I’m just a mom. I just stay at home. I’m just a preschool teacher. I have just enough money to make it work.
Sound familiar? If not, good for you! But if you’re like most of us, there’s one nasty little word that creeps into our minds and vocabularies far more than it should: just.
The word itself is innocuous enough – but the self-perception behind it isn’t. Using the word “just” as an adjective belittles what you do, the efforts that you make, and your own contributions.
Stay-at-home moms are not “just” moms. First of all, moms do amazing things. Not only are you responsible for keeping people alive – literally – you are also most likely the chef, the planner, the chauffer, the cleaning lady, the class chaperone, your home’s social committee, and countless other functions.
Maybe you’re working outside the home, but not actively climbing the career ladder you could be higher on so that you can balance life while contributing financially. You are not “just” your position. You are helping to support your family, you are contributing directly to the economy, you are modeling for your children a strong leader who can manage multiple facets of life.
We will always wish we could do more. There will always, seemingly, be something that we feel we could or should be doing, but for one reason or another aren’t. And that’s ok, because truth is, we can have it all, but we can’t always do it all! There’s a reason “comparison is the thief of all joy” is so well known; because it applies to everyone and holds so much truth.
Don’t compare what you do or what you have to someone else: What you see is only an outward projection of what they’re allowing to show. It’s not even that the grass is always greener – it’s that the other grass doesn’t matter.
I challenge you to drop the word “just” from your vocabulary for one week and check in with yourself at the end of the week. I’m willing to bet that you feel at least a bit more capable and prouder of what you do – regardless of what that is.
And while your own self-perception and self-worth are always most valuable, you aren’t the only person who will be affected. Your kids are learning from you – even in the moments you think they aren’t paying attention. When you drop the word “just,” they, too, will grow in their pride and respect for you.
It’s hard to believe that one word can hold so much power – especially one that seems so innocent – but it does.
You are many things, but “just” is not one of them.