“Days are long and mundane. Every need, every ask, every complaint feels like a burden. I’m angry and tired and I don’t want to take care of my children. I love them, but I just want to hide away and do my own thing and have everyone leave me alone. I want quiet and time and long, hot baths with no interruptions. I want to do what I want to do.
I’m selfish and don’t I know it.
“Mommy, will you play dragons with me?” “Mommy, will you do a craft with me?” “Mommy, will you sit with me and watch this movie?”
Most of the time, I just want to go run away and hide.
Motherhood is too hard for me.
I am selfish to my core.
I’d rather write or read or do nothing but drink my coffee and stare out the window enjoying the peacefulness of the falling snowflakes. I don’t want to spend twenty minutes bundling my children up and go outside in the cold and tell them not to throw snowballs at each other’s faces and then rush them back inside because no one went to the bathroom first. I want to be where it is warm and quiet. I don’t want to deal with the mess that comes after the snow; the wet floor, the globs of damp clothes and coats and boots.
In theory, I love the idea of my children frolicking in the snow and coming in for hot chocolate and an old episode of Lassie. But something in the last couple years has changed. I’ve gotten tired, and the thrill of watching my children light up at the glories of a new-fallen snow has been shadowed by my tired spirit. I guess the truth is that I liked watching children explore when it was new for me too. When I had one little one and everything was a grand experience for the both of us. Now, after three babies, the new is gone and I’m back to my ugly root: self.
Selfishness is an ugly, life sucking disease that infests our very DNA. I think I have an extra dose of it.
I long for the thrill of something new. I ache for the joy I once had when I had my first baby. I ache for the hearts of my children, who have been put in front of a TV screen, so I don’t have to entertain them. I ache for my ugly heart, and how desperately I want it to be beautiful and humble like that of my Father.”
How many of you, like me, have found this to be true? God has been showing me how incredibly selfish that I am, and how it literally affects every decision I make, all day long! I was blown away when I became aware of it and watched for it in myself. I always knew I was selfish, (I mean, really, who isn’t?), but this is a whole new level to realize how deep it is in me!
The reason I have a hard time being consistent in discipline and training is because I’m selfish. I want to see my friends and go to the park. I want my house cleaned up and dishes mostly put away. I am too tired or just don’t feel like going through the effort to correctly discipline, because I’m too lazy to stay strong and win the battle. I focus on how hard it is, how I don’t have the energy to follow through and how it’s just not working, when in reality, I don’t put in the effort to be consistent, day in and day out, because of the afore mentioned reasons. I get tired of the repetition when I don’t always see results.
The reason I occasionally snap at my boys to ‘hurry up!’ or half heartily listen to some imaginative story is because I’m selfish. I have some place to be. I’m in the middle of making supper.
The reason I get frustrated with them is most often selfishness. I don’t feel like stopping what needs to be done to deal with some ungodly behavior. I get tired of constantly trying to teach the correct way to ask for something. I don’t want to miss out on good conversation to keep fishing rocks out of my baby’s mouth or chasing after the boy who is constantly running off at the park. I get annoyed when it’s the tenth poop diaper I’ve changed that day because I’m tired of poop and have other things I’d rather do.
I could go on and on. But, seriously, take a look at all those statements! Did you notice how often I said ‘I’? It’s often all about what I want, what I need to get done, or how I feel or don’t feel. Since when is my little world all about me?! I don’t mean to act that way but it seems to be so embedded in me, that it’s what happens if I don’t intentionally do otherwise. I challenge you to, just for one or two days, make a conscious effort to observe your thoughts and actions, and see how much time you focus on yourself. It’s been very eye opening for me and I’m thankful to God and the people He used to point it out to me. It’s been humbling.
“This selfish blood that burns me with guilt and threatens the souls of my children, this selfishness cannot live. I need to bleed it and be filled new with the blood of the One who laid down His very life for those He created. This is the sacrifice we are called to make: “Greater love has no one than this; that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
"The opposite of humility is pride. And it is my pride that keeps me from doing the hard thing and giving up myself for the sake of my children. Pride, that ugly beast that convinces us we are better, above, more important. If we didn’t believe these things to be true we’d easily lay aside our own agendas and offer our lives to our babes in order to give them the time and training and actual love they need. You and I, we love our children to the core of our beings. We would die for them. But for some reason, we have a hard time putting away our books, or our computers, or our crafts, in order to serve them, train them, encourage them, and fill their souls with life every day.
What is so hard about playing ponies? Or sitting and doing a craft? I think it is two fold. One is that it’s boring to play with little children sometimes. Sitting on the floor playing ponies and trying to drum up conversation between Star Song and Rainbow Dash gets old really fast. Two, we know that if we sit down to do that craft, our two-year-old is going to jump in, make a mess, fuss, upset the older ones, and everything is going to go south fast. We’ve done this before, so we know.
Choosing to enter into the mundane with our children, who see playing ponies as anything but ordinary, is a sacrifice of love. Choosing to enter into a project that will probably turn into a training session is also a sacrifice of love. We will have to choose patience and kindness over frustration and giving up. We’ll have to choose to take time to train and teach and perhaps discipline. The choosing to engage means choosing to do the hard work of loving through our actions.”
That is some good reading! Now that I am aware of it, I try instead to focus on my kids, my husband, others and what they want or need. I am trying to lay down my life for others, but especially for those He personally gave me to raise. And trust me, I am not “there” yet, nor do I think I ever will be. Just ask those who know me best. They would probably laugh hysterically if you even suggested that, because it’s so far from the truth. I know how to throw a pity party like no one’s business and it can be a struggle every day, every hour, to lay myself aside. I often lose the battle against feelings of inadequacy, failure and discouragement….most of which are caused because I was selfish. Don’t let Satan tell you that I have it all together and all figured out. Because I sure don't.
In my little world with my boys and man, it can’t be about me. It needs to be about Him. Jesus is the ultimate example of what it looks like to serve. May we look to Him in everything. To God be the glory. In my little world. And yours.
Hope you're all settling in to fall schedules, school days, routines, and bedtimes fairly well! As I posted on Facebook earlier today, I am snuggling my little ones a bit closer today, as I see all of my friends posting back to school pictures and 'I miss them' sentiments. I'll enjoy one last year of no kids in school. I think. ;) Some days I'm ready!
Working on setting a better routine and schedule that works for my family. If you're interested in hearing more about that, maybe that will be included in a future post. It helps to know what my readers want to see!
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to check out the latest on Whispers of Joy!