Motherhood and sacrifice are synonymous, a truth we learn as we become mothers ourselves.
Her jeans have holes in them, and her shoes are worn. She’s got smile lines, lots of them. My plate was always prepared first, and even though she was usually left with scraps, it never seemed to bother her. On my best days, she answers my call. On my worst days, she answers my call. Why did it take me so long to see all that my mother did for me? How did it take me 26 years to realize the true sacrifice of motherhood? I’ll tell you why. I wasn’t looking for it.
I had no idea what my mom was giving up in order for me to flourish. I cared about my clothes, not the lack of hers. I never paid attention to the hours she spent in the kitchen preparing food for my siblings and me. I was worried about my soccer game, not thinking that I was there because she gave up her time to drive and support me.
I’m only seeing it because I’m now the one with holes in my jeans and worn shoes. I give my children their food before I even think about my meal, I’ve got stretch marks, and tired eyes, plenty of grey hairs already, but my heart is full. My heart is full because I know this is what I was designed to do. Women were created with the innate ability to nurture and raise children. It’s our instinct, and with that comes tremendous sacrifice.
“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” —Maya Angelou
The definition of sacrifice is the act of giving up something highly valued for the sake of something else considered to have greater value. Are you feeling what I’m feeling after reading those words? Comfort. Strength. Compassion. Confidence.
Your sacrifice is not in vain. The impact that children have on our bodies, minds, and grey hairs is unlike anything we will ever experience. In exchange, our sacrifice is what molds and shapes our children. They are not only surviving, but they are also observing and learning from the ways you serve, respond, laugh, and work. Consciously and subconsciously, they are adopting those qualities and actions from you. Your influence is remarkable.
Now, saying that your sacrifice is not in vain while accepting life happenings with a joyful heart is easier said than done. I’m even typing this and feeling hypocritical, as I’ve personally become a victim to our motherly sacrifice many times. Never would I say that I’ve mastered it. Instead, I’m writing to encourage you to keep going. You’re strong and your role as a mother, your tasks, although seemingly mundane, they matter!
- To the mother who’s awake at night with young babies: Find strength knowing that you’re supporting your child’s life. Their dependence on you is beautiful and empowering.
- To the mother whose body is forever changed from pregnancy: Practice positive self-talk. Look at those scars and stretch marks as acts of love. Tell your children what those scars mean to you.
- To the mother who gave up aspirations to be a stay-at-home mom: Your presence impacts your children, you are their home, their safety, and their comfort.
- To the working mother: There will be an age where your kids will look at you and thank you for providing and working tirelessly for them to be able to thrive. They will replicate that.
- To the mother who feels alone: Maybe life is crazy, maybe it is mundane and still. Regardless, nothing stays the same forever. You’ve overcome much, continue to rise, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are a lot of mothers who’ve been in your shoes.
I write this from the perspective of a mother who has loathed the sacrifice at times. My husband’s work requires us to move up to three times a year, and for about eight months out of the year, he’s gone from 10 AM to 10 PM. I’ve complained, I’ve been angry, I’ve dreaded the long, lonely sleepless nights, but there’s a reason why I can write this post today. It was encouragement from other women that gave me strength in my lowest moments. Women who looked at me and without saying anything, hugged me, told me that I was strong and encouraged me to keep going. If I could do that through a computer screen, you bet I’d come running.