As mothers, we are supposed to sacrifice for our babies. We sacrifice sleep, our bodies, our friends, our time, and our money. We sacrifice everything that we have to ensure that our wee babes are healthy and happy. Everything that we forego is expected as a part of parenthood. But does giving everything that we have really make us better mothers?
I’ve created a term to describe moms (like me) who believe that sacrifice is integral to motherhood. The term is mommy martyr. A mommy martyr is someone who gives to the point of not being able to give any more. She feels that the more she sacrifices, the better the mother she is. Her pain is proof to her that she is doing something right.
When I’m exhausted and at the end of my rope, I don’t think to myself that I better slow down. I think that I’m doing a good job. If, at the end of the day, I’m weary, unshowered, and unfed, I don’t berate myself for not taking care of myself. I applaud myself for giving up so much for the sake of my family.
The problem, of course, is that this doesn’t make me a better mother. I know that logically. As I write this I am completely frazzled and beyond worn out. I remember two weekends ago complaining to my partner that I was running on empty. I don’t even know what I’m running on now. I hit empty a long time ago.
I need to stop feeling guilty about taking care of myself. Taking care of ourselves is taking care of our families. If I let my partner take the baby out for a few hours so that I can get some rest, it’s not neglectful. Barely being able to go through the motions of caring for my baby is neglectful. I somehow need to get out of the mindset that dedicating my energy to my family and myself are mutually exclusive. I can do both, and I need to do both. For everyone’s sake.
So how about you? Do you suffer from mommy martyrdom?
- Mommy is Spent (everydayfamily.com)