The Martyrdom Of Motherhood: 6 ‘Selfish’ Ways I’m Doing It Differently Than Mom

My mom has never come out and told me I’m selfish, not directly. But my way is definitely not her way.

I love my Mom and continue to discover how wise she is the older I get. That said, I don’t know how she ran her house with a husband who traveled three weeks out of the month, three kids all involved in many school activities and never had a drink…ever. Which is why I think she was always crying and praying to one of her friends over the phone. Mom would take that beige kitchen phone, that had a 10-foot cord, and she would pull the cord down the hallway tangling it with everything in her path, toys, toddlers, laundry, and she would close her bedroom door. When she finally surfaced from her bedroom with happy tears (as she called them), she was able to push through another day.

The ’70s moms never gave themselves permission to be angry because it wasn’t very ladylike and really no one was listening—well maybe Phil Donahue. Moms of the ’70s were sexually liberated and repressed all at the same time because their TV role models were Carol Brady and Edith Bunker, not exactly movers and shakers of their day; those were the “Charlie’s Angels,” but mom would have none of that nonsense.

Today, we have Olivia Pope from ABC’s Scandal to show us just how badass we can be. As working mothers we are fixers, we are gladiators, and we are a mess.

My mom has never come out and told me I’m selfish, not directly. Oh no, moms of the ’70s generation would never do that because they know how to convey your weaknesses with smiles on their faces that have subtext to their subtext.

Then, like Olivia Pope, I had a glass of wine or three and realized I am selfish for the following reasons:

  1. I take mommy time-outs, often.Whether I workout, get a manicure or sit at Starbucks, I have to take some time away from my family to know that me and my life are relevant and have a purpose.
  2. I have a housekeeper who comes twice a month because being bitter about who cleans the toilets is not in my wheelhouse, and there are better ways to spend my time with my children than to say, “Mommy is busy cleaning.”
  3. I don’t iron. I wrinkle-release. (Mom, please stop ironing dad’s jeans. He’s retired and doesn’t go anywhere and they are jeans!)
  1. I make more money than my husband. Notice how this is the fourth bullet and not the first?
  2. My husband is considered a “Super Dad” at day care, and the ladies there tell me how blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband who helps. Not once have I ever been considered “Wonder Woman”—I’m convinced it’s because I have short legs and would look silly in a tights and a leotard.
  3. I yearn to be more, when being a mom should be enough.

My mom tells me how lucky I am to be able to make these choices. It’s not my mom’s fault, that’s how she was raised. That was how grandma and her mother were raised and the cycle of motherhood martyrdom continued.

We, my fellow mommy-warriors, shame each other and ourselves. It’s time to stop the nasty inner dialogue, the mommy shaming, and believing it’s about luck to have or want a better life.

One of my favorite quotes is by educator and coach Bob Moawad, who says, “You can’t make footprints in the sand of time if you’re sitting on your butt, and who wants to make buttprints in the sand of time?”

The best thing about living in the 21st century is the digital footprint I’m leaving behind for my girls. They will be able to see, hear, and read how funny, introspective, sincere, and passionate their mother was at any given moment in time. They will see me fat and thin-ish, they will see me with dark brown hair and be able to watch it grey over time. But the best thing of all is that they will see me.

I will never regret mopping the kitchen floor over bubble-time in the backyard with my babies. I will never feel guilty for not having a hot meal prepared for my family, but will feel blessed when we can share in those duties. Most importantly, I will never leave butt prints anywhere ever.

Rebecca Asher is a writer, author and former stand-up comedian. Asher holds a master’s degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University and a BFA in Theatre from Chapman University, as well as being a graduate from the The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City. Asher’s books include, Little Mouse and Images of America: Keller, Texas (Arcadia Publishing), which can be found on and at Barnes & Noble nationwide. Her One- Woman show, Death by Chocolate, has played in New York and Los Angeles, a coming of age story about dating, dieting and death. Rebecca has acted, directed, produced, and written for TV, film, radio and print.

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