Having entered the Preteen/Teenage Years with three of our four children, I have been dismayed to find how much selfishness I still have lingering under the surface.
I had so smugly believed that every last drop had been squeezed out of me in the Small Kid Years by things like:
– repeatedly having to stop what I needed to do because of having to do things like pull beads, bandaids and peas out of noses and having to call the doctor multiple times in one day to figure out how to get them out. Doctors are much more concerned about used bandaids in the nose in case you ever need to know.
-relinquishing my desire for our only daughter to have long hair because her just older brother could not stop cutting it – the kid loved scissors. She also developed a love for scissors and continued the tradition.
-being late because of things like having to stop to pull a son out of a van where he had somehow enacted one of the new and improved stow-and-go features on the van while we were driving to a family wedding. The little ring bearer was folded up in the seat neatly, wedding clothes and all. I’m pretty sure the poor guy will need counseling because I had one of those ‘can’t stop laughing’ episodes and he didn’t find the incident funny – at all. Now when mentioned eight years later he will smile slightly.
-the late night feedings, cleaning up puke, doing puppet shows from inside the shower to keep the baby from screaming and all of the other many things that all mothers do
I strangely believed, “I can’t be selfish, I’m a mother. There is no way I can be selfish after all these years of taking care of littles.”
Well, I have to tell you that I was wrong.
Now that the kids are teens or close to it, they have their own ideas and quite often they come up squarely against mine. I’m not talking about the ones where I need to hold my own, but the little things that are merely preference and don’t matter. I find out I am selfish when:
-I have my agenda for the day in my mind and they tell me they have things that they have to do too and they need me to drive them. These are things like work, getting things for assignments and unimportant things like that.
-I am lost in my own music that we have been listening to all day long and one of my teens ask, “Would you mind if I put my music on for a while?”
-I find a sock. My daughter leaves socks everywhere. EVERYWHERE. We have found her socks on a garage shelf, in the silverware drawer, in the car, in my coat pocket, in the trash, in my son’s room, in a purse and everywhere else you can imagine. We even got a phone call after visiting relatives saying they found her sock in their driveway. I can be having a perfectly great day and then I see a sock.
Recently I have found out I show a fair amount of grown up bad attitude. One day as I was doing everything the right way and letting the kids know they were doing it wrong, I felt a gentle nudge on my heart. God is so good to stop us in our tracks when we aren’t seeing clearly or acting sinfully.
Does it really matter if the spoon got put in the wrong drawer? Does it really matter that they have two pairs of shoes on the rug instead of one? Does it really matter if you listen to their music that is tasteful, but not your taste? Is a sock on the back of the toilet really going to make or break your day? I really had to think about this one. Does it really matter if your plan for the day has to be a little different than you envisioned?
Am I really training them and teaching them valuable things when I get like that or am I teaching them that I am the only one who matters?
Sometimes I think we moms can hide our selfishness behind teaching responsibility. Don’t get me wrong. There is definitely a time and a place for that, but sometimes we just want things how we want them for no other reason than we want it that way.
Our kids are growing and I’m getting grumpy because their wings are getting on my side of the nest. I’ve always said that it is OUR home. The problem comes in when I act like it’s just mine. Just because I can pull the Mom card, doesn’t mean I should. Sometimes -okay, a lot of times -I’m just flat out being selfish. To mother these half grown ones well I need to be selfless. If I give in when I can, it will give me much more voice when I can’t. Respect comes much easier when you feel respected. Selfishness always stands in the way of good relationship. I am learning and picking up socks as I go.
Word of the Day: Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Prayer: Father, please forgive me for being selfish and wanting things my way in my home. Teach me how to love my family well. Help me to see where I am demanding my own way at the expense of others in my home. Thank You that You can teach me how to love wholeheartedly and selflessly. Help me to love and see my family as you do. Amen.