Are you a Martyr Mom? You know, a mom who sacrifices everything for her family and puts her own needs dead last on the priority list. Who gives all her energy, strength, and focus on meeting the needs of her children and forgets about her own.
The definition of a martyr is to lay down your life for someone or something you feel is more important or valuable than your own life. Wow, that’s powerful… seriously.
And a mom laying down her life for the needs of her family may sound like a noble and selfless picture of motherhood, but let me tell you vehemently that it isn’t. That’s because when God created the woman – He made her a woman first… then a wife… then a mother. Well, at least that was the intended order.
It was never intended for us to forget about our amazing identities as women so we can then become worn-out, over-stressed, and cranky mothers.
It was fully intended for us to hold on to our pre-baby selves while embracing the amazing season of motherhood as it unfolds.
And motherhood doesn’t always unfold pretty… like those awful fitted sheets, nobody knows how to fold!
Why Moms Should Put Themselves First
I want you to imagine for a moment, a beautiful vase being used to pour out water into smaller glasses. That beautiful vase represents you being poured into the little glasses… those are your children. Everything’s great when you’re filled up and they can easily get your nourishment.
This is actually a picture of what motherhood should look like. Being able to easily pouring out what your family needs most.
But what about when you start getting low on water in your vase? What about when your vase goes dry? Does your family get what they need now?
Have you asked yourself where the water comes from in the first place?
I’ll tell you. It comes from you filling yourself up with your needs first. Those needs will come in many forms such as:
getting enough sleep
having a consistent devotion or journal time
eating healthy foods
reading a book just for the enjoyment
giving yourself a break
working on a dream you have
meeting with a friend
Those are just examples of ways women, not just moms, need to fill themselves up so they’re ready to be used and serve the world. I don’t know where you are, but I’ve been the mom who never considered how important my own needs were until I totally lost my joy in motherhood. It was a bad place.
Have You Lost Yourself in Motherhood?
When we think it’s OK to deny ourselves completely so we can endlessly give to our families, we’ll ultimately lose ourselves slowly over time. Our identity and needs get placed on a shelf – becoming covered in dust and forgotten over time.
When we allow ourselves to become Martyr Moms:
We stop nurturing our bodies and neglect the signs of our health taking a nosedive.
We stop nurturing our spirit and slowly pull away from our quiet time with Christ – becoming spiritually weak.
We neglect our relationships and become isolated in our loneliness.
We end up taking on too much in an effort to feel valuable in the eyes of others, only to let our peace get entangled by the roots of stress.
We tell ourselves that our dreams and passions must wait for a better time, all-the-while allowing feelings of resentment to run free in our hearts.
I’m certainly not saying that motherhood doesn’t and shouldn’t require sacrifice and change on our part.I’m not advocating that we forget our family and launch into a new self-centered life. I am saying, however, that we’re better able to serve our families when we’re healthy and filled up!
It’s Time to Find Yourself Again!
He created us to be that loving, strong, joy-filled, healthy, patient, wise, and FUN mom. Not the tired, cranky, stressed out, over-burdened, and burnt-out mom.
The truth is, it’s the love I have for my family that causes me to give them all I have and all I am. And that’s OK as long as I don’t leave myself out of that love equation.
As moms, we MUST love ourselves the way that God loves us.
This means giving ourselves unconditional love AND grace… no matter how many times we fall short or miss the mark.
We need balance between loving them and loving ourselves and meeting their needs and meeting our own.
Does that sound like the definition of martyr to you? No, it sounds like the virtuous woman in the book of Proverbs whose price is far above rubies.
Know Your True Worth as a Mom
Almost twenty years of marriage and over 12 years of motherhood has taught me that I’m only able to serve my family at my very best when I serve myself first. Not in a self-seeking “everyone else get behind me” kind of way. But where I learn to love myself the way God loves me and the way I love them.
Where I put myself on the schedule to ensure I’m eating when and what is best for my body. Where I slow down to pay attention to my health and stress levels and make the necessary adjustments before a health crisis shows up.
Where I do things that I enjoy, just for me.
But most importantly, I allow God a real place in my life by connecting with Him on a daily basis so He can lead me into becoming the very best version of myself. Ultimately, our Heavenly Father desires for us to experience the fullness of His blessing every day!
He never intended for His daughters to be rundown versions of ourselves.
Allow Him to show you who you really are, and surrender to His will for you to be all you were created to be. He’ll walk you through every step if you allow Him to.
Have you been living as a Martyr Mom? How have you forgotten yourself? Share in the comments below so we can all decide to change together!