Martyrdom

I found this post in my drafts folder and have no idea why I never published it. It was written earlier this spring, when I was going through a little bit of a funk. Things are much cheerier now (which probably has something to do with the fact that we’re leaving on Friday for four days of island life), but it’s still very kinda pertinent.

~

The mundane routines of domestic life leaves one with lots of time to think. It doesn’t leave you much time to do things you like, but you certainly have lots of time to think about what you might do if you could. This sometimes gets me a little down in the dumps. Sometimes, I really feel like a martyr.

Maybe that’s sort of an oxymoron, calling myself a martry. I mean, aren’t martyrs supposed to bear their crosses without complaint? (Here I am, complaining.) We’re supposed to martyrize them after they’ve gone to their final resting places, not while they’re in the middle of martyr business.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother, and what she was like when she was in my spot- my spot being married, having young kids, enduring loads of domestic responsibility, and all with no gainful (read: taxable) income. She was a really good martyr. (I mean that as a compliment, really!) The one thing I remember about my mom, who is happily alive in central Florida, was her selflessness. My mom was always cleaning up things, making things to eat, waiting on my dad (ugh), taking care of us kids, blabbitty-blabbitty-blah. She never had much help, other than free babysitting services from the grandparents. To top it off, she never got to take much care of herself, short of putting her hair in hot rollers each and every single stinking morning of my life until my dad died. (She promptly went out and got a cut, color and style the day after he was buried. Good for her!)

While we were growing up, mom did it all without complaint, which -I think – is one of the secrets of martyrdom. Oh. Well, then, count me out. I complain quite a bit. I am complaining in this very post, in case you didn’t notice.

I do have some of my mom’s classic martyr-mom traits. When we make breakfast in the morning, I’m still frying up the pancakes while everyone else is eating. By the time I sit down, it’s to limp bacon, an empty egg bowl, and tepid coffee. Most days, I sit for just a minute before hopping back up to get a jump on the dishes, too. After meals, dad and the kids are usually playing in the other room, or wander off to do their own things while I clean up. I often feel sort of sidelined, like I’m watching life from inside the television set or something. Every once in a while, I get really down about the loneliness and tedium that is the life of a full-time homemaker with young kids.

I know how lucky I am to be here, with a happy marriage, a healthy family and a nice home. I have far more things to feel good about than to complain about. This knowledge usually just adds guilt on top of the other emotions, which isn’t helpful. But I think mothers should be allowed to feel some of the negative aspects of the journey. We are human, and yes, it’s sometimes disheartening to have an endless amount of washing, cooking, cleaning, etc., waiting to be done, with little appreciation and even less acknowledgement for all the hard work. But it makes my heart full to see my family benefiting from the fruit of my labors. I love it when my drama-queen DD1 takes a plate of food, her eyes as big as biscuits, and exclaims, “Thank you, Mama!” I love hearing my husband tickling the girls in the other room and listening to them squeal as they get their bellies swizzled. I love the homeyness of it all, the family-ness of this routine.

Besides, someone has to do the dishes and the laundry, right?

Speaking of which….

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One thought on “Martyrdom

  1. Train the kids. Seriously. From a very early age, mine weren’t allowed to leave the table without helping to clear the table. Then they were expected to put their dishes in dishwasher. Then they graduated to washing and drying the dishes. And by the time they were 13, all three of them were preparing full meals. Not to mention doing their own laundry. Oh ya, I was a slave driver, but they all thank me now, because both my girls and my son, can totally take care of themselves.

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