The Martyr Mother

Everyone is familiar with the Martyr Mummy; the ones who do everything for their kids. Who put them first. Who go without so that their kids can benefit. Who believe that their children are the number one priority in everything.

Oh no. Sorry. That’s most mothers. I think most normal (if such a word is appropriate) mothers prioritise their children and put them first. It is, after all, the first lesson of motherhood; you sacrifice sleep, a hot meal, clean hair, your pelvic floor, in order to soothe, feed and comfort your baby. You may not always do it with a smile on your face, but you do it.

Then there are the Martyr Mummies, the ones who nigh-on sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their kids, who relentlessly tell everyone how little they have, so their kids can have so much. The ones who also complain incessantly about their kids and/or partner, or usually just life.   The ones who begrudge their sacrifice, though they fall short of actually saying that. They’re probably also the ones who share this kind of quote:

‘Share this is if you love you’re [sic] kids with you’re [sic] whole heart, if you don’t share this, your [sic] a child abuser’

I don’t relate well to this kind of person. Having gone through the bitch that is PND, I completely, wholeheartedly and absolutely believe it is vital to put yourself first. Obviously not all the time, like having a lie-in when the kids need to go to school, or sit and meditate when it’s dinner time. But when it comes to valuing yourself, your relationship and maintaining some self-worth it is so important. How can you feel fulfilled as a mother if you feel empty as a person?

If you think your kids are worth dressing nicely, and having the things they want, aren’t you worthy too? If your kids enjoy eating their tea when it’s hot, don’t you also deserve that privilege?

Clearly I’m talking about children here as opposed to babies. Babyhood can’t be messed with; they really do manipulate you entirely for the first two years or so, and rightly so. But is it unreasonable, for example, for a five year old to still be sleeping in your bed, interrupting ‘special’ time with you and your partner, or even just your sleep?

In my opinion, (when they are healthy and there are no underlying problems) yes.

Being fulfilled and strong as an individual can only make you happier, being a happier person can only result in more successful relationships; with your partner and children.

If you compromise your relationship for the benefit of your children, it is possible you will all pay the price in the long run.

Nobody wants a mother filled with bitterness and resentment, though on the surface she did everything for everyone. But inside she hated it. And that will show through, one way or another.

Maybe this is just me. But the mothers I know who are ‘martyrs’, are also, when you scratch the surface, deeply unhappy. Yet the ones who may be branded as ‘selfish’; the ones who take time for themselves, go out child-free , maybe buy a new outfit every now and again, don’t begrudge the responsibilities of motherhood half as much as those who are martyrs to their children.

Obviously it depends on the level of support you have.

But mothers, just like anyone else, tend to be better people when they are happier. And I would rather be a more selfish, better, mother than a martyr who underneath it all, resented her life.

So, yes, my child will be having packed lunch for two weeks so I can have a new pair of shoes.


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