I have been a SAHM for 8 years. 8 LONG years. I have three children. I struggle with having value. Any value...like I would be elated to feel better than a dirty Kleenex....
How do you feel valued, or that you are contributing? All I do all day is pick up, tidy, laundry, break up fights between siblings, and bring them out to do fun things....but no matter how much I do....it is never ever enough.
momtoS. I am not a SAHP, but my DP is and I value what my DP does so much. I asked my DP this question and some of the things that came up were knowing that what he is doing contributes to the set-up that works best for our child and our family (as an aside, I'm not saying our set-up is best for all families, just that we've found the thing that's best for our particular family), that what our DP contributes enables others in our family (including me) to do things that wouldn't be possible otherwise (such as having a job with travel), feeling a part of the whole that makes our family work, knowing that our DD enjoys having one of her parents (more often my DP) with her most of the time, and hearing "thank you" for the things that are done at home like cooking or tidying up or playing many, many games of Uno.
Would it help you to define for yourself what would make you feel that you are valuable? Are there ways that your partner, children, relatives, or friends could acknowledge your value?
I hope some of the other parents here will have more advice and suggestions for you!
Of course I don't know your whole situation, so you can take this or leave it, but I'm thinking if you make a conscious choice to make time for things in your life that are separate from your wife/mother role, it will help--you could start a hobby, something artistic, dancing, join a gym, go to concerts...or educational/professional goals, like taking a class or even starting a weekend job to earn some money, if it's something you want and there's a way to make it work.
Journaling can also help--taking the time to make lists of what you're grateful for, and lists of reasons why you love yourself and what your strengths are. Just change your thoughts and that alone will make you feel better.
Perhaps getting out of the house with some time to yourself to do things you enjoy would help with your self-concept. I would also consider disclosing how you feel to the other DP or another close friend or family member. Sometimes the people who know us best are often a great source of support and reassurance if given the opportunity to meet our needs. I know my hubby sometimes needs something a little more direct than a subtle hint to understand my emotional needs. It may not be this way with your partner, but maybe the people in your life don't know how you feel?
We have spent some real money getting this worked out in may marriage. I am a SAHM of three children, now 6, 4, and 1. I do work 30 hours a week from home on top this. Still, I felt taken advatage of. I am not sure what your situation is, but hearing from your partner is essential. They have a paycheck to show a "value" on the hours they spend working. Your work is on-going and on-call, all the time. There is no paycheck, aside from the hugs, kisses, and Best Mom in the World titles. Be sure your husband knows you need to hear it. That this is a decision you made together because it is important to the family. I also agree that you need to have something of your own. This is a way to fill yourself back up so you have something to give your family. I started a local group, the Natural Living Group, which consists of me setting up a speaker each month at a local nature center location on a topic related to holistic living. At least once a month I get out of the house and meet people with similar interests and learn about something new. Perhaps start a book club, or just join one. Sing karoake, ANYTHING my dear! Also, read the book 'In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It was a realy uplifter for me:)
Do you have playdates often? Even if you're still watching your kids it can be nice to spend time with another mom and have somebody to talk to. As far as getting out of the house, can you trade childcare with somebody (you watch her kids for a couple hours one day, then she watches yours on another day) or get a sitter for a couple of hours?