I Don’t Gladly Give It Up

4 Jan

There was an “inspirational” Facebook status roaming around a few months back that read something like this:

“I used to wear mascara and do my hair.  I used to spend hours on my makeup and take long showers.  But I gladly give it up every day for my kids.  Like and share if you love being a mom!”

Look, I get it.  Being a mother *is* the most rewarding job of my life.  We all love our kids fiercely.  But something about the message rubbed me the wrong way and it’s taken me a while to figure out why.

FIrst of all, I detest the “like and share if” posts.  If your status or post is worthy of sharing, you won’t find yourself needing to ask for likes and shares.  I participate in Facebook for the pics of your kids eating spaghetti and your recent drunken Vegas trip shenanigans – not to see your chain mail.

And more importantly, read carefully, the status measures the quality of motherhood by what a woman sacrifices.  It insinuates that if you don’t gladly give up showers and makeup and instead, (like me) begrudge the days when you greet the world with two-day hair and chapstick, that you don’t love being a mom.  It spreads the message that it’s okay (and maybe even important?) to put yourself last when it comes to your family.  This may seem like small potatoes, but I’m committed to keeping it real when it comes to motherhood (and life in general), and this social standard that mothers have to do it all and like every moment only hurts us as a sisterhood.  It makes new moms feel inferior, contributes to risk factors for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, and fosters distance between women.

Two-day hair and chapstick, folks.

Two-day hair and chapstick, folks.

Motherhood is hard enough without the added guilt, don’t you think?

So, I’d like to contribute my own mantra.  It goes a little something like this:

I love my kids.  You love your kids.  And it’s important to take good care of them – to meet their physical and emotional needs.  But I’m important too, and that’s okay.  I want to set a good example for my children and to teach them about self-care and life balance.  There are days I will wear makeup and there are days I won’t.  And it’s okay if I hate the days I won’t.  I don’t have to give up the woman I was to be a great mom.


8 Responses to “I Don’t Gladly Give It Up”

  1. Charity January 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I needed this message this week.

  2. Alta January 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    Like. Very, very much like. 🙂

  3. Lea January 4, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    Wow. Well said Susan. Proud of you for writing that. So true.

  4. Alison January 5, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    YES! I’m all for letting it all hang out on really bad days, but I’m committed to feeling good about myself too. It’s okay to be both, without the guilt and the judging from other people.

  5. maggiebtrfly January 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I love this! THANK YOU! Sharing…

    • learnedhappiness January 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      I’m so glad you liked it. Mamas gotta stick together!

  6. tranquilamama January 7, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Susan, I loved this. I needed to hear this reminder again. If I take the time and effort to nurture myself, I feel better about myself. I am a better mom when I take care of me. “I don’t have to give up the woman I was to be a great mom.” This spoke to me so much.

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