Parenting Sacrifices

Every family sacrifices. Some more so than others. But the fact remains that in some way sacrifices are made. Though in our family, and I hope in yours too, the sacrifices we make don’t feel like sacrifices for the simple reason that the things we give up aren’t important to us.

In a previous post I mentioned that if I cleaned my house, my children would be neglected. I’m willing to have the messy (not dirty, just messy) house in order to have time for all the other things. For me, in order to have a clean house I’d need to give up something else. Time sitting with Ryan, reading, soaking in the tub, sewing, baking, surfing the net, writing posts, or any other number of things that I do regularly. I’ve given it up, and I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t be okay if I had to give up something else in order to have the clean house.

I don’t necessarily believe that parents with clean homes don’t spend time with their children, but I do believe they give something else up. For one person I know she spends huge chunks of time with her child – more so than I spend with mine (but I’ll talk about that some other time) – however she rarely makes her own meals. It would be a lot easier for me to keep up with the rest of the house if I didn’t spend so much time in the kitchen. Just ask Ryan, when I cook, I make a mess. I use every available counter space, and every pot or pan we own (and that’s just for scrambled eggs :p). That’s not far from the truth.

The sacrifices people make might not be in relation to the cleanliness of their home, or time spent with children, but something else. Maybe someone who used to read for pleasure no longer does, but has time with the family and a clean home. Maybe there’s something else.

It doesn’t matter what a family chooses to give up. After all, like snowflakes, no two people are alike and therefore no two families are alike. What does matter is that the decision was easy to make and your particular family doesn’t feel like it’s missing out.

Of course I’m not talking about sacrifices that are beyond our control due to life or financial situation. A family with a new baby sacrifices sleep, a family without a large sum of disposable income will sacrifice the live-in housekeeper and chef. There are certain things we can’t change, but others we can.

When our first baby was born we were told, “You won’t be traveling anymore.” Before her first birthday she’d been to three different countries (including home). When our second baby was born, we were told, “You really won’t be traveling now.” She took her first steps in England. Strangely enough no one’s told us we won’t be traveling now that baby number three has arrived. We like to travel and as such we do give up other things in order to do that. Others may not travel as much as we do, but use their money and vacations in different ways.

Life is full of sacrifices, decisions made, determining what is most important to us as individuals and families. We don’t miss having ATVs or a boat, or a pool, or three TVs or cable or a dozen other things, because other things are more important to us.

I believe that in day to day life the sacrifices should be so subtle as to be barely noticed. If you find yourself constantly wishing you had time for X,Y, or Z, maybe look at what you do spend time doing and see if your time has been spent on things that shouldn’t be placed so high on the priority list.

Some people might think we’ve got our priorities wrong, but that’s okay, they’re our priorities for a reason. Do you realize what you give up day after day? Are you even aware that a sacrifice has been made, or was it so natural that you can say “I don’t give anything up”?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Parenting Sacrifices

  1. Great post. I agree every family is unique. It’s good to hear other people’s experiences as a family, but not always appreciated when they’re held up as cautionary tales. It’s all in the way you look at it, I think. If you are coming from a place of abundance, then sacrifice is a positive, affirming thing for your family.

  2. I wasn’t trying to caution anyone. I do believe everyone makes choices – and I also hope that the choices a person makes for their family are ones that benefit the family and not done because they believe they ‘should’ be done. In my case, if I cleaned any more it wouldn’t benefit my family, but would be done for the sake of others. Instead I spend my time and energy doing other things. I sacrificed cleaning.

    When I say sacrifice, I mean giving up one thing for something else. Not sacrificing in order to make a point or limit the family in anyway. I sacrifice cleaning because I don’t have the time to do everything and I don’t have the money to pay someone else to do it. I don’t believe sacrifice, in the sense I’m talking, needs to come from a place of abundance in order to be positive. There is always a choice. I choose to spend my time and energy in other pursuits.

    I also am not talking about things beyond our control. It can be difficult to see the positive in things beyond our control, but the choices we make create the situations we find ourselves in. My husband makes enough money for me to stay home with the girls, and for us to take a vacation each year. But the trade off is that I rarely see him for more than a few hours at a time. The other trade off is that we don’t have as much money as if I were working as well. We can change those choices at anytime, but we make those sacrifices in order to live the life we want. I believe each family makes similar choices. About career, where they live, in what type of house, what food to eat, whether to do one thing over another.

    And I do believe if the choices we’ve made do not feel positive, then we should look at them and determine if they really are the best choice for our family.

  3. Wow…I think you’re POSTS (sorry, new to this, didn’t realize, they read like an article you’d find in a magazine, well written) are truly amazing, inspiring even. That’s all I meant, I agree with the points you get across…not sacrificing your time doing what you WANT to do for things you DON’T want to do, not caring what people think as long as your family is happy that’s all that matters, others judging you two for your priorities but who cares they’re your priorities…but I think, without even realizing it, that you have passed judgment on others now…maybe your friend cooks like you do, stuff everywhere, and doesn’t like to and so to avoids that and time spent cleaning the mess by ordering out? Not everyone cooks or even likes cooking. More time available to do other things she wants to do (wasn’t that your point?) And about sacrifices…I don’t think families should ever have to sacrifice anything!! Making a collective compromise is one thing…

    You can believe it all you want, but I have never had to give anything up…except smoking and drinking while pregnant 🙂 Sure I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I didn’t ‘give up’ my job…just decided I didn’t want my children raised daily by someone else. And for a while even, Dave was gonna be the stay-at home parent since I was making more than he was. But I wanted to do something else, was bored, so now have all the time in the world to figure it out while he has the opportunity to climb his corporate ladder.

    Know how you feel about the travelling…we were always told too “Well, you won’t be snowmobiling once you guys have kids.” Ha! Now giving up those things would be a sacrifice and we don’t sacrifice anything, so devised ways for the kids to join us instead…a trailer behind the sleds, can even still go to the mountains. Quad seats and racks for them so we can still do that too…and if it turns out it’s something they don’t like later, well, then we’ll find something they do like and can always do both! lol. In this family, there are no sacrifices, there is just great communication and compromise. There is no “Well, we can’t do that.” there’s “We’ll find a way” or “Well, this is planned for this weekend so how about next weekend?” Or, people think you can’t go out anymore, have dinner or do anything with kids…WRONG!! lol, We spend a lot of time hanging out with our friends, dinners, parties…our kids are so ‘wing-it trained’ it’s great! Can always fly by the seat of our pants, they love the unexpected! Staying out late? No prob, they’ll crash anywhere. so easy, and then even sleep in the next day 🙂 You guys got that one figured out with all your travels! Kids don’t mean the end of the world. Even Dave’s new shift…everyone thinks he was so stupid to switch to longer days (only 2 hours longer), and ohhhh, it must be so hard on me, what a sacrifice. Are you kidding!!? 7 on and 7 off…so for 7 days he gets home just in time to finish baths, read stories and tuck the kids in. Then we sit and chat (fold laundry for 5 mins, lol) or hit the hot tub, have a fire outside…just spend time together…then he has 7 whole days off to spend with us and the kids doing whatever we want! It’s like we get vacation week after every week. What sounds bad about that? lol People always say what a sacrifice to have moved to Fort McMurray in the first place…it was the best thing we ever did! Sure we left friends and family behind, but we can always visit. We refused to even consider Dave commuting…home is wherever our family is together so we go too.Kept our chins up, stayed positive and turns out we love it here! There’s so much to do and no limitations…

    That’s the thing though…anyone can just ASSUME because I’m a homemaker that I HAD to sacrifice everything. They can ASSUME I spend all day cleaning my house and no time with my kids or cook because how would I possibly have time to do it all? They can ASSUME we made stupid decisions just because they aren’t aware of the outcome and how great it’s all turned out so far…

    A lot would consider these things sacrifices…but we don’t…eventually sacrifice leads to regret and resentment…we make the choices we do so we won’t have to look back some day and say, “Hey, we should have done that differently.” because ultimately, who doesn’t want to be able to say, “I provided the best I could for my family, I spent all my time having a blast with family and friends, I never missed out on any opportunity and I lived every day to it’s fullest.” As of right now, I can still say that.

    • That’s rather the point of m post : ) everyone makes choices, but the choices shouldn’t FEEL like we’re giving something up. But you did stop working to be home, it might not FEEL like ait, but you did give it up. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog.

  4. LOL, I’m not just enjoying your blog, I love it!!! You have a way with words and making people think, see differently. Such confidence and conviction…it’s very admirable and inspiring.

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