Sacrifice is a huge part of parenting. I've written about my thoughts on this before ("Dreams" "Losing Yourself") but it's something I continually come back to. How much sacrifice should we make?
It's easy for me to make this call on the every day decisions. Sacrificing for one more hug when you really want some personal space. Sacrificing your 20 minute shower, because your son thinks the death star should be built on the toilet. Sacrificing your peace of mind because they are begging for just one more game of Simon Says (which actually turns into 20!) Sacrificing your standard of cleanliness, because they think it will be more fun to paint with their elbows.
But what about the bigger decisions? Sure, I gave up my love for fancy cars for the really sweet, practical minivan I drive. That wasn't too painful. I chose to stay at home, sacrificing my desire for a career, to raise the kids in a way that I think would be best, and allows me to be present for all of the big and little moments at home that I'd hate to miss.
I think most people would agree that sacrifice is necessary to raise emotionally healthy children. But when do you stop sacrificing? Or do you not ever stop? I am not writing this because I have a clear answer coming at the end of this paragraph. I actually want to know. When is the sacrifice too great?
Going back to school when your kids still need you at home? Waiting until they are in kindergarten until you start working again, even though they still need you, maybe more than ever, to be fully present in their lives? I could keep going with even more difficult decisions.... staying in an unhappy or unhealthy marriage for the benefit of the kids? Staying a single parent, for fear of allowing your attention to divert from your children....Staying in an abusive marriage (and no I am not insinuating that I actually have all of these problems! just drawing it out down a slippery slope)?
Love is more than a noun -- it is a verb; it is more than a feeling -- it is caring, sharing, helping, sacrificing.
- William Arthur Ward