I’m not a martyr, I’m a Mama.

IMG_2278 Addendum: Thanks to some wise words from a reader, I need to clarify.  This is not meant to be a blanket statement towards all parents. I firmly believe that parents dealing with serious issues like disabilities need whatever platform they can get. My main point is that we need to choose our words on social media carefully because our negativity can easily bleed onto our children. I’m not trying to sound calloused, please know that. This is a hard gig and I’m convinced there are days when my son is trying to take me down. But we can’t continue to tell our closest 1500 friends on Facebook that our kid is the worst because while this gig is hard, we are capable of handling it with God’s help. My mama told me that if we can serve without complaining while encouraging others- that’s where the good stuff is.  That’s how the Kingdom is built.


I’m not going to make any friends with this post, in fact, I might lose some. But it’s been stirring around in my brain for awhile. In fact, it stirs around every time I see a “cryfest/I’m a martyr mom” article floating around on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that parents need a safe place to vent about some of our struggles, but do I think that we need it more than anyone else? I just don’t know.

Here’s the thing, we aren’t martyrs.

There I said it, commence angry comments NOW. But I think it’s true. We are strong women and men who (most) of us have chosen this path of parenthood. We are badass and strong. We aren’t martyrs, we don’t need pity.

We can carry a toddler on one hip and 8 grocery bags in the other hand just so we don’t have to make another trip to the car.

We can hear “I HATE YOU!” and still have love in our hearts…. and not punch the person that said it in the throat like I might do if someone said that to me on the street. 

We can make supper, clean a house, have the dog fed, and master a damn good ponytail all in 30 minutes.

But we’re not martyrs. This is what we do as parents. If we keep saying “Ugh I’m SO busy” or “This is SO hard” or “I’m SO exhausted” all over Facebook or Twitter, then what are we saying about our craft? We can handle this parents, we can handle the tantrums, the thrown food, the smeared ketchup on the sofa. But if we keep putting ourselves up on a martyr stand in the middle of the town then someone (probably my kid) will knock us off of it with a toy car.

Lets enjoy this crazy ride and put on our big girl/boy boots because we GET to do this. Blessing… not a burden.


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  • Lori

    I like it! I’m not a mom but I totally get it since I used to work with kids 🙂

  • Jennifer

    There’s a funny moment in the book “sisterland” when one character tells the other that having kids is a problem parents create, then congratulate themselves for solving. Since I don’t have kids, I try to block out the negativity and focus on the people I see who seem to geniunely like their kids and enjoy spending time with them (hence why I read this blog!). I don’t want to know about the bad stuff until I’m going through it, and I appreciate the “we signed up for this” attitude, which applies to many more facets of life than parenting. Great post, as always xx

    • this book sounds hilarious and thanks for your honest but graceful words- always one of your strong suits!

  • Elizabeth

    Hi! We don’t know each other but I think have a lot of common friends from NC. I love your blog and writing! I agree with the spirit and general point of this post but have to say it feels a bit calloused. I can’t tell you how many moms I know (including myself) who have very, not run of the mill, highly challenging situations with their kids due to disability, anxiety, other mental illnesses, etc that leave them feeling completely overwhelmed most days. I’m talking screaming that goes on for eight hours, very difficult behaviors like hitting oneself or others and lots of other similar challenges. While I don’t think it is healthy or wise for parents in these situations to call themselves martyrs, the reality is that their day to day is immensely more challenging, draining, tear- inducing, and fraught with fear and grief than those parents of typical children. I also get frustrated by those who vent on social media, but have come to realize that the people who do most likely lack the support they need. Instead of being annoyed by it, I now correct myself to be compassionate and to realize that they could be living in hell, and to pray that they get the support they need.

    • Elizabeth I totally agree. I did not mean to sound calloused at all- man, I might need to change my wording. I’m so glad you commented because I should have prefaced that this wasn’t meant as a blanket statement for parentsdealing with serious issues. They deserve my applause and any venting support they can find. I think I was mainly addressing the general population on social media who bad mouth parenting instead of embracing it. Seriously thanks again for commenting, I love your words.

      • Elizabeth

        Love the addendum and your thoughtfulness!

  • katie WIlliams

    I LOVED this….I like to think its something I live by each day….QUIT COMPLAINING PEOPLE! You mostly likely asked for this! HOnor it and Him by doing your best!
    Good luck little lady….

  • Fiona

    I agree! I wrote a very similar post 2.5 years ago. http://www.myfille.blogspot.com/2011/04/choosing-to-be-happy.html and I think people LOVE to be cynical.

  • Alicia

    So true! Loved your words!

  • stacy g

    i think this sums up what you are saying…in the form of dance, of course. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTBdOgsYdjM Stalking you from NC. Virtual doula, again if you need me. Love!!!

    • um stacy, this seriously just made my week. ALSO hilarious b/c i was going to call you this week just like i did with bud since i’m overdue and needing some tips and encouragement 🙂

  • Holly Odom

    Martha, so glad that I read this post after having a difficult closing shift at work. Your thoughts are so applicable to our season in life where we are without kids but seem to have so many forces working against us. How soothing can it feel to compare and hate on others, leading me to feel as if I am a martyr because of my own circumstances. Just hearing you say “We are strong… [you can do it]” makes me evaluate the root of my complaining, and more importantly the directed audience. Thanks girl! xoxo!

  • Steph Woods

    Really appreciated this post.