HomeBlogBoundariesHappy Martyr’s Day! ..wait, that’s not how you spell Mother!

Happy Martyr’s Day! ..wait, that’s not how you spell Mother!

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Between myself and the countless Mothers I know, including the (sometimes) child-free but overly responsible, reliable friends that act like the group mom- there’s a whole lot of Martyr’s out there.

Identifying Martyrdom

Now, I’m not talking about the religious type of Martyr in the sense of the definition though. I’m talking about those who give all that they are to a purpose, role, or cause to the point of their own detriment, no matter how much suffering that might cause.

These Martyrs are the ones out there suffering and sacrificing, giving and giving until there is nothing left of them to give. They sacrifice themself for a cause. Usually, this gives them a sense of purpose or importance and governs how worthy they feel. They may judge others for their perceived lack of contribution too, after all the world is your mirror. It’s the mom who takes on EVERYTHING. The friend that carries ALL of the burdens. The planners and “strong” ones. It’s the ones who CANNOT or WILL not ask for help.

Deep down they feel abandoned and ignored. They often tell themselves that the only person they can depend on to get things done is themselves. They put themselves VERY last in priorities and often wave off any concern shown about that. Often this impacts their health too. After all, an unwatched pot will always boil over. Does that sound like you or someone you know?

Rethinking Motherhood

Motherhood is NOT about sacrifice. Motherhood is about shaping, molding, tending and nurturing individuals into self-sustaining creations. It’s about being able to identify and anticipate the needs of others and teach them how to meet those needs for themselves. It’s a Doing With, NOT a Doing FOR.

There’s an analogy I use a lot with my Martyr Mother clients that might help you here.

A New Approach to Family Life

A Martyr Mother is in a row boat, trying to a tug boat. She chains her family unit (and sometimes friends too) to her own boat, trying to row down the river, pulling 5 boats along behind her, without any other those others attempting to row their own. It’s chaos. Especially when someone she’s trying to tow behind her picks up their paddles and attempts to go in a different direction than she’s traveling.

Instead, She should be teaching them to read the compass to navigate the river, use a radio to deliver guidance and instructions, teach them to use binoculars to look up ahead and guide them on how to row and steer their boats in the direction they wish to go, and warn them of potential dangers and things to look out for while they learn to navigate their own boats.

Which one of those sounds more appealing?

The problem is- when we approach Motherhood from the Martyr perspective, we end up isolating ourselves and burning out rapidly. It’s up to us to set the standards and expectations and TEACH others how to accomplish that. We set ourselves up for failure and burnout when we don’t teach, lead, and mentor our families and insist on doing everything on our own.

Learning to Let Go

I can’t tell you how many young Soldiers I’ve met, fresh out of Highschool that go into the Army and do not know how to wash dishes, plan their days, do their laundry, or keep an area organized, and other basic life skills. As Mothers, we help create and mold our children into prosperous adults. To achieve this, we must let go of control and mentor them on managing challenges, understanding their emotions, and discovering their identities.

I started out my Motherhood journey as a Martyr, and along the way I started learning and began to approach things differently. Here’s some tips that will help you begin releasing the reigns, and start leading instead of sacrificing.

Talking Out Loud: A Path to Emotional Clarity

  • Talk out loud– when you are problem-solving or navigating difficult emotions, talk through your internal process out loud. Children (and adults) absorb a lot more of your actions than you realize. This helps them learn new strategies on how to approach similar issues in their own lives.

Balancing Needs and Preferences in Parenting

  • Needs vs Preferences– This is a control thing. Some things are simply preferences we learn. Not everything must be done exactly as you do it—as long as the end goal is met, let them explore and find their own way. Talk about why you choose to do things a certain way, discuss the pros and cons of their attempts, and be open to learning new ways from them too!

Engaging Children in Practical Life Skills

  • Get them involved– as the mom, you know their strengths and weaknesses, and their capabilities. Give them tasks that they can do to help lighten the load. If you have the time and space to provide mentorship and instruction, give them a task that will help them develop that weakness into a strength, if you don’t, give them something you know that they can do.

Fostering Independence and Anticipation of Needs

  • Teach them to anticipate their own needs. From navigating life, to planning ahead, this holds true. Have them check the weather and ask them what they might need that day, giving them guidance as you go. Before a long trip, inform them of the plans and ask what they’ll need, anticipating hunger or other needs. If they are getting overwhelmed, ask them questions about what they need and how they might solve it. This point applies to all aspects of life.

These may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how uncommon it is. These strategies reduce our mental load, help our families thrive independently, and free us to address our own neglected needs. These strategies boost your family’s self-confidence and teach healthy interdependence without overburdening anyone.

Empowering Mothers to Transform and Thrive

If you are tired, burnt out, and done trying to drag everyone else along behind you, I invite you to schedule a call with me to discuss my 6-month transformation program. I have helped so many Mothers release the root causes that kept them stuck in their Martyr ways and learn how to thrive in Motherhood so they can actually enjoy it without all of the stress and chaos. Are you ready to invest in yourself this Mother’s Day? This is the gift you need. Start here.

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