A friend posted a quote on Facebook the other day that made me think. It read:
“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing, even when you’re not sure what the right thing is … and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong” - Donna Bell
Parenting is hard. Really, fucking hard. Sometimes I feel like I do more things wrong than I do right when it comes to my kids. I’ve had to forgive myself again and again. It’s a great quote, and I agree with what the author is saying … except for the first line.
“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own” … A year ago I would have whole-heartedly agreed with that statement and actually been proud to say that is exactly how I live. A year ago I put my children’s happiness and well-being ahead of my own - not anymore.
When I went to Sadie Nardini’s yoga workshop she held last spring, I didn’t know what to expect. I still thought of yoga as just another form of exercise. Then she opened my eyes. We had a group discussion (which I thought was weird for a weekend dedicated to “working out”) and, with a group made up almost exclusively of women, the topic of motherhood came up. A few of us boasted proudly that our children came first, no matter what. She asked us why. How could that be that you would put someone else’s well-being ahead of your own?! I went home thinking “Oh, she’s not a mother, she would never understand”.
But her words resonated with me and I thought about them for a long time afterwards. I remember her saying, to some degree, “If you are not happy, and well-taken care of, how do you expect to take care of these little people whose lives depend on you? When your children see you putting everyone else’s happiness before your own, they learn that behaviour, and will grow to also please everyone else but themselves.”
I remember saying, shortly after we lost Nate, when asked if we would try again, “Well, I don‘t care about myself, I just don’t want to put my kids through that again.” I actually said that. I don’t care about myself.
I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for me. I started putting myself first after that. I started caring about myself. And you know what? I’m a better mother because of it.
When you take care of you, it is so much easier and fulfilling to take care of someone else. So, yes, it is a choice. What will you choose?