If motherhood is about sacrifice and giving, does that make childhood about selfishness and taking?
Obviously babies need everything given to them and done for them. Toddlers can be very demanding, but the rewards are spontaneous hugs, kisses and lots of adorable artwork. School age kids are actually pretty fun with their warped sense of humor and playful conversations.
Teenagers are a whole different story. Teenagers can be as unpredictable as feeding wild animals.
- They might snatch food from your hand and run away.
- Other times they cautiously approach the food while looking for traps, and then run away.
- Or they might ignore the food all together, even though they haven’t eaten in days.
- Once in a while, they stand defiantly demanding your food.
- The worst is when they take your food (and a finger or two) and then throw rocks at you for giving it to them.
But we hang in there for the reward of those joyful meals with love and laughter.
I understand that if I do my job right, my children will become independent and this is part of the process. What I wasn’t prepared for is how lonely it can be not being needed. Apparently I assumed my kids would be independent, contributing members of society who want to spend time with me because they appreciate the sacrifices I made. We all know what they say about assuming.
Maybe motherhood should include a little more giving to ourselves – without feeling guilty! I usually worked in developing my talents, hobbies and friendships around my kids’ schedules. Not only did I short change myself, I missed the opportunity to teach my kids how to nurture friendships of their own. I have few close friends that have been in my life for more than 3 years. I worry some of my kiddos have the same challenge.
A lady once accused me of hurting my children by not working outside of the home. I’ve heard the argument that stay at home moms aren’t developing themselves, but the concept of having less to offer our children was a new one for me. I must admit I have much more interesting stories about my day now that I work outside of the home, but I can’t say I agree being a stay-at-home mom is a detriment. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. Putting ourselves as a priority, feeding our interests and friendships not only makes our lives more robust, but gives our children a role model.
Motherhood requires a lot of sacrifice and we want to give our children the world. But I’d like to suggest being more mindful to what we are giving. In the spirit of giving a man a fish or teaching him to fish, let’s teach our children to value their mothers and to cook their own food. Who knows, maybe one day they will start cooking for us.