A few months ago, my son and I had dinner together, and I gave him two restaurant options: Cracker Barrel or Applebee’s. I felt pretty confident he would choose Applebee’s, and my mouth was already watering for the Triple Chocolate Meltdown. Then he went and picked Cracker Barrel, and my hopes were dashed. But I put on a believable smile and drove to Cracker Barrel because going to the kids’ choice of restaurant is pretty much one of the main sacrifices of being a mother.
But it’s surely not the only one! We are constantly putting our children’s needs before our own. If we’re not careful, we can grow resentful. We can even get angry when our kids make yet another demand of us when all we want to do is watch some TV or go to sleep. But we put our kids first because they need us. It might be hard to give up what we want, but here are 5 beautiful sacrifices every mom makes and why they are totally worth it.
1. Our Bodies
Of all the sacrifices of being a mother, this is the one we’re reminded of every time we look in the mirror. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can both leave permanent marks. Sagging skin, stretch marks, and extra weight are all evidence that our bodies have held new life within them. We might want to cover them up or erase them if possible, but they serve as constant reminders of the beauty of motherhood and the love we have for our children.
And it’s not just pregnancy and nursing that leave marks. Every mom, whether her child is biological, fostered, or adopted, knows how exhausted her arms and legs feel after carrying around a too-big six-year-old or how uncomfortable it can be to have a sick child fall asleep in your lap for a much-needed hour-long nap when you really need to use the restroom. Moms will endure all sorts of pain for the sake of their children.
2. Our Sleep
Did you think you only signed up for the sleep deprivation part of parenting for one year? I recently read a study that suggested that parents could expect disrupted sleep for six years after the birth of their child. Then just when you think you can go back to sleeping through the night, your child becomes a teen, and you’re losing sleep for a whole other set of reasons.
But sleep deprivation with toddlers means a lot of extra snuggles, and with teens, it means your kids are stretching their wings and preparing to fly. It might cause you to worry, but your sacrifice shows your children that you will be there for them if they fall.
3. Our Time
A mother’s time is not her own. How many times have we hoped for a quiet evening after the kids are in bed, only to hear cries for “Mama” just moments later? How many times have we planned awesome family activities, only to have to let them go because a child wakes up sick?
We give up our time constantly, but with the right mindset, that time doesn’t have to be lost or wasted. Some of my best childhood memories were made while I was sick in bed, with my mom taking care of me. The time we give up can be transformed into beautiful memories.
4. Our Favorite Foods
Personally, it felt like a huge sacrifice to pull into that Cracker Barrel parking lot, but I did it because that’s what my son wanted. Having kids changes the way you eat. Setting a good example for them might mean more veggies and fewer cookies. It might mean more quick grabs for anything you can eat with one hand. If you’re a coffee drinker, it probably means more barely lukewarm cups of joe in the morning.
But these sacrifices of being a mother make us value good food and hot coffee so much more, along with those date nights alone with your husband (when you can order exactly what you want).
5. Our Future
Having kids changes your life forever. In the beginning, it probably means fewer late nights out, more missed social engagements, less time for your own needs, and more time spent at playgrounds and parks. Years down the road, motherhood will mean endless sports practices and chauffeuring to outings and extracurricular activities.
Eventually, it will mean weddings, grandkids, and maybe even great-grandkids. The sacrifices of today pave the way for a beautiful future filled with love and joy, but those sacrifices you’re making now can also be beautiful. It’s all a matter of perspective.
What are some of the sacrifices you have made for your children? How can you consider these sacrifices in a more positive light?