We hear it so often, it has become an unquestioned truth. Mothering is a sacrifice. Mothers are selfless. The decision to have children is a selfless one.
A selfless act is one we do to benefit someone else, often at a cost, great or small, to our own self-interest. I did not choose to have children for their sake. I did it for my own.
I wanted my children. I asked and prayed for them. Not because I wanted to give them the gift of my mothering, but because I wanted the gift of becoming a mother.
I am not sacrificing my time, energy, money, and sleep to my children. I am giving it freely. Because I love them. Because I am grateful to be entrusted with such treasures. Because I choose to. Because I want to.
I want to spend my time with them. I want to teach them and learn with them. I want to feed them yummy food and clothe them in adorable clothes. I want to make a home for them, filled with love and laughter and toys and sticky messes.
I don't love the sticky messes, but I love watching my children light up with joy while they smush playdoh, smear jelly in their hair, cut and paste, paint pictures, dig in mud and eat cupcakes.
It pains me to think of my children, or the time I spend caring for them, as sacrifices. I never want them to feel like a burden to me.
Yes, I get overwhelmed. They out number me 4 to 1. I lose my temper and yell. I'm not always the fun, patient mom. I get tired and cranky.
But I hope that my children always know that they are worth every sleepless night and early morning. Every yawn and sigh. Every ruined shirt and extra chore. Every stretch mark, wrinkle and gray hair.
I would rather have my children than a spotless house, stylish furnishings, a lovely wardrobe, a promising career, a sporty car, a new iphone, a full night's sleep, a nice neighborhood and an extra bedroom.
Compared with the joy and purpose they give me, those things can hardly be called a sacrifice.