Thursday, January 23, 2020

Invest in Yourself by Trista Hendren

Paiting by Leticia Isabel Banegas Gomez

I have watched a lot of women spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of jeans or makeup to look better for a certain guy—but then hesitate to spend money on something that would actually make their lives better.

Needless to say, this frustrates me immensely.

Even if you don't have a dime to spend on anything, your time and energy are also assets. When women stop giving so much of themselves away to men, they will have more time, energy and money to spend on themselves. Daphne Rose Kingma wrote that, “Everything worth having costs something, and the price of true love is self-knowledge. Becoming acquainted with yourself is a price well worth paying.”

Some of us are not even aware of how we spend our time and our money, which is why I think calendars and budgeting are important. Make sure to schedule time for yourself into your calendar too—and time to be with other women.

We can reinvest how we spend our time. Instead of doing laundry, cooking and cleaning house for the men in our lives, we can support single mothers and elderly women in our communities. Don't you worry—I guarantee you there is not an able-bodied  man alive who can't figure out how to do these things himself, especially when it involves food. Moses Seenarine wrote that: “Women are responsible for household food preparation in 85-90 percent in a wide range of countries. Neoliberal cyborg capitalism is profitable only due to their exploitation of unpaid female labor in household production and in their reproduction of workers. Unpaid care work would constitute between 10 and 50 per cent of GDP if it was assigned a monetary value.”(93)

I love my husband and my son, but they both do their own laundry, dishes and vacuuming. I expect them to do their fair share around the house—without being asked. That is what living in a community—as a family—means.

We have subverted the idea of family to where the wife/mother/women/daughters do all the work in the home—and the men control all the money from their higher paid employment.

Females are bred to be slaves around the world—both at home and in our so-called paid positions. It can be rewarding to be a caregiver, but there are tremendous costs to consider that will likely never be recouped. I cared for 3 of my grandparents while they were dying. I wouldn't trade that for anything. That said, when my money ran out and I needed help, there was little to be found.

The same goes for taking care of children. I will likely never recover from my years as a single mother. And not only does the pay gap widen with each child you have, you also have significantly less available in retirement, where women are also extremely vulnerable.(94)

Contrary to what they told us, women cannot have it all. Life is quite often not for the faint of heart. It requires tough choices and sacrifices. You must actively decide how you want to spend your time and money going forward. Whatever time you invest now in deciding what sort of life you want will pay off ten-fold later. The investments you make in yourself will change the entire world.

An excerpt from How to Live Well Despite Capitalist Patriarchy


93 Seenarine, Moses. Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's Domestication of Women and Animals and Female Resistance. Xpyr Pres; 2017.

94 Miller, Claire Cain. “The 10-Year Baby Window That Is the Key to the Women’s Pay Gap”  The New York Times; April 9, 2018.

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