At what point does another sacrifice on behalf of a mother become too much, yielding an inherent anger towards those of us who have not chosen the path of motherhood? Is it an issue of “who thinks they have it more difficult” or is it an issue of “mothers regretting their choice to have kids”? Have you ever been made to feel guilty about your choice to pursue a life full of pleasures of a different kind? How did you respond?
I was recently accused of not understanding or appreciating the level of sacrifice that another woman with children makes on a daily basis. Apparently this woman felt the need to share with me her resume of sacrifices made over the past 16 years as part of raising 3 kids. Juggling schedules, working 3 odd jobs to put food on the table, being absent from family gatherings – all a result of constant at-home and children demands, etc.
While I have watched from afar several friends, sisters and colleague deal with the many challenges of raising children (including finding time for themselves), I respectfully disagree that those of us who have found ourselves in the situation of not having children don’t understand a mother’s challenges. As woman we all experience stress, we all make sacrifices, every day is a negotiation, however our definition of sacrifice and how we choose to negotiate may not be the same depending upon whether or not we choose to become a parent.
A working mother today may define sacrifice as not being able to spend enough time with their kids in order to put food on the table, or may prioritize her children’s need for clothing, tutoring sessions, extracurricular activities, school uniform or college tuition all over her need for that massage or glass of wine that she often dreams of. A stay at home mom may view giving up a promising career as her sacrifice to raise her children. However women without children make their own sacrifices – many of which go unrecognized by women with children.
Has this woman ever considered that we’ve sacrificed never knowing what it’s like to birth our own offspring, or watch a part of ourselves grow into a human being? Always wondering who will take care of us when we are older or incapacitated and not able to make decisions related to our own well-being? Whether by choice, chance or circumstance, those of us without children might have extra time on our hands, money in bank or ability to knock off travel destinations on our bucket list more quickly, but let’s not forget, that we will never be surrounded by our naturally born children or their children on our death bed.
I’m curious - at what point does another sacrifice on behalf of a mother become too much, yielding an inherent anger towards those of us who have not chosen the path of motherhood? At any rate, I felt that this woman’s words were “punishing” to an extent – as if they were purposely made to make me feel guilty about my choice to pursue a life full of pleasures of a different kind.
Have you ever been in this situation before? How did you respond? What sacrifices do you (a woman without children) make on a daily basis?