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 needs. Until then, it was pretty much all about me, me, me.

three kids in three and a half years requires zone defense and matryed mothers. putting yourself FIRST is key to successful motherhood. parenting is about good mothering and taking time for yourself. mother's day is about doing something for YOu. honoring mother on mother's day is about taking  care of yourself.

Here we are in 1984 with three children born in 37 months. People often said to me, “You have your hands full.” Duh!

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

Tags: , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Comments on “Recovered martyred mothers”

  1. Danielle Says:

    I like this post. I have five kids and as you can imagine my me time is limited. But I do try to take it when I get the opportunity. Something I must work on though is ‘me time brain space’. I have found the more kids I have had the smaller my actual intelligence or thinking power has seemingly diminished. So much so that I can barely remember what it is that would make me happy during my me time? It’s like the ‘me’ has shrunk! Or perhaps I’m just evolving.

  2. raising able Says:

    I understand! It will take time to rediscover the “me” inside of you.
    Can you carve out some “me time” once a week, join a book group that meets once a month, get out with other adults on a regular basis doing something you enjoy?

    One of these days the five kids will grow up and won’t need you anymore and you’ll have more time to rediscover ME. Don’t wait until then to start.

    Kids have this tendency to cloud our mental radar. You can clear it!
    Do you have a plan?

    • Danielle Says:

      I am supposed to go to choir one evening per week but I actually end up missing lots of them for one reason or another (husband shift work, baby not settling etc.). So rather than it being a source of enjoyment it is becoming a source of guilt. Just another thing I should be doing but am failing miserably at! I have an old pony that I have to feed and see to every day so I do get out into the fresh air to do that. I’ve owned him since I was a young girl and he’s always been ‘my’ hobby. Trouble is he is becoming a worry because his age is showing and his health is deteriorating. I have always been a horsey girl but haven’t ridden since before I got pregnant with my youngest. Somewhere in my heart I remember being that horsey girl, and that singing girl, but I feel no burning desire to do either right now. I’m not even saying “my children are my life” like I know a lot of women do. I realise they don’t define me. Yes my mental radar is well and truly clouded!

  3. raising able Says:

    It’s hard to leave an unsettled baby. You are in the time of surrender. Go to choir when you can & skip the guilt! They will understand. Your kids need you now 24/7.
    You need you, too. What is your plan? If not for this week, for 6-12 months from now, to reclaim a bit of “you”? What is calling you?

  4. Danielle Says:

    Well I always planned to go back to professional singing but I need to get my head around getting on stage in my all-new 38 year old body! You see I never thought I’d age. When I pictured myself on stage promoting my platinum selling album (ahem) I always looked about 27. These grey hairs and wrinkles are somewhat taking me by surprise! By now I was supposed to have sold lots of albums, had a few sons AND daughters and moved to a large farm in the countryside. As things stand I live in a modest semi, have five sons and can’t even manage to get to choir practice once a week. I’m very grateful for my modest semi and my five sons, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t really have a clue what to do from here on in. I used to be very creative and always full of ideas. Too many ideas to ever get around to doing, but nevertheless they always came to me. The flow has just stopped! Perhaps in 6 more months, when the littlest one is sleeping better my planning power will spring back into action.

  5. raising able Says:

    PLATININUM! Wow, congrats. Five sons. Congrats again 🙂
    The first year or two is worth surrendering to a new baby, of course, as you well know.

    Welcome to the realities [and blessings 🙂 ] of midlife. It’s hard when some doors shut and our bodies and minds start aging.

    You have a beautiful big family, which some people will never have. That flow will keep going for life.

  6. Danielle Says:

    LOL thank you. That’s the thing, I think I am in total surrender right now. Life is easier when I don’t try to fight to keep hold of a personal goal. It just serves to make me mad (or guilty) when I can’t follow it through. Even this midlife ageing thing is strangely liberating. A lot of the plans I had as a young woman can just be released and I can open myself up to whatever life decides to throw at me!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: