In almost every conversation with either friends, or fellow business owners, or people I just met - it still surprises me when they come not to me and say, “ I don’t know how you do it, three kids and a business and you make it seems so easy!”
I never knew I made it seems easy. I certainly did not try to make it seem easy on social media.
It’s the mindset that makes me feel like what I do isn’t all that hard.
It is after all, it's my own choice to be a mom, to give birth, and to take on this role. Nobody forced me into this. So I do see a big deal as being a mother.
Many women has done it before me. It isn’t hard, it’s been done for centuries!
I’ve never seen staying home with my kids as a sacrifice because if you think of what you do as a sacrifice, you’ve already set yourself up for failure.
Because as soon as you use words like sacrifice, you transform yourself in to a martyr. The all sacrificing martyr - and no one recovers from being a martyr.
That identity creates a box for you to live in.
“Let me be the one to stay up late, washing all the dishes and prepare lunch boxes for the kids, so that they can have perfect lunch boxes for lunch.”
“Let me be the one to wake up early and send the kids to school, so that my husband can sleep in.”
“Let me just skip lunch so that I can help my team member do their work.”
At some point, you might even grow to resent your role as a mom, wife, boss or whatever it is that you are sacrificing your own needs for.
Especially when what you think you’re sacrificing for doesn’t work out as expected.
The kids doesn’t eat the perfect lunch you stayed up to prepare for them would throw you into a rage.
Perhaps you come home from sending the kids to school in your pyjamas, only to find your husband already up, you know you thought you were letting him sleep in, but you found him just lazing in bed scrolling social media instead.
WORKAHOLISM: “When I’m sleeping, someone else is hustling. My employees are counting on me, I must work 16 hours a day,”
BAD RELATIONSHIP: “I want to be single, but my boyfriend threatened suicide. He’ll fall apart if I leave.”
PARENTING: “My kids has tuition. Those clothes won’t fold themselves. And there are toys everywhere. My husband can’t do it alone. Supermom to the rescue.”
Or this one - I hear it often - “My kids can’t do homework by themselves. They need me to be there right next to them. That’s why I don’t have time to myself to do whatever it is I want to do.”
Can you spot the pattern?
The weird thing is, you can give martyrs 10 ways to overcome the problem and it won’t help.
Martyrs believe that they need to be miserable for other people to be happy.
For example, “supermoms” sounds amazing. Who wouldn’t want to be a supermom? Yet many moms use this label to justify putting themselves last.
Want proof of this? Offer them solutions and watch what happens.
Recommend a helper, she’ll say “Too expensive.”
Childcare centre, she’ll say “Kids may get neglected."
If grandparents offer to babysit, she’ll say, “We won’t bother you.”
Slowly, you realise what’s actually going on. Martyrs have written an identity of powerlessness. And they won’t give it up without a fight.
Because it’s not a solution she’s looking for. She is a martyr and if she accepts the solution, what is really happening is that she has to let go of her entire identity of being a martyr.
That’s why sometimes it’s hard to understand why people won’t accept simple solution - because it goes deeper than that.
And it’s pretty painful to admit you had the power all along. Much more comfortable to stick with the identity you know.
So let’s own up. I’ve never and will never claim that being a mom boss - running a business while raising kids is easy but I won’t use it as an excuse for holding myself back either.
Have you ever made yourself into a martyr? What did you tell yourself to avoid changing?
Share with me in the comments below.