No Honor in Martrydom

When I read my friend, Jamie’s, post today, I got thinking.

You see, Jamie has been a stay-at-home mother, traveling around with her husband, who is in the Coast Guard.  In her post, Jamie grapples over taking a part-time job, outside of the home.  She feels that doing “the right thing,” is in conflict with what she wants.

It’s a common dilemma, among women, especially.

Before we had kids, we had LIVES.  We had social groups.  We had jobs.  We had separate identities, away from our families.

When we have a child, we’re presented with this tiny being, completely dependent upon us.  We can make or break this person.  We need to do it right.  We need to give everything, to give this person every possible advantage.

I know.  I slept in a recliner, holding Beanie on top of me, making nursing available to her on demand.  Because that was how she slept, during the worst of her reflux.  I pumped at work, for a year.  I washed poopy cloth diapers.  I’ve seen a LOT of poop.  (And Rob has seen more).  I’ve been puked on.  I slept in a baby cage at the hospital.  I’ve spent time everyday, doing therapy home programs (and I will spend more time, since she will soon be without any therapy, until fall).

Having a kid means giving a lot.

And I don’t mind.  None of us mind.  But there is something we can’t give.  Something we should not ever give up.

And that is ourselves.

We’re taught, with all good intentions, to put others before ourselves.  But who are “others”?  Who is “ourself”?  Are we not one category, humanity?  In our home, are we not just our family?  Why are we separate, less?

This kind of goes with the question, what is more important: our marriage or our kids?  The correct answer is, both and neither.  The attention should go to whoever and whatever needs it.  And we should include ourselves in the equation.

We’re mothers (or fathers), but we are humans too.

Humans need to pursue their passions.  We need social interaction.  We need variety in our lives.

Some people, homesteaders, especially, are able to accomplish this by staying at home.  But, for those of us who aren’t, there is no shame.

Taking care of ourselves, and making sure that we are happy, is a part of taking care of humanity.  Because we are a part of it.

So stop being at war with yourself.  Do what you need to do.

The world will be better for it.

We Can Do It - Rosie The Riveter Clip Art

12 thoughts on “No Honor in Martrydom

  1. Thank you so much, Bethany, you always put things so beautifully.

    I also wonder if part of this is also due, in part, to the change in our lifestyles. We’ve gone from local to global. We don’t have the (physically) close social networks that we used to have. Even for those of us that aren’t military, many of us have moved far from family, whom we used to depend on in our daily living. While we think nothing of talking to someone from across the pond, we freeze up at the thought of talking to our neighbor from across the street, let alone ask them a favor.(Which is one of the reasons Lois is so awesome with what she’s created in her life!)

  2. I couldn’t agree more here. I worked and raised kids, there was no time for me in those years. Once my kids left home though I had no idea who I was, still trying to figure it out really. Very hard to find a balance, but I think too that motherhood and working only creates more demands leaving less time for ourselves except that we do get to join in with grown ups on a regular basis! We have to do what we are happiest in ourselves doing and that can change alot over the years.

  3. This is such a timely post. I recently started baby-sitting my friend’s baby several days a week, and I love having a “job” of sorts again. I’ve always worked and made my own money since I started baby-sitting at age 12. I have stayed home with Emma for 2 and 1/2 years now, and there’s been a part of me that has struggled with…. something off and on throughout this time. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I have no desire to work full-time while raising my child, but I wanted to do something to help support us monetarily. Since I started baby-sitting, I feel useful and productive once again. I also didn’t realize how much I need some more social interaction, and baby-sitting brought me a new friendship as well. I see my friend Jenna several times a week now when she drops off and picks up her son, and now we text and talk about mom and baby stuff. It can be so hard to find the balance with wanting to stay home with your child but also finding time for yourself and making sure your needs are fulfilled. Great post, Bethany!

    • What all the books, articles, TV shows, etc. don’t tell us is that there are LOTS of “right” ways to do things. And the “wrong” ways are the ways that neglect our own needs. Glad you found YOUR “right” way!

  4. Patty Newbold has a great saying, “Own Your Own Needs” which came to mind as I read your excellent post!

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