I’ve heard a lot lately, “a parents’ duty is to sacrifice”. I think we’ve mistakenly taken Responsibility and replaced it with Sacrifice. They are not the same interchangeable words.
Responsibility = the state of being reliable and accountable.
Sacrifice = to give up as a means to an end, to sell at a loss.
Since when is life supposed to be about how much you lose? Think about the lesson you are teaching your kids with the sacrifice attitude. You are telling them through your actions that they are the center of the universe right now but once they become adults and parents they have to lose everything about themselves….their identities, their joys, their passions. How depressing to have those expectations!
“You can either hold yourself up to the unrealistic standards of others, or ignore them and concentrate on being happy with yourself as you are.”
I think this quote is right on. And the hardest to live by. The expectations I used to have for myself were off the charts in the unrealistic category. I honestly thought I could work full time, be a full time mother, a full time housecleaner, a full time cook, a full time wife, a full time daughter, a full time friend, a full time nurse….all the while not asking for help from anyone or be thought of as weak and not worthy. That is pathetic! Seriously, there are only 24 hours in a day and nowhere in the schedule was relax, enjoy, savor, pleasure, a full time me.
I want to show my children that life is a pleasure even while they are responsible. I never want them to think that sacrificing their whole lives is the best and only way of life. I love to read, watch movies, do the puzzles in the paper and play volleyball. I am not giving these things up for my children. They have asked if I can stay home and not go out and I tell them that Mommy needs to have some play time with her friends. It makes Mommy happy. And when I’m happy I want to do extra nice things when I’m home.
“If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.”
Maybe you should make a list of what you feel are the sacrifices and expectations you have placed on you : from yourself, your parents, your spouse, your kids, your friends, your boss. Now, which of those do you hate and resent the most doing? Come on, I know there are some if you are very honest with yourself. Okay, delegate those. Right now. Find someone else to do them. Tap into your deepest resources. Think outside of your norm. Start shifting things off your plate. Once they are off, do not put anything else on your plate…better yet, trade in your dinner plate for a dessert plate.
Here’s a few ways I’ve downsized to my dessert plate:
Scheduled time off on the family calendar. Even if I just sit at Barnes and Noble I’m out of the house.
All the grandparents are on Facebook and can see updated pictures whenever they want.
Dry cleaners will pick up and deliver if I need it.
The grocery store will gather my list up. Only used it twice but they are better at sticking to the list than I am!
Dishwasher cleans more than just dishes!
Take the time to organize (and throw out) closets, holiday decorations, cupboards, fridge, and freezers.
Food Swap with others. Fills your freezer up so you are just heating and eating.
Delegated half the chores to my husband and remind myself they are his and not my concern.
Live by the “touch it once” policy. Take care of things right then, don’t lay them on the counter.
Send the kids to the neighbor’s once a week. It’s a trade because I take theirs also.
Christmas is one gift from Santa, one from parents, one from sibling, and stockings. That’s it.
Each kid can do one activity at a time. Right now it’s Scouting on Thursdays.
Now, I have time to spend with my kids teaching them the real lessons I want them to learn in life – take care of yourself, take care of others who truly need help – which, to me, is being responsible.