I am a stay at home mom, and no matter how many catchy little emails get forwarded into my inbox telling me that my job costs $100,000 a year to hire out (nannies, cab service, maid, etc) I still bring nothing in. I may very well save money, but I do not earn money. And I am accutely aware of this fact. My husband provides for the family, I just clean up after it.
Some part of me, no matter how feminist I try to get about marriage being an equal partnership and me being a stay at home mother, not a housewife, still feels like I have to be a martyr in order to earn my keep. I mean, let's face it, emotional pain and trauma aside, the family could survive a lot better without me than without Tom. I could be replaced with a case of baby formula and a day care; Tom pays the bills and he parents. So, to defend my existence and expense, I over compensate. I bake and I (at least attempt to) cook, I sew, I wear old clothes with holes and I don't ask for new. Part of this is because I actually like baking and sewing, but part of it is because if I'm not going to earn money the least I can do is try not to hemorrhage it either. To tell the truth, the bra I'm wearing right now is 13 years old and expense is a big part of the reason I decided to let my hair color go natural. But also, I hold out eternal hope that one day somebody will appreciate all that I did that went unappreciated. Sadly, the thing about being an unsung hero is that you often remain unsung. How many early Christians were crucified and they're not the ones we think of when we see a cross. Not all martyrs are remembered.