Sacrifice is something we all do, every day, in big and small ways, no matter our parental status. So why do mothers shoulder the ultimate sacrificial role? Mothers get so caught up in the giving, giving, giving that comes so naturally in this role that we start convincing ourselves to sacrifice literally every single portion of ourselves. Its no wonder why we begin to feel tired, over worked, under appreciated, even lost. No wonder we often fade into Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, or exhaustion. Because we live in a society that tells us motherhood = sacrifice of your WHOLE self:
-Of your body
-Of your sanity.
-Of your life balance between work, school, kids, home, spouse, finances…
-Of your sexuality… oh, your sexuality. May whatever that used to encompass Rest In Peace. When you and your partner are so tired from all the work you do as over-achieving parents, how can you dare expect the effort it takes to get you that well deserved orgasm? So that gets sacrificed and pushed under the rug, too.
But I’ve had enough. I’m done acting the martyr in the name of stereotypical motherhood appearances and expectations. I deserve to be a great mom AND an individually strong woman, because I tell you, ladies—we can be both. We can stop the sacrificing of every single aspect of our lives since we don’t need to choose between motherhood and womanhood. We can celebrate both and that is not selfish.
When you become a mother, of course you’re signing up to sacrifice for the greater good—raising kids that aren’t entitled jerks. But it’s a slippery slope of trying to raise good kids and losing yourself to the job. It’s my argument that this sacrifice contract we all signed the day we got pregnant is mainly for the big stuff—the monumental and obvious. The things every half decent, let alone great, parent would sacrifice without thinking twice. But there’s no fine print in that contract that says we have to give up literally every little part of what formulates our personalities and dreams, in the name of our children.
Being a great mom means knowing when to sacrifice for the wellbeing of your children and knowing when not to, for the sanity and welfare of yourself.
I will throw myself in front of a bus to save my child without hesitation, but I’m done throwing myself into a guilt trip for every single time my voice rose a little too high, since ANYone with emotions is capable of this.
I will give my kids the food off my plate, 90% of my time, and all my chances for privacy because I know someday, I’ll probably miss these moments. But I’m done forcing myself to enjoy it all right now, in the thick of things, during my hardest days.
I will give up my career to stay home if needed, or I’ll work my butt off to put food on our table and still manage to make my children think I had never left them. But I’m done guilting myself for whichever option I choose, and I won’t compete over which situation is harder.
I will sacrifice my body from conception, through breastfeeding, and beyond but I’m done convincing myself (and the world) that my own health is less important. I’ll work through my colds without complaint, but it’s time to give my mental health the attention it deserves.
I will give my days to Legos, refereeing play dates, Pinterest DIY sensory activities, and keeping my home clean. But when night comes, I’m done sacrificing the few precious, kid-free hours to do even more chores. Screw folding the laundry. The dishes can wait for my productivity tomorrow. It’s me time, it’s sexy time with the hubs, or it’s whatever-I-want-it-to-be time. And I will no longer feel guilty or obligated otherwise.
I will wake as many times as needed in the night, for as long as needed, but I’m done taking all the shifts for myself and convincing myself that it’s only my job to do so.
It’s time for balance. It’s time to share the burdens (not just the joys) with my spouse and realize that is what a true parenthood-partnership means. It’s time to stop living so high-strung and to stop worrying about what kind of a mother my neighbors think I am. Because what if? What if sacrificing every part of my being isn’t the answer to perfect family life after all?
What if I allowed a few short cuts or a few breaks in order to reduce unhealthy sacrifice and I was still a good mother because of them?
Is this selfish? I’m sure some women will comment that it is, saying I need to suck it up because this is what motherhood is all about. I’m sure some will say the inevitable, “Don’t complain because at least you can be a mother when others can’t.” I respectfully and passionately disagree—I am not selfish for needing to keep a little part of me for only me. Because what good does it do if all my sacrificing leads to crippling Depression? What good am I to my kids if I sacrifice to the point of hating my motherhood, as I allow it to swallow my individuality, my marriage, and my health?
I am a confident woman—a Queen. I am a kick a** wife and I am a devoted mother, imperfections and all. I will make mistakes and learn from them but this time, I’ll do it with less self-inflicted guilt. Now, I will no longer sacrifice myself and who I am to every crumb on the floor or every insignificant demand.