By Kay Wyma
Motherhood. It’s full of love. Full of laughter. Full of smiles… and some frowns and a few whines here and there (okay, everywhere). The road is paved with tears of joy and tears of sadness.
Motherhood is also full of sacrifice. Who knew? Maybe we relished in and had great hope for all that is added to life when kids enter the picture. But did we expect the sacrifice? And, who knew how many times and how much our moms sacrificed for each us? Around every corner of a mom’s life, sacrifice exists …and is worth it. Sacrifice goes without saying.
But let’s say it anyway.
Sleep. Sleep is a mom’s first sacrifice. About the time a positive sign emerges from the tell-tale test stick, the sleep thing flies out the window. We leave it open, hoping that like migrating birds sleep will return. But, no such luck. By the time kids move past the infant and the “Can I get in your bed” stage (where we might be able to sleep if they weren’t lying on top of us or with their feet in our faces), curfew enters the picture. And we now lose sleep over worrying. Not that we should stay up all night worrying, but we do. Because we’re moms.
Ordering off a menu. I can’t think of the last time we’ve gone out to eat where I’ve actually ordered a meal. Why order? I can swoop in after everyone’s finished and have more than enough to meet my fill. Plus it’s economical. Just this weekend, I was completely satisfied leaving Schlotzky’s on Saturday. Sure I probably would have ordered a salad, maybe a sandwich, but there was plenty of kid cheese pizza to handle my hunger. It wasn’t all sacrifice. I “splurged” on a nice tall drink of ice tea.
Our bodies. Well, this for sure goes without saying. We share space with our little ones for nine+ months. Then we see things happen to our bodies we never imagined possible. We catch glimpses of National Geographic naked sagginess as we step out of the shower, despite every effort to avoid glancing in our bathroom mirrors. Stretch marks, premature gray hair, circles under our eyes, wrinkles, and a few extra pounds resulting from all those shared meals. Okay, so maybe that menu sacrifice needs to be revisited.
Personal space. Beyond having little bodies constantly hanging on us, literally hanging, when was the last time you showered or had any bathroom time alone. I’ve decided that kids are equipped with a motion detector signal that alerts them any time a mom tries to slip away. Even though mine might be lost in activity, within minutes of my disappearing a kid is inevitably standing outside my door (well, all except one who thinks a closed door is an invitation) knocking and yelling, “Mom?!… Maahhhwwwmmm! … I neeeed you…. Maahhhuuumm.”
Brain cells. I’m pretty sure I made a donation with each visit to Baylor’s Labor & Delivery Unit. And I wonder if the brain cells I’ve sacrificed will ever come back. Are they like nerves? Is there a possibility of regeneration? Hmm… Until then, the kids must go to their father for help with math. Its best for us all.
The remote control. Of course it doesn’t stop at the television, we sacrifice our taste in music too. With a mix of appreciation and despise, we endure age-appropriate programming. Then wake up in the middle of the night, when kids are standing next to the bed begging to get into it, with the theme song of Little Einstein’s running through our head. I know you hear it… even now. Little Einstein’s and Good Luck Charlie today, One Direction tomorrow. Just sayin’.
Luxuries. Maybe not totally gone, but fewer and further between are my days of favorite-store shopping. We each have them. They’ve all been back burnered. Because it’s either a new couch or braces. Jimmy Choo splurge or ballet lessons. (I miss you, Jimmy Choo… you got the boot from my closet too. Because somehow my feet grew with pregnancy. What’s up with that?!) Let’s just say, I traded Neiman’s for Costco. Wash and wear are key. Dry cleaners, I will be back. Someday. Maybe.
Myself for the cake. We also sacrifice ourselves for the sake and health of others, like throwing our bodies over a hand grenade. Just this weekend, I stepped up to the plate and did what any good mother would do. I ate the last piece of a Corner Bakery Cinnamon Cream Coffee Cake. I did. It was a tall order, but with my family in mind, I stepped up. In order to save everyone else from extra calories, I forced that deliciousness into my mouth and savored every minute. Yes. It’s a tough assignment. Because some sacrifices are super delicious even in the moment. Like when we sacrifice our dignity each time we pull up in front of a house with a carload of kids, cloaked in the darkness of night, rolls of toilet paper in hand and race around a yard throwing TP streamers into trees. (Did I just admit to participating in rolling a house, or two, or more?!) Good stuff.
And every sacrifice – even one that might look like an indulgence – is worth it. Over and over again. Every meal missed meal, every personal space invasion, every hour logged behind the wheel, every stretch mark and each saggy spot. Because our kids are worth the sacrifice. And more often than not, like that cake, something delicious and wonderful is just on the other side. In fact, our sacrifices aren’t much of a sacrifice at all. They’re actually enormous blessing. Because, they are love in action.
So bring on Corner Bakery’s Cinnamon Cream Coffee Cake and the years of putting the kids’ needs ahead of my desires. I will eat it. Yes. Sign me up. To save them the calories and to show my love for them, I will sacrifice myself … for the cake.
Somebody’s got to do it.
Kay Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. She shares the hilarity and the tears that come with raising adolescents & teens on her blog The Moat … because who wants to walk that road alone.