Figuring out my net worth

This afternoon we go to see our accountant.  We’re doing our 2010 taxes.  I spent yesterday afternoon organizing a few papers to take with us.  As a small business owner, I’m responsible to track my own income and pay taxes on it.  I put off totaling how much I made in 2010 until the last moment.  I knew it would be lower since I’m working fewer hours while taking care of my kiddo.

Oh, man.  Looking at that number is harsh.  It’s at least half of what I used to make.  It’s easy to feel depressed about that.  Our society places so much value on our net worth.  I struggle sometimes as I compare what I make and how hard I work to what certain folks in my life make.

In the past, I reconciled my income by the fact that I was doing what I love.  I’m still doing what I love.  But, I’m doing it less than before.  It’s just the facts as I’m also raising a child.

Along with my freelance writing and editing work, 2010 was a busy year.

  • I kept a child well fed first with my own milk and then with solid food that I prepared for her.
  • I cheered on a child who went from rolling to crawling to walking.
  • I changed countless diapers to keep a child happy and free from diaper rash.
  • I played silly games to keep her laughing.  (We’re playing peek-a-boo as I type right now, in fact.)
  • I read books hundreds of times over and over because she loves that most.
  • I helped a child learn to start saying her first words and now she won’t stop talking.
  • I bathed a child to keep her clean.

My daughter and I making one of our many priceless memories during 2010 celebrating her first birthday in October.

None of these things are all that grand by themselves.  And none of these things are unique to me.  Millions of mothers around the world do these things.  Generations of mothers before and after me will do these things.  We work hard to make our children happy.  We work hard to give them the best we can.  We offer love and support.  We offer a shoulder to cry on.  We offer a lap to snuggle in.  We offer our entire beings to our children.  We give so much. And we get so much.

Here is what I earned in return for all my hard work.

  • Sweet snuggles with my baby girl.
  • My first baby kisses.
  • The sound of her laughter that makes my heart swell with joy.
  • The smell of her clean hair right after a bath.
  • The sound of her saying my name and starting to communicate with me.
  • The feel of coming into my own as a mother as the newness wore off.
  • Shared looks of amazement with my husband as we watched our baby girl grow into a little girl.
  • The sound of her reading her books in her own language and singing her own made-up songs.

My income of love was even greater.  I may not have set any monetary income records.  I may not be able to afford a new Rolls Royce, but I earned quite a bit in 2010 if I go beyond what the IRS sees.  I’ve got an income so much greater than my accountant will even realize.  My mommy income is priceless.

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