Living for YOU

living-for-you-flickr-textOnce you become a parent, your priorities in life change.  Almost immediately, you begin living for someone else; someone who depends on you so dearly.  That is the way it is supposed to be, and there is quite a bit of sacrifice involved in being a parent.  Most parents however, don’t see it as a sacrifice, and instead see it as providing for, loving, supporting, and empowering their own children. The ends justify the means. 

Last week, a news show aired about mothers who had completely given up custody of their kids to their ex-husbands and who now parent long distance. These women claimed that they were just as involved as any other mom.  However, a few even admitted that they never really wanted to be mothers and were just sort of sucked into the ‘expected things,' of life.  These women didn’t see themselves as selfish, or wrong, or even disconnected from their kids.  Instead they felt like they had made decisions for their kids’ care that were beneficial to their children.

When the interviewer asked one mom, “Do you love your kids more than you love yourself?” the mom answered. “No. Should I love anyone more than I love myself?”

When the interviewer asked one mom, “Do you love your kids more than you love yourself?” the mom answered. “No. Should I love anyone more than I love myself?”

I quickly changed channels.  It made me uncomfortable.  Being a mom for 15 years now, I have to admit that there are more days than not where I feel I am essentially living for another human being and not being true to myself. Ignoring my own needs and wants and desires. Putting my own dreams on the back burner so that my kids can live theirs.  And frankly, I do love my kids more than I love myself.

There is such a fine line drawn by society today that says a mother should live for herself first and foremost.  I will agree that a happy mother will raise happier children and that mothers who stay interested and focused on their own lives, as well as their children’s will raise more confident and happier kids.  I also believe that it is important that my kids see me taking care of myself, so that when they grow up and have families of their own one day, they won’t be a doormat.  But I DO BELIEVE, that there needs to be balance.  

And this balance between living for you and living for your kids has to include some sort of sacrifice.  Or perhaps a better word would be compromise.

I will compromise certain dreams of my own in order to help make the dreams of my kids come true.  For me, the payoff is worth it.  I will compromise my own comfort to ensure that my kids are comfortable.  I will compromise both things and ideas of my own to better suit my kids.

For one thing, while I will always be a parent, I realize that this is a short term gig.  I have teenagers, and the day when they will pack up their stuff and move out are getting closer by the minute. There is a fast approaching time in my life (even in yours) where we will have more time on our hands than we know what to do with.  When we can start living for the things that we are passionate about, without always sacrificing or compromising.  So I am pretty content in the meantime living for my children. Additionally, I realize that I cannot completely forget who I am, and totally give up on me.  If I do, when the time comes where I get to reacquaint with my passions, I won’t know what they are anymore.  And if I do, my kids will never really ever know who their mama is.  And I want my kids to know me, and all my idiosyncrasies, and see me as much more than a robotic June Cleaver. 

Balance. 

So what say you?  Are you able to find the happy place between living for yourself and living for your kids?  Is it possible to successfully DO BOTH?

Image via Flickr/ _-0-_

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Living for YOU

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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