Mommy Martyr

January 26, 2016


Yesterday was not a particularly shining day for me. I woke up feeling flat-out sorry for myself for a handful of reasons that now seem too petty and foolish to list. Most of the time Mondays as work days for me, but I had rescheduled our childcare for the week so we could take Ainsley to a doctor’s appointment in a city about an hour and a half away. My mom was planning on coming along so we could make a full girl’s day of it – shopping, Costco, Starbucks, but when the weather turned nasty that direction we decided to stay put and reschedule our appointment.

I was bummed. What was going to be a fun day out of our routine turned into a day at home with Ainsley in the middle of our construction zone with a bunch of mundane tasks on my to-do list. At breakfast Joe told me it would be a good idea to reschedule appliance delivery until another issue in the house was resolved. I snapped at him and told him how I had to have all the hard conversations and he got to “boss me around” (yes, I really said that!) Before he left for work, I told him to go to the gym after work, secretly thinking what a nice wife I was because I was encouraging one of his favorite activities. Meanwhile, I spent my day running errands, grocery shopping, trying to track down a specific brand of wine for a blog project I’m working on, and having conversations about our renovation.

When Ainsley when down for her (short!) afternoon nap, I did the “mommy hustle” and ran downstairs to put on workout clothes, get my 30 minute workout in, shower and be ready for inevitable wake-up 50 minutes after she went down. I felt rushed, per usual, and when she insisted on being held the last 2 hours of the day, more than a little frazzled.

Before Ainsley was born I dreamed about this type of schedule. Where I worked part-time in a creative job I enjoyed and got to invest time and energy into blogging part-time as well. When Ainsley came along it was so hard to be away from her 40+ hours a week and I longed to spend more time with her, something a part-time schedule allowed. But yesterday? Well, it got the best of me.

By the time Joe got home, I was in full-blown mommy martyr mode.

I had to spend the whole day with Ainsley, meeting her needs and cleaning up endless dirty diapers and preventing her from eating construction material. Poor me!

My workout was rushed. It didn’t consist of getting away to the actual gym but instead involved a workout video, free weights and a yoga mat in my messy basement. Poor me!

I had to have tough and/or uncomfortable conversations surrounding our house remodel. Confrontation is not my style. Poor me! 

The last two hours of the day Ainsley needed to be held, meaning I got dinner on the table while holding a fussy baby. My arm feels like it is about to fall off and there is a pile of dirty dishes in the utility sink waiting to be washed. Poor me! 

The list goes on and on. I was stuck in a pity party rut that ended with me blowing up at Joe for not being helpful enough. And then this morning, while doing my devotional and drinking a hot cup of coffee before everyone else woke up, I flipped the conversation and thought about things through Joe’s eyes:

He worked all day and spent precious time away from me and Ainsley while we spent time together. He works a full-time corporate job because he loves the structure, yes, but also because it allows for me to work my flexible job. When I couldn’t find the right wine at our local grocery stores he willingly ran after work to pick them up for me near his work. I got to workout during the middle of the day while Joe had to spend more time away from us to get his workout in later. After his workout, he ran to my mom’s house to pick up a few items for me for our home decor. He woke up early to let our dog out and let her out last thing in the evening, too.

When I flipped the conversation a bit, I realized that the story I was telling myself was SO one-sided. I was playing the mommy martyr game really, really well while Joe was quietly going about doing task after task without complaint. Have you ever had a day(s) that turned out like that? It was a light-bulb moment for me. Not to say that I’ll never act this way again, but taking just a few minutes to think about the other side of the equation put my own thoughts into proper perspective. Now that I’ve had some time for reflection, devotion and quiet time, it’s amazing how my heart becomes softened toward my husband and less focused on me, me, me!

For me, I’m realizing more and more that the key to a good day starts with getting up before the rest of the house. Mornings have always been my favorite time of day, and having a solid hour to sit, drink my coffee and eat breakfast, get in God’s word and then attack a few pressing tasks sets my day on a completely different trajectory than if I wake up when Joe gets up, just 30 minutes before Ainsley’s 7 am wake up time.

Today, I’m starting my day thankful. Thankful for forgiveness and fresh starts and the blessings that abound in my little corner of the world. And when you start your day thankful rather than in pity? Well, it changes your whole day.


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  • Reply Katie @ Live Half Full January 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Man I need this today, thank you!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      You are welcome!

  • Reply Kelsey De Jong January 26, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you for writing about this! Something we all need to hear sometimes! I, too, am guilty of inward complaining on hard days and not realizing quickly enough or being appreciative enough of all that Kley does. I really think it’s a tactic Satan uses to try to make us discontent, because when I think about all that God has blessed me with, there’s no reason to complain! Sometimes I feel terrible for complaining about something Norah did, when in reality this is what I always wanted! I always wanted to be a mom and now I am! Thanks for sharing your thankfulness perspective.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Oh I feel you on this one, Kelsey! Kids are such a blessing and I wanted Ainsley so very very badly. And I didn’t even touch on the guilt I feel when I treat her like a burden rather than God’s greatest blessing. So thankful for your friendship and constant Godly perspective on life, marriage and motherhood.

  • Reply Kelsey M. January 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I SO needed this post today. I’ve been having a major pitty party the past few days. Thinking about all of the things “I” have to do and everything that my sweet husband doesn’t, all while ignoring all the many, many things he does do. Thanks for this perspective flip. Definitely saving it for the case of the martyrs comes back!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      It’s so easy to do and totally normal. I have been so encouraged to hear that I’m not the only one who falls short in this area from time to time. I’ve been really challenged lately to constantly be thinking of the good, positive things that Joe does, rather than constantly looking for ways he falls short. I feel like he offers that grace to me, and sometimes I’m not so great at extending the same kindness to him.

  • Reply Emily January 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for being real and honest — I think many of us have these days more frequently in the Winter months. Especially with active kids who need to release energy 🙂 After having a few weeks of feeling like a ‘mommy martyr’ I told myself that I need at least 5 minutes to myself in the morning for quiet, reflection time. It’s amazing how that 5 minutes can get my day started right, and I can be a happier mom, wife, friend, co-worker… Again, thank you for being real!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Oh YES! The winter months are the hardest, aren’t they? I sent Joe a text of a quote I saw yesterday that said “I’m sorry for what I said when it was winter” and it’s so very true. Getting out in the fresh, warm air is so good for everyone in the family and I can tell that some days Ainsley feels cooped up and over it, just like me.

  • Reply Katie Dowdy January 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I had this exact same day yesterday…I ended up blowing up at my husband because I had a bad day and didn’t feel good, and it wasn’t his fault. I had had a stressful weekend, practically watching the baby by myself all weekend, and by monday night after work, I was beyond exhausted and took it out on him. I apologized over and over and still feel bad about it today. I should have been more empathetic to him, after he had worked a 10 hour work day and I know he was exhausted too. I pray I get better at this.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Husbands have such a good, silent way of just going about doing their job without complaining, don’t they? I swear Joe hardly ever complains about the same things I complain about. I realize our experiences are different and our roles tend to be, too, but I’m challenged to be more like him in his servant attitude toward our family. Thanks for the comment! Hope you get a little more “me” time in the next few days.

  • Reply Debi Wendt January 26, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    That line, realizing how one-sided that converstation was, was very eye opening to me. Excited for the fresh perspective.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? I realized everything I was thinking about was “me, me, me” and it’s a game changer to think about others and how they must be feeling.

  • Reply Millie Carter January 26, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    I had this same day yesterday. It’s tough! But I might give your 1hr before everyone else wake up idea a shot. I just find that I need more me time the way I had it before I became a mom to just get my head straight for the day and figure out what needs to happen.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      I saw you had posted something like that on the momma group, didn’t you? About waking up earlier to get a good start on the day. I agree with needing more “me” time – as a natural introvert it seems that time without other people is in short supply these days. Here’s hoping you find a little more time for you in your new schedule, too!

  • Reply Valerie January 26, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    You verbalized exactly how I’ve felt before…yeah sistah! It’s tough to fall into that martyr mentality, so tough, but I need to sit back and reflect on things and give myself an attitude check. Thanks for the reminder!

    And I’m the same about having time to myself before the day starts (it makes me a happier, less stressed person!) Just wish the little guy wasn’t up at 6am 🙂

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Oh boy! Thankfully Ainsley doesn’t wake until 7, but if your little guy is up at 6 that is some serious early morning quiet time! Glad to know we are all in this together. 😉

  • Reply Julie January 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    This was a great post! I think we all have days like this from time to time when we’re not our best selves. At least you have the self-awareness to be able to see it from Joe’s perspective. It sounds like you have a good hubby there, & I know it’s mutual. 🙂 It’s also amazing what a difference some quiet time in prayer can make, isn’t it?

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 27, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Quiet time is something that is so easy to overlook because it doesn’t really seem “necessary” in the moment but it’s absolutely the most important part of the day. I’ve been trying to be more and more intentional about getting up, getting my quiet time in and starting my day earlier than usual. Not always perfect at it. 🙂

  • Reply Andrea January 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks for your honesty! I have definitely had days like this–and often remind myself that parenting is not a competition. Sometimes staying home with the boys feels more like a job than a blessing, but that doesn’t make it any less important! I’m sure there are days my husband would much rather stay in comfy clothes and hang around the house with crazy boys than go to meetings and work with difficult people!

    • Reply Madison Mayberry January 28, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Yes! That is so good. Parenting is not a competition. But yet somehow it is easy to get into that mindset? Such and such did this so well and the are so patient and composed and invested, etc. So thankful that it isn’t a competition and we were chosen by God to be our children’s parents for a unique reason.

  • Reply Kristin January 29, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Have you thought about baby wearing? I wear my son all-the-time while doing chores or chasing around my 2year old. I use the LilleBaby carrier so he can face in or out. He loves watching me cook, do dishes, etc and my arms don’t ache anymore!
    Otherwise, YES!

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