Recovered martyred mothers
Becoming a mother at age 22 forever changed my life. The biggest shock was to think about someone else’s needs besides and before my own. Until then, it was pretty much all about me, me, me.
When this beautiful reflection of perfection showed up in my life, it seemed natural to make room in my self-centered agenda. She was an easy baby who still allowed me some me-time. When her brother arrived 25 months later, I managed to find “me time” while staying home with them, I either traded childcare with friends, hired babysitters or hubby watched them while I went out for fun.
Our third child came along 17 months later and we went from one-on-one defense to zone defense. It became difficult for one or both parents to meet their needs. As long as a I surrendered, everything was fine. However, that meant I couldn’t:
- go to the toilet alone,
- have a phone conversation longer than 30 seconds,
- put something to my lips without a group asking, ”Where’s mine?”
- sleep for more than three hours in a row, or
- leave the house spontaneously.
One Sunday afternoon I prepared to go play soccer and realized “It’s not worth it.” A new era of self-sacrifice began — to the extreme. Like many mothers, I began to put myself last.
The kids had new shoes, doctor’s visits and play dates. I wore old shoes, procrastinated going to the doctor, and rarely saw my friends, except other moms at play dates. This era lasted for more than a decade until I woke up and became a recovered martyred mother.
It’s a common syndrome. Last week a friend who has three teenagers and a bad back said, “I have nowhere comfortable to sit at home.” I told her about my relax-the-back chair that cost more than some of our used cars that I never would have bought during my martyrdom.
“I was a stay-at-home mom for years. Now I don’t make much money,” she said apologetically.
My mother’s wisdom, from her grave, sounded loudly in my mind. ”That’s what your money is for!” and “If one of the kids needed that chair, you’d buy it without question.”
I suggested to my friend, “Start a cookie jar to save for it. Make it known that you want cash gifts for special occasions to save for the chair. Put ‘found’ money there.”
After my descent into the valley of self-sacrifice for the kids, I re-learnedI am worth it. When mom is happy, everybody is happy. I began spending money on myself. I took piano lessons. It’s reasonable when there’s extra money to spend some on you. If you have less money, figure out frugal and free thrills. Budget some amount of money and free time each month for me-me-me time. It’s a worthwhile investment.
Whatever you do, remember, too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart — William Butler Yeats.
This is the first of a series of Mother’s Day posts.Explore posts in the same categories: attitude, mothers, Self-care for mothers comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.