Sacrificial Choices-On Choosing Them Over Me
(The Accidental Mommy)
Disclaimer: I believe there are women who have figured out a way to do this successfully, so this is in no way a disparagement of those career women who have their cake and eat it too. I’m talking about the rest of us—the majority of us who are either unwilling or unable to walk the tightrope between being a great mother and having a great career.
In my stint at home, I have read at least a hundred articles (in between the washing, drying, folding, putting away, wiping, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, homemaking of it all), that praise women for making strides while at the very same time bemoan the fate of the family unit, the stress of 2 income families, the emotional and psychological damage to children when moms are not available and dads are unable to take up the slack.
And you know what? I agree with all of those articles and studies.
Now, there are women out there with it all—a plan, a timetable, a loving mate, a supportive family, and money to bankroll all the bells and whistles that come along with having a baby, from nappies to nannies. These ladies do not have to change their lives or their plans or their visions for themselves to be successful parents and career women.
And then, there are women out there like me—for whom having a family (while a beautiful and blessed process) becomes a lifetime of choosing. I speak for those of us who, despite our best intentions, really do have to make some serious choices about what we want.
When we had to make the decision to move from Chicago I fought it with all of my heart. Usually the person in our relationship to acquiesce without incident, I became violent in my vehement opposition to leaving the city that I’d come to love more than cookies and ice cream.
My friends and coworkers were there.
The activities that I loved so much were there.
The feeling of “at home” that I’d never felt before was there.
he opportunity to enhance my education and advance my career goals were there.
I loved Chicago.
For some women, this would have been enough to sever the ties of a relationship—or at least threaten to do so. If I had stayed, he may have left anyway, releasing me from the legal wrangling of custody. If I had stayed, I could live within my means and get help in a multitude of ways to do what I needed to do and live how I needed to live. If I had stayed, I would have had friends around, friends of friends, coworkers, acquaintances, family…assistance in raising my children and getting on my feet again. I didn’t need to stay with him.
But I chose to.
This is just one example of choice making that women experience. Some have had to not take that promotion. Others have chosen to not move to that new city or state. Many have put off higher education to work an unfulfilling job. And they have done it all in sacrificial offering for the families.
For me, I don’t have to deny it to anyone: I hate it here. I am miserable. I hardly know anyone, and those that I have known from my first go around, I no longer have anything in common with. I have chosen to take an even deeper hit of not pursuing my personal goals actively, choosing to take my money and use it for the good of my family.
And yet, while I stew in my misery, my family is so very happy. My kids love their schools, their friends, and their family that is here. My husband (who moved us away from this place the 1st time) has mended relationships and has a life outside of this house. I am the only one drowning in a wave of unhappiness, trying to find my place where I know there is none.
Would I do it again? Probably.
I want so much for my family to be content that I have paid in my own contentment, laying my all on the altar of self sacrifice, choosing to table for a time my own needs to preserve theirs.
Somebody will read this and find that what I’m saying to absolutely ridiculous. And I am happy that you can find this to be silly and foolish—that means that you’ve never been placed in the position to have to choose. But there is someone somewhere who gets where I am coming from, and to that person, I want to leave you with this:
You are not alone. Many of your sisters (of all races, creeds, and cultures) have done the impossible and have pushed your personal desires aside for the good of someone else. But take heart—your sacrifices are not in vain, neither are they permanent.
You see, though I absolutely hate it here, I have developed some traits that I would not have known were possible. In the words of the late Whitney Houston, I really didn’t know my own strength. And in giving up all that I thought I really wanted I found what I needed—inside myself—making it possible for me to continue to dream and set goals in a different way. When you give up everything, you begin to realize what is really important to you.
And I am going after the dreams that survive in the ashes with everything that I have.