In the last couple of weeks my husband Doo has taken to calling me “martyr” instead “mother.” He’s trying to get me to notice how often I complain about things that I don’t really ever after to do. But the way I see it, a mom can’t help but sacrifice her happiness for her children. Hormones, gut instincts and working-parent guilt are nature’s way of ensuring no mother will ever experience true relaxation or finish a smut novel.
Last night was a perfect example of how easily I’m manipulated by my children. I’m sitting on the couch, exhausted, trying to enjoy a quiet moment. Doo has acquiesced to giving me a foot rub (in return for his own later) and for once the dog is not yelping at me for a ball toss. All too soon, one daughter sidles up complaining of a sore shoulder while the other plops down in a nearby chair, frustrated to tears, wanting help with math.
Doo denied both girls immediately: “I’m tired and watching Family Guy.” And though I was just as spent as Doo and definitely did not want to forfeit a semi-free rubdown, I suddenly found myself tracking down Advil while explaining how to solve a system of linear equations. Why? Because I can’t say “no” to my kids. Not when one baby is in pain and the other is close to an adolescent breakdown.
Not even on a Saturday, when I finally have a chance to sleep in, and could have shoulder-daughter set her own alarm and organize a carpool for her early morning guard competition. Nope, I’ll Joan-of-Arc it and get up at 5:30 to gently wake her, make her a delicious, nutrition breakfast, and then drop her off with an “I love you. You’re beautiful. Make good choices!” farewell. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be selfish when it comes to my kids?
Because I work full time. Because I have Mama Bear instincts. Because someone has to ensure that our offspring graduate and move out. Sorry, Doo, but by design, this mother is a martyr.