Anyway, I want to address a few of the comments, which is something I wanted to do days ago, but, of course, my schedule got in the way, as it does often.
There were two "Anonymous" comments (I swear I won't bite you, mystery people. Even if you don't feel comfortable leaving your real name here, make one up and leave it at the end of your comment. It's much more personal than my now having to address you as "Anonymous 1 and 2"...and it helps me avoid spelling "Anonymous" incorrectly 15 times too).
To make things easier, I will refer to the Anonymous comments as A1 and A2.
A1 made an interesting comment. Here's what she said, in part:
Why is it that there is so much disdain towards moms who truly do not feel the need to get that one day a week to themselves away from the kids? Why is it thought that there is something wrong with those women or that they must feel like their lives are so not their own?... those of us out there who feel the way I do are just plain annoyed with people mockingly calling us martyrs and the like. Our lives are better because of our children - we don't get sick of singing the ABCs, it isn't a task for us to take 4 or more kids to the market or to the park. Why is that so hard to understand for some?
I agree with Mary's response to A1's comment wholeheartedly. A1, it sounds to me as if you have struck the almighty "life-in-balance gold" for which so many others (myself included) are still searching. You work out two hours a day at the gym. You make time for your appearance, and your interests, and you don't feel as if your kids are sucking the life out of you. Because you are actually able to take time for yourself, you don't feel burdened by motherhood. Mommy martyrs don't take that time for themselves, and give and give and give to their children to the detriment of themselves and their goals. As Meagan said in her comment, moms who do this end up miserable in the end.
There is nothing wrong with a mother who loves every minute of "mothering." Personally, this does not describe me (not even close, especially lately), but I know several women for whom being a mother is the only thing they've ever wanted, and they are happy with their lives. But for me, I am as Jess said: My running and my work enable me to be a whole mommy, and not solely a mommy. I could not hack it as a traditional stay-at-home mom. But that's just me. It may not be you. And that's okay.A2's response nicely sums up my own views on mommy martyrdom. She says:
My mother is a mommy-martyr. She became nothing but her children, she had nothing outside of us, and when we grew up and left she was alone with nothing. I swore I would never turn into the invisible woman, that I would have something for myself and be someone that my children could be proud of. I swore this, whether I worked or not. I am lucky to have a job I love, a job I would do for nothing if I was independently wealthy. I love my children too and I love that I can arrange my schedule to be with them, but I will also be myself too.
Much as I love them, I cannot and will not live solely for my children. I do not want to wake up in 20 years and realize that I have completely lost myself to motherhood, and that I cannot identify where my children end and I begin. And above all that, I want my kids to be proud of not only the mother I am, but also the woman I am. I want them to see from my example that they can accomplish anything they want: that they can run a half-marathon, work and raise their families at the same time (although at times, it is certainly a struggle), climb Mount Everest, go to cooking school, or whatever it is they desire most.
Motherhood is incredibly important to me. I went through more than most to achieve it. But other things are important to me too. I'm still in the hunt for the balance others like the first Anonymous commenter has already achieved. And it may not come until all my kids are in school. But until that point, I will gut through the insanity of my current life. I will wake up at 6 to work and finally turn off my laptop at midnight. I will run at 7am or 11am or 4pm or 8pm because a regular running schedule will not work for me right now. And I will bitch and complain for the next few years until some semblance of normalcy returns to my life.
Some mothers might not require theirs, but I need my blue dress to keep breathing.