Beware the “Mommy Martyr”

Mommy martyrs. 

We’ve likely all met one before. Always put upon, always over-tired, always with something to do for someone, somewhere. 

We also likely all know those other moms who make it all seem effortless, who ooze genuine enjoyment and fulfillment as they guide their little ones through tantrums and triumphs, who seem to never miss a teachable moment, who thrive whilst wiping noses and cleaning faces. 

In my experience, mommy martyrs are the ones who wear the struggles more visibly, whose sighs are audible to friends and strangers alike, and whose body language can often seem to yell, “This is the 19th time I’ve done this today and it’s only 8am and I’m definitely not sure I can handle today right now.”

Beware the Mommy MartyrThose moms can come across as more tested than the others, perhaps even appearing ungrateful at times for the family life that’s engulfing them. Many times however, these moms don’t have “more on their plate” than their easy breezy counterpart. They don’t always necessarily have more testing willful children either, and they don’t always have to work 25 hours a day.

Many times, these martyr moms choose too much and allow themselves to drown just a little in the process. 

I feel like I can say this, controversial as it is, because I am 100% a mommy martyr and I drive myself to misery some days because of it. Know this friends; I don’t use the word martyr lightly. I chose it however, because it implies not only a level of suffering, but also a level of choice. For me, while I oftentimes can’t disguise my fatigue or the emotional state of my day, I do recognize that more often than not I do it to myself. 

You see, my kids are kind of nuts.

We have three boys under the age of five and like most little boys around that age, they fluctuate between best friends and worst enemies 74,241 times a day. I also am a small business owner, working from home to build my company one keystroke at a time — and with small kids around all day every day, it can very literally mean it gets done one keystroke at a time. I am a wife and a friend, and I care very much about paying due diligence to those around me that love me, but that takes hours and energy from my day also. I’m also a human. Just a regular person with goals, and ambitions, and frustrations, and disappointments like everyone else.

And lastly, most importantly, I’m in no way more special or put upon than any of the other gifted mothers that walk beside me in day-to-day life. It’s because of this last point that I am able to tell that I am the only who can control this feeling of “Poor me” and spin it around into a much more determined “Yeah. Me.”

The hard truth is that I often fail to prioritize my time well. I often place myself not even at the end of the list, but literally not on it at all. And I often let things overwhelm me. I say let because I choose to take on so much. I choose to multi-task. I choose to add to my list faster than I cross items off of it. Slowly but surely I’m learning to recognize that the sky will not fall in if I skip work for twenty minutes to spontaneously put together a puzzle with my antsy kids…and so on and so forth. 

So to all those self-confessed mommy martyrs out there I salute you…and I also say “relax a little.” If you’re suffering or you’ve lost sight of the joy, my friend, you’re doing too much. Slow it down. Breathe and regroup.

You’ll thank me later.


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