More Than Your Accomplishments

Addie's Mother's Day gift for me

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to achieve something, anything, everything. It was my goal to dream big and do great things. “Make a difference,” I was taught in high school. “Make waves and great changes,” I was told in college.

But now, even after working my butt off to accomplish what I thought would make me happy, I sit in my daughters’ playroom with the lights dimmed as my three-month-old naps and I think, where do my accomplishments figure in my everyday life?

Does it matter how many years I taught? How many articles I’ve written? Or even (the closest to my heart), how many books I’ve had published? It doesn’t. I don’t carry my accomplishments around with me and flash them whenever my little ones want my attention. I don’t tell them to listen to me because I have interviewed several experts on parenting. And I don’t think my husband loves me more because I know when to use the right preposition.

As I was reading Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford, several things struck me but what floored me was when she said: Do not let her think she is only worth her accomplishments.

And I wanted to cry.

Because at that point, the little girl was me. The child. The teenager. The mother. Who measures her worth in what she has achieved. Not in kindness, love, happiness, caring, or honesty. But in awards, positions, acclaim.

And I realized that at the end of the day, when I’m 80 and my daughters bring their children over to my house to play, my grandchildren won’t be angling to sit next to me because I’m a published author or a celebrated teacher. They will want to sit next to me because they know I love them, because I will listen to them, because I want to be with them.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still strive and try to fulfill my dreams. I know I still have several books inside me begging to be written. But a shift of perspective is in order.

I am worth so much more than what I can do.

What matters is who I am and how I treat and love the people around me. That is how I want to measure my worth and how I want my daughters to measure theirs.

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  1. So true, Ines! I couldn’t agree more. During late nights at the office when I’d be feeling my work life has taken over my whole life (!), I’d always tell myself: Being number one won’t matter when I’m 80; but having loved others and shared meaningful relationships will. I’m proud of my past “traditional” accomplishments myself, but I find that my happiest moments have little to do with awards and accolades 🙂 My mother and sisters have accomplished so much more than I have, and yet when I think of how much I admire and love them, I don’t see their diplomas and medals either. I see them spending time with me, teaching me, loving me. I hope Maia grows up appreciating this.

    Kudos to you, Tricia, and Treena for starting this blog. We all know a motherhood blog is more than just a blog. Was thinking just the other day–how come Ines doesn’t have a mom blog yet? Someone who writes so well and loves motherhood so much MUST have a blog! 🙂

    • Thanks, Mi!!! It’s something I was struggling with till I realized that I need to remember what matters most 🙂 hugs!

      And I’m only doing this blog because of Treena and Tricia. If not for them, I’d just be writing in my journal hahahaha!

  2. Very insightful, Manang! Thank you for a very important reminder…to strive to be kinder, more caring, gentler in dealing with others especially love ones. A reminder that achievements and feathers-on-the-cap are not substantial measures of a person’s worth. Looking forward to more articles, Manang!

  3. So so true Ines! And you know what, even in high school, you were one of those people you just knew was a good solid human, even without spending a ton of time with them 🙂 I’m bookmarking this blog! I need all the motherhood advice I can get! 🙂

    • Hahaha! I love that, Joey!!! Good solid human 🙂 you too definitely! And we’re all learning about this parenting thing every single day. I don’t think even the experts really know everything about it. But we just have to do our best. Sigh. Hugs!

  4. I’ve been guilty of comparing myself (unfavorably) to a lot of stay-at-home moms who seem to be so happy focusing solely on home and family on their plates. My previous hypothesis was that my desire to accomplish things outside of motherhood is a “hangover” from my previously accomplishment-oriented life.
    Then I realized I was gravitating towards my personal ideal of motherhood, which is my mom of course—a widow who ran her own international management consultancy firm, (quite randomly) decided to take up gold mining in Mindanao, and raised two kids while somehow managing to be loving, nurturing and fun. She never got any awards for her career choices, it was just how she put food on our table, because she had to.
    After a while, I began to realize that it wasn’t what or how much my mom did, but who she was and how she was being as she did all that, that I wanted to be like. And that wasn’t a consultant or president, but fearless, instinctive, strong and basically (to me anyway) just amazing. Gulp. No pressure, right? 😀
    Congratulations on the new blog, Ines! Look forward to reading more.

    • Hey, Deepa! I think it’s amazing that you have such a wonderful role model 🙂 plus all those mom-azing genes are in you! (Got “mom-azing” from Barbie haha! All I get to watch nowadays!) but you’re so right – it’s really how we live that matters. Something I have to remind myself each and every day!!!!