Selfish?? Me?? Yes, totally, 100% No arguments from me. Not sure you would get any arguments from most people that know me. So, when I found out I was pregnant with Number 3 there were certain friends that actually laughed out loud at me. Never in a million years. I often joke that God got confused when he sent this one down. That he located the wrong uterus. But I know, also 100%, that he had a very important lesson for this Truthful Mommy. (Well, He had a lot of lessons in mind, but we don’t have that kind of time in one post) My selfish nature was going to have to be shelved. Benched. Red-shirted at the very least. I use all of those not-so-permanent verbs because it is clear that some of my selfish-isms are allowed to get back in the game at times. But in the end, mommies of three are NOT allowed to be self-serving.
Look, here it is in a couple of nutshells. I have agendas. When I take my kids to play at the park…it is NOT because I like the gentle breeze from the swings or enjoy running around the playset playing pirate. It is not REALLY even because I like to have adult chatter with the other moms. Typically, if I don’t already know someone there, I don’t meet new ones. It is simply and solely because I want them to be completely exhausted when we get finished, and I want to get them back home with only enough time to get them down for their naps. After all, since I so graciously let them play at the park, they will now be exhausted and nap for hours, and I can do…Stuff, whatever.
Nutshell 2. I am a member of the local kid’s museum. Not because I care if they learn about science and money management through creative play. Nope. Because it is a cool place for me to take them in the middle of the summer…and a warm place in the middle of the winter… where they can be entertained with something OTHER than myself. After which, we can return home and nap really really well.
There are other nutshells I could confess to you, just incase you haven’t been able to relate just yet; like the real reason we go to the library is not because we don’t already own more books than we can read and I desperately want them to learn how to use the card catalog. It is because it is close to our house and I can get my exercise in while walking there. Or, we don’t go out to eat at Chick Fil A because I am the best mommy ever (which is what they say). It is because I am much too lazy to cook and clean!!
Mostly, pretend play is not for me. Hate it with all of my soul. I would rather throw a ball around with the boys than pretend to be ANYTHING make-believe. And we all know why mommy’s really opt for preschool. Because we are increasingly selfish and NEED OUR TIME to do Stuff. Plus, if you are like me, my kids would learn N.O.T.H.I.N.G. to get them ready for kindergarten if it weren’t for those amazing preschool teachers! I am not pointing fingers at anyone. This is boomerang finger pointing at its best!
(Though I do have lots and lots of thoughts about why preschool is good for my kids too, but that is another post entirely)
I am a bad mommy because I would rather do STUFF than play. I get in these cycles. Get them up, get them fed, get them to school, get them entertained so that I can get some work done, wear them out with some activity, GET THEM DOWN FOR A NAP, get them up, pay a minimal amount of attention to them, hand them off to daddy, get them fed, get THEM TO BED. I care for them, I take care of their basic needs and I do that well. They are well rested, well fed, well dressed, well groomed, and for the most part they smell good. They get lots of snuggle time and I kiss my kids more than I can tell you. I love their hugs more than anything in the world. But I do not enjoy rolling in the floor, wrestling, playing Barbie, or anything that involves me being something that doesn’t have the same voice that I was born with. So I search myself and see these areas of selfishness as a mommy. I become increasingly guilt ridden about my agendas.
Then…. I reflect about those days at the park and find myself rather enjoying watching them play and especially the way they have learned to interact with each other. They are the best siblings ever. They love each other. They protect and help each other. And, best of all, they LIKE each other. I even find myself a bit sad that Number 1 is old enough to rarely ever “need” me anymore. She is quite self-sufficient and now plays mommy to the boys very well. And, at the museum, I find myself rather intrigued with the skills they are attracted to at each station of creative play. I become interested in their choices and intrigued by their curiosity.
Mommy’s that stay home have a job. It is a hard job. No one can tell us how we are doing but ourselves. There are no progress reports, no bonuses, no commission checks, no vacation and sick days, no one to report to. It is solely our responsibility to keep a family, a house and little lives running. We won’t see the fruits of our labor until many years down the line. But we do get paid in kisses and random mommy-I-love-you’s and that is the best currency around!!
So go ahead. Laugh at the very selfish Truthful Mommy who got slammed with one more kid. I will laugh with you. But God has taught me more lessons from all of these little people that have invaded my life than I ever imagined. I am forced to look at myself everyday and make sure I am living in a way that would make them proud. The reflection is rarely very pretty, but it is always in check.