“You should never sacrifice three things: your family, your heart, and your dignity.”
I hear all too often a version of this phrase, “Well, you know, as a single mom, I have to sacrifice a lot.” I get sad and frustrated every time I hear this.
Is it hard to be a single mom? Yes, of course it is. Do we have to say no to a lot of things? Yes, we do. Do we worry about our children and how we will provide for them? Yes. Can we do all this without sacrifice being the main point of our lives? YES, we can!
First of all, I hate the word “sacrifice”. Here are some definitions:
the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
the thing so surrendered or devoted
a loss incurred in selling something below its value
I don’t know about you, but those definitions just sound horrible to me. Is this really what we mean when we say, “I have to sacrifice for my kids?” Maybe, to an extent, that’s what we mean. But I would rather use terms like “investment”, “creative problem-solving” and “win-win”.
I may just be talking semantics here but the subtle difference in replacing “sacrifice” with “investment” or “win-win” are paramount. It’s the difference between giving up your dream of starting a business and altering your business idea slightly so you can start your business while still being able to put food on the table. It’s the difference between thinking that monthly massages will never fit into your frugal family budget and asking a masseuse if he would be willing to barter with you.
When we sacrifice we are completely denying ourselves of something we enjoy or are looking forward to. Let’s imagine that you’ve been looking forward to a family trip you take every year. Because of extra expenses you’ve decided you can’t afford the trip this year. Sacrifice would tell us you should just stay home and do nothing. Creative thinking, however, allows us to think of frugal ways to enjoy a time away from home but keep it within budget.
Sacrifice can quickly lead to resentment. Investing or figuring out win-win solutions leads to confidence, deeper love with your kids and teaches your children invaluable lessons about creative problem solving.
Lets face it: Too much sacrifice ends many relationships. Many times, as women, we sacrifice our happiness, dreams and self-worth in order to make our partner and children happy all the time. Sacrificing is something you should be preventing, not welcoming or treating like a default.
This is why I will never sacrifice for my daughter. And you shouldn’t either!
Check out my other blog, Heartly Broken, for advice about surviving and thriving through divorce.