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Sacrificing on the Altar of Motherhood ~ and why we willingly do it

It’s not that I wanted to throw myself on the alter for sacrifice. It’s just that nobody was there to stop me. I had no guidance due to circumstances, not beyond my control, but beyond my knowing. And so, I ran myself dutifully into the ground after becoming a mother. Drowning in anxiety and guilt because I was never taught how to be a mom and still nourish the woman within the mom.

As far as I knew from my meager experience, this was just a rite of passage. Yet, in my heart of hearts, I knew this was not normal or natural. I knew instinctively this was against our evolution. As the eternal student I am, I set out to find answers. What I uncovered, changed my course forever about women, our history, and our many beautiful and honorable roles.

As women we are quite literally hardwired for nurturement, connection, community, and all the care-giving we provide. This is in not only embedded in our genetic blueprint for design, it’s reinforced throughout our history and across cultures.

We have a strong lineage of showing up to help when and where we’re needed. It’s what we do! And we do it with a fierceness of knowing what needs to be done and how to do it.

When we’re well supported in our roles, we do our jobs well. And when we’re in union with other women, we’re a force to reckon with. That’s a fact.

But the problem now, in this current state of our society, is that we have in many ways, lost the keys to our communities. We don’t always have the support born out of proximity. Our ‘villages’ are no longer the norm.

When our landscapes began to evolve away from communal living, we didn’t get the memos or even know how to equip ourselves for such indiscriminate changes. Eventually, we began to wallow in this new terrain, because of the increasing isolation without knowing why.

In this process we lost a learning of how to care for ourselves, truly care for ourselves, by talking about our needs, showing our vulnerabilities without fear, circling routinely with other women, mothers, matriarchs, and relying on others to show us the way (even when we didn’t know we were lost, but our lights grew dim). The teachable and touch point moments were no longer abundant.

And here’s the thing about those lost moments, it’s the little things that make up our lives. Think about it. Life is a series of small teachable moments that when observed and experienced add up to the people we become. Without them, and without the simple acts of being taught, we may never learn.

When we know better we do better.

The moment we realize that we’re not crazy or alone, that somehow this motherhood role doesn’t need to be a role filled with guilt, anxiety, or feelings of overwhelm, or not enough-ness, it’s in that moment that we can begin to turn our ship around.

When we can discern the normal sacrifices of motherhood from the needless self-sacrifices, we can change our trajectory. Understanding the difference between the two gives us an opportunity to pull on tools that help us to create a foundation of well-being and nourishment.

We can do this walk of motherhood while keeping ourselves well cared for. Then we can show up in our many roles in a way that serves, not only the people we love, but ourselves included. We can begin to live the vital lives we were designed for living. Doesn’t that make sense?

But we can’t do any sort of real course corrections without tools for navigation. In life, those tools are the foundational understanding and knowledge of the essentials we need to create and hold in place for support – our pillars of wellbeing –  our pathways to calm (stress should never be the norm), restorative rest (quality over quantity), nourishing foods (this never means deprivation), joyful movement (because exercise doesn’t need to be work), a life richly connected in community and aligned with who we are (never lose yourself).

Think of it like the beginning of your own owner’s manual. Something vitally needed when we’re troubleshooting our own navigation and wondering where we may have taken a wrong turn.

Common sense tells us that it’s a good idea to know more about the body you live in then the technology you use, but when was the last time you had a course in the integration of your body, mind, and soul?

When we can understand how our bodies are integrated with our minds, and why our spirits can suffer so deeply, we can begin to make changes. Simple, doable changes, that over time add up to big results.

Even small hinges can swing big doors.

We all need a starting point when we want to change course. If you want to stop sacrificing yourself on the altar of motherhood, it starts with you saying YES to Y-O-U.

Ready to restore joy, reclaim sanity, and revitalize you?

Join me in my sessions Coping With Stress and How to Rest Better and learn concrete tools to take care of yourself and meet challenges as they grow.

Written by Circle 4 Parents Coach, Certified Holisitc Health Coach and Women’s Wellness Educator Arlene Figueroa. Arlene, the “Warrior Mom of 3,” equips moms for the “everyday life” with rhythm tools and teachings to restore joy and sanity.

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