Are you a mom martyr?
Without even realizing it, many moms turn into overwhelmed, worry-mongers that end up doing everything for their kids at the sacrifice of their well being — and often, their marriage.
Not surprisingly, mom martyrs often suffer from anxiety and are constantly worrying that their kids will suffer. While this might sound caring and selfless, this often leads to a dysfunctional dynamic. In fact, mom martyrs teach their kids to be helpless and to rely on others for all of life’s answers. While mom martyrs are overprotecting their kids, they are actually delaying their kids’ emotional awareness and not teaching them problem-solving skills.
Here are 8 signs you might be a mom martyr:
1. Woe is me.
Do you complain about your kids and the rigors of motherhood? Non-stop? Whether it’s about sleep deprivation or how much you’ve sacrificed for your kids, this can be a sign you’re doing too much and putting yourself last. Not to mention, your friends really don’t want to hear about it all the time.
2. Resentment has set in.
Have you ever encouraged your husband to leave the house for some kid-free fun, only to resent him for doing so? If you find yourself stewing over your husband’s ‘fabulous’ life, it might be time to re-assess how much you’re doing for your kids and how little you’re doing for yourself.
3. Controlling much?
Have you become the main CEO of how your family spends every waking moment? If there’s no room for spontaneity, and you’ve become one big ‘to-do’ list, it might be time to loosen the reigns a bit.
4. Refuse childcare.
Do you refuse to hire a babysitter? If you are forever declining a fun girls’ night out or a much needed date night with your hubby, the more controlling (and isolated) you are becoming. Not to mention, if you are forever complaining about how you need a break, and then you do not accept people’s offers to help out, you have officially entered martyrdom.
5. Bad boundaries.
Have you ever set a boundary (like asking your kid to clean his room), and then when your child does a half-ass job, you praise him anyways? Telling your kids to do less, while mom does more, only teaches them that life will be easy. Doing everything for your kids does not teach proper work ethic, instead, it encourages laziness. As well, you are teaching your kids about learned helplessness. In other words, your child will always be seeking out others to do everything for them – including solving their problems – if you refuse to set boundaries and use appropriate follow-through.
6. Agreeing, with a pout.
Are you a passive aggressive mama? Do your kids push your limits, leading you to say ‘Yes’ to their requests, all the while you’ve got a pout on your face? This is a sure-fire sign your kids don’t respect your boundaries and you’ve lost control of what is important (such as learning to say ‘No’ to your kids and learning to say ‘Yes’ to you).
7. Perfectionism & over-performing.
If your pantry is full of organic food, you’ve followed your daily quota of educational activities, your house is immaculate, your kids are happy, and you’re still not pleased with your mothering, there might be a problem. If you suffer from mommy guilt, paired with a habit of over-performing, you might need to assess your mom martyrness.
8. Secretly judgemental.
Do you find yourself secretly judging other moms? Are you critical of your husband’s parenting skills? It might be time to stop criticizing others, and take some responsibility for yourself. Don’t forget that when you point your finger at someone else, there are 4 pointing right back at you.
Can you relate to any/all of the above?
Unfortunately, your efforts to be a good mom might have turned into some negative (and often annoying) coping skills. It might be time to take control of your feelings (instead of trying to control everyone around you), set boundaries, hire a babysitter and regain your identity away from the family.