Have you become the Invisible Woman?

Women are bombarded everyday with messages of selflessness and sacrifice. We learn pretty early that being a good wife and mother means that we always put our family first, which inevitably puts us right square in the back of the line. We hear women commended everyday for being selfless and putting the needs of others before her own, as it there is nothing better that she could do.

There’s no doubt about it, that we women are the nurtures of the family, home, church and even the planet. But what happened here? When did service become about sacrifice? As a mother myself I know that it requires a certain level of sacrifice. The sacrifice that gives me joy that there are people in my life that I love so much that I would give up anything for. The sacrifice I choose to make, not that I’m expected to make. This is the joy and fulfillment of family…done in balance.

But ladies, dare I say we’ve lost sight of what that sacrifice means? I know I did. I took selflessness to the umpteenth degree. Putting my family constantly first so that I could be the good wife, the good mother and I lost myself. I became the Invisible Woman, always available to my children and my husband. My worth became dependent on the happiness of my family. I believed that having healthy happy children depended on my level of availability.

Rarely did I allow time for myself, if ever. And when I did I felt guilty and they had no problem laying on the guilt trip either. “Where were you?” they would ask in a whiney little voice, “I missed you so much.” And the guilt would set in. I came to believe that taking time for my own joy just wasn’t worth the guilt I felt when I came back or the messiness I would invariably come home to. Besides who doesn’t love to be needed and missed so much? It just feels good!

But after time it becomes too much. Being the Invisible Woman means never having any needs or desires and if you do the family doesn’t know how to handle it. “What”, they say, “mom wants to take a bath?” “But I neeeeed something to eat, NOW”. Eventually, because we have denied ourselves for so long the family denies us too. Resentment and exhaustion set in, soon to be followed by depression and anxiety. The Invisible Woman has arrived.

For many women the depression and anxiety manifest into physical illness and we just can’t give any more. It leaves me to wonder if this is the only reprieve a woman allows herself and the illness becomes a welcomed friend. Finally she can be taken care of.

If I had a dime for every woman who has told me that she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore, I would be a rich woman. Our selflessness becomes our slow and painful death. The worse part is we’ve been administering our own poison all along.

Having grown children, I learned that my self sacrifice served no one, not the kids, not my marriage and certainly not me. It actually did the opposite. The more I sacrificed the more resentful and unhappy I became and the guiltier I felt. It became a cycle. I would get angry and snap at the kids, then I would feel guilty and give them anything they wanted (which I resented), so I would get angry and snap at the kids. Around and around it would go.

What did the kids learn from my self sacrifice? That mom’s don’t have feelings, moms don’t have interests, that it’s mom’s job to make them happy and if she doesn’t then she’s a bad mom. I still have two boys at home, so I’m still around a lot of mom’s who are doing a lot of sacrificing. The results are the same unhappy, stressed out women whose kids lack respect and consideration for mom. My heart breaks when I see how the children are allowed to walk over mom as she whines to them to please sit still and behave.

I can see clearly how our intent to be the good mother through sacrifice as actually done just the opposite. It has robbed not only us but our family of the whole person a mother can be. When we fill our well, so to speak, with the activities that nourish our soul we have so much more to offer those we love. The Invisible Woman is not the good mother. Stop fooling yourself and start filling your well. Bless your family with the Divine Woman you are and give from the fullness of your well (heart).

Now my children know me as a human with needs and wants. They know me as a woman who will make time for my needs and wants. The message is that I matter as much as they matter and they respect me it. I have learned after years of over the top self sacrifice that I can have it all, all at once. I learned that I can mother from a sense of wholeness. I am proud to say that I have become Visible Woman and I’m a better mother for it.

You can have it ALL, all at ONCE!

Come be Visible!

Author's Bio: 

I delight in teaching busy, overwhelmed and stressed women how to create 2-hours of “Me Time” every day without taking anything away from their family. Guiding women to make themselves a priority in their lives despite other obligations is my passion and my joy. I am the author of “Fall in Love…with your Self” self-hypnosis CD and “The 26 Hour Day” a free report. My website is www.WomanWithoutApology.com