Sacrifice


When my kids were younger, I often heard people referring to the sacrifices that all parents make for their children. They talked about all that they had given up, what they had lost, what they no longer enjoyed or experienced, caught up as they were in meeting the needs of the little ones in their lives.

I knew what they meant, and I certainly felt my share of frustration as a Momma, but for the most part, I didn’t really mind. In our case, the sacrifices were pretty insignificant (no more pulp in the OJ…..not a big deal!) and were offset by the gift of their kisses.  I wasn’t really aware of having sacrificed much in those years of my Momminess.

But now the kids are grown and gone, and I have more time to look at my life, and at myself.

And now I can see that I did sacrifice one thing while trying so hard to be a good Mom.  I have worked for 17 years in a school filled with like minded teachers, people whom I like and admire.  I have had fun with them, I’ve learned both with and from them.  I have laughed with them, cried with them, sometimes fought with them.

But I didn’t hang out with them.  I didn’t socialize, other than once a year for an hour or two at the “end of year party”.  I wasn’t aware of it back then, because my focus every day was to get home to the kids as fast as I could.  I had my school life and my home life, and in my heart and mind they were two distinct worlds.

It is only now as I see the closeness between my colleagues that I am aware of what I missed.  They see each other on weekends and in the summer. Their husbands are friends, and their kids play together. They are a wonderful support group for each other, and I find myself mostly on the outside.  I know that it is no one’s fault but mine, but it still makes me sad.

In the past two years, since my last chick flew out of the nest, I have tried to forge some links with the other teachers.  Some Friday night drinks, dinner out once in a while, even a couple of summer visits.  It hasn’t been easy; I’m the old lady in the crowd, and I make no claim that I could keep up or fully fit in.  Still, sometimes I feel a little lonely as I see them leaving in groups.

It was a sacrifice that I didn’t feel at the time, and a choice that I would surely make again, but now I can see what I gave up by wanting to be at home.

And here is the part where my smile comes back.  I’m slowly realizing that I am a part of the life of my school.  I do have some friends!  I’m even invited to a couple of weddings, and not because I’m the old aunt that you can’t leave out!

I kinda feel like the cool kids are inviting me to a sleepover.

17 thoughts on “Sacrifice

    • Iam SOOO not one of the cool kids. Come to think of it, I wasn’t one of the “cool kids” in Junior HIgh or High School, either, so I shouldn’t be surprised!
      Still, its nice to think that you might think of me that way!

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  1. I am glad you made the effort to reach out and that you are making connections. It is easy to put your own life “on hold” during those child-rearing years but nice to carve out your own niche later on. Good for you!

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  2. I was just thinking that today . . . I stayed at home until my youngest was in eighth grade. When I went back to work, I lost touch with my “mommy” friends (and I’m sure you can understand why – teaching is overwhelming). I did make great “at school” friendships, but now that I’m not working anymore, it’s just me and my husband and the dog. I’m okay with that, really, but I sort of wish I wasn’t, at least enough to force myself to be social.

    Your post might just motivate me to reach out a bit to my former teacher friends (and mommy friends). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

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    • H’mmm. Somehow I thought that maintaing all kinds of relationships was effortless for everyone else but me. My Mom has raised six kids and maintained close friendships with old neighbors, her work friends, relatives from far and near. I thought that I was the only one who sometimes feels just too tired to do more than curl up on the couch…Thanks for helping me to realize that its truly difficult to manage all these pieces of life!

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  3. You are not alone. All my social relationships were linked to my kids and now they’re gone. Most of the parents have younger kids in school and they have new friends that are connected to their younger friends. That’s okay. But I do need to socialize more. I’m trying but I could easily be a hermit.
    And we had to give up the pulp too when the kids were here!

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  4. Nope, not alone. When my son was born, I missed out on forming bonds with other mom friends because my husband worked nights and I chose to stay home with him and my son during the day instead of hanging out with the girls. It was our family time when everyone else was doing mom stuff. When everyone else was having family time, I was alone. Things have worked out now, but it was a lot of work to try to fit in. And I know I’ll go through it again when I go back to work. Being a parent is more complicated than just raising kids, isn’t it? I wouldn’t trade it for anything either. I prefer my family over my social life and if one night a month with the girls is what I get, that’s what I get.

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    • Good for you! I truly meant it when I said that it didn’t feel like a sacrifice at the time: I really liked the company of my family more than of anyone else!

      Now, though, I wish I had lived closer to work, and maybe my family would have gotten closer to some of my coworker’s families. Still, life is full of choices, and its what I do now that counts for how I feel now, right?

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  5. Two of the attorneys at work and a coworker have been after me to find a time when I can stay in Worcester after work and we can all go out to dinner. I have carefully selected 2 dates that worked, but then things came up, and they didn’t work, so I have yet to actually make it out with them. I too love being a Mom, and don’t consider any of it a sacrifice, but there are times I have to remind myself that I am not only a Mom and a Wife, but I’m still ME, and Me needs some time with friends, or alone time, or time that is all about me. And so do you! Enjoy it cool kid!

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  6. This blogging world does so much more than connect us with people. It’s friendship, caring, support and validation.

    Loneliness is rampant in our countries. The saddest loneliness is when someone has others in their lives, but not in an intimate, soul-sharing manner.

    I had to make big changes to my expectations over the past two years.

    I retired a bit early, a childless, divorced, career woman with many contacts, friends and acquaintances. While working, I made a point of managing my time so I could meet friends when they really needed to talk.

    I think I’m being given a “parenthood” experience these days. While I moved heaven and earth to be available for them, I realize the time generally suited their schedules. Now, when I would like their company, unless it was an emergency, they can’t squeeze me in.

    (I don’t want to be squeezed in! :D)

    I think to myself, “Is this how my mother felt? Did I do this to her?”

    This has developed into a good thing. I’ve become involved as a volunteer in various community activities that give me a sense of purpose and continued usefulness.

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    • You are right, Souldipper; we all deserve to be more than “squeezed in”. Like you, I keep questioning myself when wish that my kids would be around more often: “Did I make my parents feel the same way?”
      I guess its good that we are thoughtful about our relationships with others, isn’t it?
      Good for you for getting back out there, and for volunteering. I keep trying to keep my eyes forward, but sometimes its hard.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I am in graduate school again after many years as a wife and stay-at-home mom. I’m older than all of my classmates, who are in their 20s, single, and socialize a lot together. I’m also the only one in my class who has a husband and a daughter, and like you I rush home after class to get back to my family. This post is a good reminder that everything is a balance. It’s true I don’t feel I’m missing out when I choose my 4-year-old over going out for beer and 25-cent chicken wings. But on the other hand, I shouldn’t forget to socialize when I can. I have a lot of fun when I’m out with my classmates; It’s just that as a wife and mom I actually have to remind myself of that since it doesn’t come naturally 🙂

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    • How wonderful that you can appreciate both parts of your world! It sounds like you have the right balance, to me; those beers and wings are fun, but the moments with your little girl are priceless!
      One thing that I didn’t add to my post is that my children and I (and Dad, too) are still very close and we still love to spend time together, so I think that I made the “right” choices back then, too. I just didn’t realize at the time that they came with a cost.

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