We join Sally in discussion of Desperate chapter 7: Sacrifice in the Mundane. Ready for the subtitle? The chapter on selfishness. Oh man! Let’s mutually decide to skip over this one. No way. This is the chapter we need to sit and talk about as a group of women. The reality that parenting and keeping a home will push every single little selfish button you have in your heart.
How often we whine & complain about our children…when the real irritation is that they’re bothering us. They’re ruining my plans. They’re slowing me down. They’re waking me up. They’re making a mess. They’re not doing what I’ve asked. Ready for a reality check? They aren’t the only problem. They’re just pushing on my selfishness…and I don’t like it!
I always say that parenting would be easy, if it wasn’t so daily. I can be generous, giving, gracious and fun several hours each week. It’s all the other hours. It’s the dailyness of it that drives us crazy. It’s the daily sacrifice of the mundane tasks of parenting that cause me to get stir-crazy.
I love the Desperate advice: push into the selfishness. Don’t let it push you around and make you grumpy, fussy and irritable. Push back with prayer and confession. Push back with thankfulness. Push back with friendship and creative energy. Push back with beauty and delight. Don’t let your selfishness push you down the wrong road.
God’s plan is bigger than your selfish heart. Trust His bigger plan and lean into the task of training and parenting that little one. Beg Him for perspective and a thankful spirit in the middle of diaper duty and dirty floors. Work for the audience of One, your Father in Heaven who sees all that you do. Mop for his glory. Cook for his approval. Read & play & nap with his blessing. Let God’s plan be bigger than your momentary selfish irritation.
Here’s some good advice:
- Lean into selfishness. Don’t make parenting decisions from a selfish heart.
- Find time for yourself. A tired, empty heart drifts to selfishness. Find something that will fill you in the middle of draining hours of parenting & housework.
- Go on a local adventure with a friend. I have 4 children and my friend has 3 of similar ages. Our husbands were often gone for weekends due to ministry obligations. We’d plan a local adventure and load up in a van. Our catchphrase was that 2 Moms and 7 children could do ANYTHING. Yep, a weekend alone felt overwhelming but an outing together made us energetic and invincible.
- Let joy and delight strengthen you. Whatever brings you pleasure in the dailyness of parenting is a good thing. An afternoon coffee? A weekly outing? A visit to the museum? A trip to the bookstore? Knitting during nap time? Reading after the kids are in bed? Find your delight and keep your spirit alive during those difficult years with little ones.
- Listen in prayer for God’s words to your heart. Ask Him what needs to change in your parenting. Ask Him what He thinks of your home. His words may bring conviction and motivation. He may speak peace and encouragement. His words will sustain you. Ask and listen.
There are a couple moments of my parenting that stand out as crossroads. When my oldest son was an infant he would wake up at night fussing because he was unable to put his pacifier back in his mouth. I’d be craving another moment of sleep so I’d lay there and listen to his whimpering, hoping he’d fall back to sleep without the pacifier. Nope. It would escalate and I’d be irritated before I’d jump out of bed to put it back in his mouth. I finally realized that laying in bed listening to him whimper, resenting the fact that I’d have to get up made me cranky. It didn’t soothe him. It didn’t let me get back to sleep any quicker. In fact, it delayed me falling back to sleep.
That realization made me promise myself that I would pop out of bed the moment I heard him. I would put that pacifier in so quick he wouldn’t even fully wake up. I’d speak sweetly and soothe him. I’d jump back into bed quickly and give myself a “good mom” pat-on-the-back. Quick. Soothing. Nurturing to both of us and we’d be back to sleep quickly.
I don’t know what you’re facing. What situation you need to accept and adjust. What moment you can decide to change by changing your selfish attitude. You may look back years later and say it was a crossroads.