The years before mommy-hood are the years for selfishness.
I’m not promoting selfishness, I promise, I know it’s not an attractive trait. I don’t want to encourage you in the attitude of selfishness; we should all seek to be selfless, but I want to point out some things you may be taking for granted. Not just the nail painting, bathroom time, and sleep that I used as examples in a past post. Today I’m speaking more in terms of emotions and feelings.
When you’re single, you’re free to notice all the guys around you, consider each of them for their looks, character, and of course plain and simply, their attractiveness. When you’re married you lose that right. Once you’ve committed to one man it’s for life and you’d better not be noticing other guys around you and imagining what life with him would be like. That is unfair to your husband and yourself.
Much like that, when you’re not a mom you’re free to be depressed, dream wild dreams, and entertain other various emotions. It changes once you’ve had a child. When you’re a mommy your baby will come first physically, mentally, and emotionally. You can’t have a bad day emotionally and carry it over to you parenting. If you feel like you’re life is crumbling you no longer can entertain thoughts of suicide or self harm (I hope to God that none of you struggle with this, but I want to cover all bases) because your baby is relying on you. You can’t dream of traveling foreign lands with a side note of ‘find a babysitter’, your life is no longer your own, baby comes first. You must continue to parent when you’re having a bad (read: selfish) day and you simply can’t carry that selfishness through and base your actions off your emotional state. That cuddly little ball of joy needs you. It needs you not only to physically provide for him or her but it also needs you to stay emotionally stable.
You aren’t your own any more.
Technically after marriage you lost that right, but any trace of selfishness you held on to you really need to let go once you’re a mom.
Take a step back and imagine the stress that is placed on your husband and baby as well as family and friends who love and support you, if you maintain an emotionally selfish stance.
If you aren’t open about your struggles you make it worse. If you let yourself view it as a struggle you make it worse.
Just let it go. Give up the emotions of depression, irritation, and any other selfish feeling. Discontented-ness? Selfish. Loneliness? Selfish. Low self-esteem? Selfish. Depression? Selfish, and it always has been; even before motherhood.
The list can go on, put whatever emotion you struggle with in and examine it to see if it places stress between your baby and you. If it causes you to distance your baby or puts a strain on your parenting; it is selfish.
On a similar note, yesterday as I got Jerusha up from a nap and set about changing a particularly messy diaper I looked down at her and said “It’s okay, I’m gunna clean you up, its my job.” Then as she was grinning up at me I had the urge to cry out an apology and wrap her chubby self in my arms. Kissing her cheek I corrected myself “No, I’m not doing this because it’s my job; it’s not. I’m doing this because I love you.”
There is something powerful in that and I’m not sure I have the eloquence or words to explain. So far not one part of being a mom has made me feel like it’s a job. From mid-night feedings to gassy-nap-less days; taking care of my baby is a need. I need to hold her. I need to change her diaper. I need to bathe her. None of those needs come with a feeling of responsibility. They spring forth from the depths of my heart, done with love and thanksgiving that God has bestowed upon me so great a charge and blessing. He has gifted me with this most amazing and unfathomably beautiful baby girl and He is trusting me to care for her. It all comes from love. Love shown from the Father in blessing me, love returned to Him in thanksgiving for the blessing, followed purely by love towards my baby, the blessing.
That’s not to say there aren’t late nights when I’ve felt incapable or irritable and over exhausted. There have been. But those selfish moments don’t change the fact that every way I am called upon to care for Jerusha thus far are out of love. And it is my desire to shed all trace of selfish feelings as I continue on the path of motherhood.
In a notebook somewhere there’s written an outline for a book I’d hoped to write. Its projected title was ‘A Love Driven Life vs. A Responsibility Driven Life’. I had lots of reasons to believe it would make a good book and it still might, but now that I’m a mother I have even more insight on how parenting can and will be affected by ones perception. Are you parenting out of love? Or responsibility?
Later as I shared with Wesley my thoughts and confession to Jerusha he smiled and responded “Now you know how I feel about you.” <3
I feel as if this parallels only to God’s love of us. He didn’t send His only son, Jesus, to live and die for us out of responsibility, He did it out of love. He had no need to feel responsible for us; the race who turned our backs on Him. He chose to love us though and sacrificed His only son that we may live. You’ve no idea how my love for Jerusha quivers and pales in comparison to His for me. I would never be willing to sacrifice her for another. Never.
Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. Soon I'll be more light hearted and post some pictures of Jerusha and projects and give you a glimpse of our life instead of just my mind ;) <3 ~Haley