In the middle of my nightly routine a few days ago, I realized (with a shock) that I had forgotten to schedule some needed dental work. Dental work that was recommended I get done almost six months ago. We had our regular cleanings scheduled for the next day. In fact, I think the only reason I even realized I had missed setting this appointment up for myself.
As I relayed this story out loud to my husband, he both laughed at my forgetfulness and commiserated with me. How in the world I could disregard something so important?
I realized this dental mishap was the story of my mothering life…
I would never in a million years forget something like this that my children or husband needed…but because it was something that I needed—it went by the wayside. The more I thought about this event, the less comical (and more frustrating) it became.
How is it that when we become wives and mothers, our self-priority somehow diminishes? I know this was certainly the case with my mother, and I’ve seen it happen time and again with many of my friends. What is it about having children that causes us to put ourselves last on the list of importance?
I pondered this over the course of a few days. It was then that I realized I didn’t fully understand why self-sacrifice and motherhood are so related. I do understand, however, that as my children have gotten older (my youngest is now 3), I feel like I am starting to prioritize myself a bit more—making sure that health, fitness, and mental self-care are part of my weekly happenings.
As I thought of the word “sacrifice,” I concluded that in terms of my motherhood journey, “sacrifice” equals “service.”
When I viewed it in terms of service to my family—it suddenly didn’t seem so horrible that I forgot something so important for myself, because I know that what distracted me was serving my family. Service in the form of ensuring my husband, my children, and my home were taken care of and provided for.
Maybe you are unable to prioritize sleep, healthy eating, exercising, time alone, time with your spouse/friends, or even dental care right now. Perhaps you are in the deep trenches of early motherhood, where it doesn’t seem as if you will EVER be able to prioritize these things.
Hang in there, mama.
The day will come when your children are grown, and all you are left to focus on is yourself. So, while I may forget about the importance of my teeth every now and then, I will be hanging on (with all my might) to these tender years where my little ones still need me to serve them so completely.