I ate lunch with my daughter the other afternoon--not an unusual occurrence. We had chicken and wild rice soup, and I found myself eating only the things I knew my daughter didn't like so that she would have plenty of desirable morsels to eat. I wasn't doing this consciously, that was the strangest part; it was ingrained in me, somehow, to put my appetite second.
Later that day, I was eating a not-so-desirable Lean Cuisine meal that, for anyone who has ever eaten one knows, doesn't consist of much food. My daughter had already eaten dinner, but I know that she loves to eat the broccoli out of my frozen meals, so I immediately put the broccoli aside for her. Who am I to deny my child green vegetables right? But it made me think again. I love broccoli too. But it didn't even occur to me to eat the broccoli myself; my mommy instincts said "give it to the kid!"
This sparked an interesting dialogue with myself about the sacrifices we make as mothers. I thought of all the things I have sacrificed and how it has affected my life. Here is the list I came up with:
1. My body (Before I got pregnant, I was in smokin-hot pilates-ass shape and I haven't seen my waist since then).
2. My sex life (Ever since pushing a seven pound mass of cells into this world, sex just hasn't been the same).
3. My food (as stated above, I would rather have my kids eat than myself. Therefore, if I order something that one of my kids decides they like better than what they ordered, I offer up my plate).
4. My free time (what is this again? I forget...)
5. My social life (again, ditto above).
6. My sanity (how many times a day do I found myself feeling like I am on the very, very edge of the precipice and am almost ready to fall over into the depths of actual mental illness? Hmmm, more than I can count).
7. My wardrobe (due to the need to keep my children in fashionable, comfortable clothes in the right sizes at all times, I never buy clothes for myself; in addition to the fact that I don't want to buy "fat" clothes to cover my post pregnancy body).
8. My brain (I swear I am not as sharp as I used to be, and most of my conversations are with individuals under the age of 9. My memory is crap and I can't keep track of my schedule to save my life. This is what they call "Mommy Brain." It started when I got pregnant and never went back to normal).
9. Sleep (Ah, this is one of my biggest sacrifices. One that I would give anything to be able to have again. I remember the days when I could sleep as late as I wanted on a Sunday morning and was never woken up in the middle of the night by a crying child. I long for those days).
So now that I have compiled this exhaustive list, I need to obtain an understanding of WHY I made it. I don't want to feel bad for myself and get all "woe is me" about everything I have given up as a mother. And I don't want sympathy from anyone (except maybe my husband, if it meant that I would get a back rub out of it). And I also know that all the sacrifices are 100% worth it. But I think I do need to realize that, although I get much in return through love and affection, I also need to fill in the gaps. Maybe some of these sacrifices don't have to be made. Maybe I can actually pay more attention to myself and make less sacrifices and more of an effort for myself.
So this is my goal. I am going to pay more attention to my needs and try to fill them, as WELL as my family's. Who said moms can't have it all?