Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm sorry, did you say mother or martyr?

On days like this? I'm glad I'm anonymous. Because in this story, I don't come out so well.

This weekend, my husband and I had a screaming match heart to heart about which of us wasn't holding up our end of the bargain in this whole parent/partner thing we're doing. It quickly reverted to a battle of "who has it worse?" (A proud proud moment for me.) Which inevitably ended here:

"Yeah, well I can't even brush my teeth or go to the bathroom without the baby all over me."

"Well why the heck not? You have a playpen, a crib, a swing, and a high chair. Put her down and go to the bathroom."


"Well, that's not the point. Maybe I'd do more housecleaning, if you'd come home and hold her instead of always handing her back to me when she cries."

"Well, maybe I would if you hadn't spent the past 9 months telling me I was doing it wrong."

Double Blink.

I don't do that. Do I? Oh gosh, do I?

I love my kid. I love to snuggle with her, I love to play with her on the floor. I love taking her for walks, going to playgroups. I love babywearing.

But geez, people, I'm not a machine.

Sometimes I need to sleep. And sometimes I need to eat. And sometimes (I know, I know), I need to go to the bathroom.

And you know what? Sometimes I'd like to read a book, and focus on it for more than 2 minutes at a stretch, or take a bubble bath, or exercise or sew or bake. And sometimes I'd like to do those things without a baby on my hip or climbing up my leg.

And maybe that's okay.

Maybe it's okay to put her down for a few minutes now and then so I can switch the laundry over. Maybe it's okay to let someone else take her outside if she starts fussing in a restaurant. Maybe it's okay if I'm not 100% available to her 100% of the time.

I don't think she's spoiled. I don't think I've done any harm by giving her all of myself. But maybe I've done me a little bit of harm. I feel exhausted. I feel touched out. I feel like I'm losing me. And I'm tired of whining about it. I'm tired of acting like I have no control over the situation. I'm tired of blaming other people for not helping me when I haven't given them any opportunity to do so.

I'm tired of being a martyr, folks. I'm tired of doing this to myself.


  1. I'm constantly being accused of martyring myself, so I can relate to this post. There came a point, though, when I decided I need to be more self-caring (it's different from "selfish", I promise) and do more things for me and let others, mainly my husband, pick up the slack. It's hard to get over the guilt, though, which I have much of the time. Finding the balance is such a struggle.

  2. I'm really glad that you and your DH had that discussion. How wonderful for all of that to come out... your resentment that you were doing it all and his resentment that you weren't allowing him to do enough. This is a great thing and I'm so happy for you! It is definitely okay to give yourself back a little bit of you. *smiles*

  3. Girl, we do the same thing. This was eye opening for me as well. I feel like, as her mother, that I should be the one doing the heavy lifting, but then I get burned out and complain that it's not fair. The reality is that I too shoulder most of the caretaking, thinking that no one else can do it like I can. My husband has told me so many times to just put her down and eat something. B/c how can we take care of them if we aren't taking care of ourselves? You're doing good. It's good to relinquish control once in a while. Said the type-A mom. ;)

  4. I can totally relate. I am the worst about making myself out to be the victim/martyr in a situation (a quality that really bothers me about myself). I also give my husband a hard time when he doesn't do things to my exact liking. Sometimes we need to just let go and trust. It sounds like you might need a mommy day to take care of yourself (we all need them and are better for them!)

  5. You are not alone. I think all of us moms have moments of *insanity* like this and often times we only want to be heard. My husband and I have had many of these *discussions* over the years, still do and probably always will. But you get through it and you move on. Now take a deep breath.

  6. I took over taking care of JDaniel as a baby. I was a stay at home mom and it was now my job. I didn't think about giving my husband time to bond and grow a relationship with my husband.

  7. Yep, I did too much for too long too, and look where it got me. One of the best pieces of wisdom I heard (that I didn't always follow well) was that it's okay to put your baby down if you need to pee. "I know you're mad, but mama needs to pee and I'll be right back." - I could just see myself saying that.

    If you have a charmer who loves to keep her mama entertained it can be hard. But knowing that you're with her too much, or touched out, or anything like that is a good start to figuring out ways to find a better balance.