How much should moms sacrifice on behalf of their kids? Is there such thing as too much? How about too little?
My last post was about not losing yourself in a sea of “momness”, and I meant every single word of it. As moms I believe we need to work hard at remembering ourselves and remembering those around us (not just the ones under three feet tall!).
Everyone will have their own opnions about how this is worked out in life and we all try our best to take good care of our children while still looking after ourselves. It’s easy as a single person (or childless person) to have opinions about what this should look like, but only a mom (or perhaps a dad) can fully understand the very real struggle to figure out how to achieve that ellusive balance between motherhood and life in general.
The current wave of thinking has all of us moms wishing for more “me” – “me” time, “me” space, “me” hobbies, “me” spending money, “me” energy, and “me” focus.
Wouldn’t we rather just be sitting by the pool sipping cocktails?
But realistically, how much of this is really possible when you have children, young children in particular? And, even if possible, how much is actually healthy… and how much is actually selfish?
I realize that in writing this I run the risk of being offensive, or—at minimum—pushing some buttons. (Or perhaps just being misunderstood.) But I really do think that as easy as it is for us moms to become completely child-focused, it’s almost equally as easy to become entirely self-focused. (In other words, selfish.)
Let me ask you: how often do you spend fantasizing about a day alone? How often during your average day do you wish to trade in your mom title for something a little more glamorous? How often would you prefer to ignore the little voice under your feet begging “play with me!” when you’d rather be out for a coffee date/reading/watching tv/emailing/sun bathing/blogging/sipping cocktails/gardening/shopping/fill-in-the-blank?
I’m not talking about being an ungrateful mother here – nearly every mom on the planet is grateful to be a mom and wouldn’t trade that role for the world. And yet, even in our gratitude, when you boil it all down, most of us would just love for life to revlove around ourselves for a change.
There, I said it.
Sometimes I just want life to revlove around me.
I want to sleep when I want to sleep. I want to eat when I’m hungry, cook and clean when I’m inspired, and play when it’s fun. I want to rest when I’m weary, shop at my leisure, and be in control of the events of my day. I want to choose when to work, when to relax, when to space out, and when to engage my brain.
But when I chose to become a mom, I also chose a different path – a path that is not roomy enough for me to walk alone.
Being a mom means that life is no longer just about me. It requires sacrifice. It requires giving. It requires serving. It requires hard work and perseverance.
Yes, there are incredible joys and blessings and delights that—in my opinion—far outweigh the sacrifices. But to deny the need for sacrifice when it comes to motherhood is not very realistic… and it’s not benificial to anyone – our kids and ourselves included.
And… I really do believe it’s selfish.
Not all sacrifice is bad, so I’m wondering… just when exactly did we decide to make it a four letter word?
If I live with the mentality that I’m entitled to a sacrifice-free life, then my days and my responsibilities not only become an inconvenience, but they become a huge burden. I will begin to feel entitlement to things I supposedly “deserve” and resentful toward those who I actually love most (my family).
So how do we not lose ourselves in a sea of momness… while at the same time not allow ourselves to be sucked into the trap of self-entitlement either (which inevitably leads to resentment when things are not happening as we’d like or self-absorbption when they are)?
Is it possible to “have it all” – a balance between what’s best for your kids and what’s best for you personally, even apart from your kids? (Because a happier mom really does make for happier kids… doesn’t it?) And is it possible to not lose yourself in a “sea of momness” while at the same time joyfully sacrificing for the sake of your kids?
I believe I can “have it all” in a sense… but the details of that have to look different now than before kids entered the picture. I don’t believe my entire world should revolve around my children (which only teaches them to become selfish as well), but neither do I believe these little people should just jump into my world and adapt to all of my lifestyle desires and former routines. There has to be a give-and-take, and I for one would rather err on the side of giving than taking…
Now, if you’re asking me the 1-2-3’s of what that all looks like – forget about it! I have no forumula. (And if I did I’d be marketing it and making money off off it – ha!) But it’s not that simple. I’m trying to learn just as much as the next mom. Balance is elusive, time is fleeting, children are constantly changing, roles are ever demanding.
But I’m not sure we will ever learn unless we are intentionally trying to. This sort of thing doesn’t just fall into your lap.
This I do know – I don’t want my children to suffer on account of me pursuing me. Somehow, some way, it’s got to be possible for me to do what’s best for me while not compromising on the sacrifices and demands reqired in motherhood so that I can also do what’s best for them. That’s the only way that both my children and I will thrive.
So what does that look like? For me? For you? In general?
Dear friends, do you feel like you need more “me” time? If so, how do you do that without slipping into selfishness and entitlement? And what do you think? Do moms today have a “correct” view of sacrifice within the context of motherhood?