it’s two days of creativity and me time, which is food for the soul, right?

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