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 by things like:
*repeatedly having to stop what I needed to do to do things like pull beads, bandaids, and peas out of noses while calling the doctor multiple times to figure out how to do it..
*relinquishing my desire for our only daughter to have long hair because her older brother could not stop cutting it (the kid loved scissors).
*being late because of things like having to stop the van to rescue a son when he had somehow enacted one of the new and improved stow-and-go features while we were driving to a family wedding. The little ring bearer was folded up in the seat neatly, wedding clothes and all.
*late night feedings, cleaning up vomit , doing puppet shows while showering to keep the baby from screaming, along with a myriad of other small and large sacrifices mothers (and dads) make every day.
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 rather small matters of life that occur when people live together. I find out I am selfish when:
*I have my agenda for the day in my mind, and then they tell me they have things that they have to do, and they need me to drive them. These are things like work, getting supplies for assignments, and other “unimportant” errands of that sort.
*I am lost in my own music that we have been listening to all day 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 noticed 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 everything 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 are 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 sometimes have to listen to their music that is appropriate, 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.)
Am I really training them and teaching them valuable life skills when I do it in a selfish ‘my way or the highway’ way, or am I teaching them that I am the only one who matters?
Our kids are growing, and I’m getting grumpy because their wings are encroaching 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 it is okay; a lot of times I’m just being flat out selfish.
To mother these half grown ones well, I need to be selfless. If I give in when I should, it will give me much more voice when I can’t give in.
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:
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
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.
Author: Wendy Gerdes