I came across a book about ex partners, in which it referred to the ex wife and mother as many things, but one of them was a martyr and not in the good way...although I don't know if there is a good way to refer to someone as a martyr. I was annoyed to think of my role reduced to several snarky vapid terms in order to sell a bunch of print. And when someone refers to moms as martyrs, well that just pisses me off, because whether single, married or somewhere in between, the job is fucking hard!
5 days a week, I'm running mad. From 6:30 when I rise, til about 8pm when my son comes out for his final stalling tactic I'm on the go. Rarely, I get a moment (like this) to sit down and write a post before bedtime. At about 11:30, my youngest decides to wake up and demand some comfort, and if I'm lucky, he's down for the night, where I then try to coax myself back to sleep. If I'm sick, too bad, I get up at night and keep on going. I recently had an ovarian cyst burst and as I was laying in bed the next morning listening to the ruckus downstairs, I realized it took three people to get the kids fed, dressed, off to school and the dog taken care of. Something I do on my own.
I somehow manage to tread water with the gabillion forms school sends home, the special days, the 5 day schedules, the visits, the playdates, the parties, the lessons, practices and whathaveyou. I also do all those mundane things like cook, clean, mend. My days off, I'm usually catching up on stuff or passed out on the couch from exhaustion, buried under a pile of paperwork or laundry or take out.
A martyr does all these things, but what a martyr doesn't do is accept help. I do. I have a great support system, whom without, I'd be toast. A martyr doesn't have interests. I do. I pursue them regularly. A martyr doesn't have a social life. I do. I have the bestest besties that ever were besties, a great family and a great social life...when I'm not passed out on the couch.
I don't do what I do because I want to beat my chest and say "LOOK AT MEEEEEEE! I ROCK BECAUSE I'VE SACRIFICED ALL MATTER OF ME FOR MY KIDS, FOR THE GLORY!!!" I do what I do because I have to. Would I like my work load lightened, you bet, but it's not going to happen anytime soon, so I dust myself off, step up to the plate and take my swings. My kids have gone through a pretty rough event in their lives, and in order to help them through it, not to mention, just survive and avoid being buried under candy wrappers and Lego, I have to step it up. That sucks, but that's parenthood, that's life, nothing is static and you have to be fluid enough to accept your new lot and as I've been driving home to my 6 year old "make lemons with lemonade". The less PG version of that is to grab some tequila and salt, which would be my preference, but alas, those damn responsibilities messing with my fun.
That said, if someone tries to diminish this role in some snippy trite way, you bet I'm getting a soapbox because this job is freaking hard and I'm doing a pretty decent job at it! Try filling out umpteen billion insanely redundant university forms (totally different rant altogether) while bouncing a baby in one hand and explaining to your 6 year old lawyer in training, why he's not watching Transformers for the hundredth time. It ain't easy. I don't stand on a perch crowing about it, but I will stand up for myself when someone is snarky about me doing a hard job well. And if that makes me a martyr, then hand me that cross, I'll nail myself to it.