Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why I Don't Want To Be A Selfish Mom

I hope this post does not offend. That is not my intent. It has sat in my drafts for over a week as I debated whether or not to post it. I couldn't shake the feeling to do so, but I still worry about offense. Please know that these are just my thoughts. Try to make it to the end.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a blog post about a mom who wants to be "selfish" and make sure she has plenty of "me time." I 100% agree that it is so important to take time for yourself as a mother. For example, I have to shower and put makeup on every day. It's just a thing that I know will make me feel better and it matters to me. So I do it. I like to blog. I like to read. I like to exercise. And I still do those things. Going even a step beyond, I think I should do those things. I need me time.

Some parts of the article, I absolutely agreed with. It's okay to take the biggest bowl of ice cream. It's fine to eat the last piece of cake. It's good to do things that you enjoy and spend time alone. The thing that bothered me about the post I read was the idea that these moments of me time should be selfish. That they can trump the needs of the children. There was even one section that suggested ignoring crying children to finish a certain activity. And for some reason, it just struck a chord with me. Her reasoning was that the kids will still be there after you get a pedicure. After a long soak in the tub. After a good, long run. After.

But will they?

When the two year old says "Mommy, look at the picture I drew you!" And I say, "in a minute," will he still want to show me? Will he see that I would rather finish one more episode on Netflix than look at his masterpiece? Will the next one still be dedicated to me?

If the little girl is dying to show off her newest dance move and I tell her I will watch just as soon as I finish my makeup, will she be as eager to show me next time?

When a little boy brings in his greatest treasure from an exploration outside and I dismiss it with a "that's nice," and continue to paint my nails, will he confide in me again?

What if we reversed that train of thought? What if the pedicure was still waiting after getting the kids' lunch made? What if the long soak in the tub came after a fun afternoon at the park? What if the good, long run happened after a great talk with the kids? What if the blog post gets written after some good cuddles with the baby?

Now I know that I am treading on shaky ground here. I don't want to sound judgmental. I think we as mothers need to support each other, not tear each other down. I don't want to come across as judgmental or condescending. This is only meant to be my imperfect thoughts on a subject that I recognize that I am really not qualified to talk about. But I feel a strong need to share these thoughts, so I am going to.

When Kymri is older and she wants to play a game for the 100th time, I want her to know that I will drop what I'm doing and spend the afternoon with her. I want her to know that if I am on my way out the door for a run and she comes to me with tears in her eyes, that I will hold and comfort her before I head out.  When she comes to show me a picture, and I can't even tell what it is, I want to praise her artistic abilities and sit down and draw another with her. I never want her to think that whatever I am working on is more important than she is.

I am in no means saying that we as mothers should deprive ourselves. I just don't think that we should be proud of selfishness. I think that there is plenty of time to take care of yourself as a person, still enjoy hobbies, and still get the things done that you enjoy while being a mother first.

I'm going to get a pedicure every now and again. But not until after I have played with my kids.

I'm going to blog. Once I get the baby down for a nap.

I'm going to exercise. But that might mean waking up extra early to do it while Brad can be available if the kids need him.

The main reason I feel so strongly about this is because of my favorite passage of scripture in the New Testament.

John the Baptist had just been killed. Not only was he a friend to Jesus, but he was a cousin. When Jesus heard the news, he wanted to be alone. He wanted some "me time."

Matthew 14:13 "When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart."

I'm sure that he was weighed down with extreme grief. If anyone deserved "me time" in that moment, Jesus did.

But like so often happens when a mother is trying to get some time alone, Jesus was not left alone.

"and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities."

The selfish thing to do here would have been for Jesus to send them away. To say that he wasn't going to teach them at that time. Tell them that he had just suffered a great loss and he needed some time. Come back tomorrow. After.

But He doesn't do that.

"And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."

When He was hurting so much, when He sought time to himself, definitely needed that time to Himself and the multitude came, He pushed aside His own desires to help them. To heal them. Even when He needed healing to His own grieving soul.

He goes even a step beyond. The night draws long. Dinner time is approaching.

"And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, this is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves victuals."

The disciples suggested that He had done enough. Send the people away and let them take care of their remaining needs on their own.

"But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat."

At which time He proceeds to feed the 5000 with but 5 loaves and 2 fishes. He gave all He had. He took care of spiritual and physical needs that day as He healed, taught, and fed.

Now the key comes in verse 23 after having ministered to all the needs of the multitude.
"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."

Jesus still got His "me time." He still went off to take care of Himself. He did send the multitude away. But only after ministering to their needs. After making sure they knew that they were important to Him. After loving, caring, and being present in the moment.

I want to be a mother like that.

Now, I know what you are thinking. "Kailei, you have a one month old. You don't understand what it's like. You have never had a 2 year old crying while the 5 year old pounds on the bathroom door where you are trying to take a shower for the first time in days. You have never had a toddler screaming for your attention while a newborn doesn't sleep through the night. You have never had to make lunches to send to school, help with homework, drive the carpool, take kids to soccer, and still get dinner on the table when your husband gets home. You don't know what it's like."

And you're right. I don't.

And I know that I won't be a perfect mother. I know that there will be times where I do choose the selfish route. Truly Jesus is our perfect example and we will all fall short from that mark.

All I am suggesting is that we try to model our motherhood after the pattern of the Savior. That we absolutely still take time for ourselves, but never at the expense of our children. That we choose time for self without being selfish. That we, as the Savior, send the multitude away only after ministering to their needs.

The pedicure will still be there. The blog post will get published eventually. The laundry will get done before anyone goes naked. The run will be just as invigorating after the kids' bedtime.

But the baby will only stay small for so long. The toddler will only want you to look at his masterpiece for a short time. A teenager will confide in you only as long as they know you care.

So I say take care of yourself, momma! You are doing a great work. You deserve a break. Take that time. Soak in the tub for an hour if you want. Go to lunch with friends. Train for the 10K you are wanting to do. Blog. Scrapbook. Sew. Be you. You need this. It's necessary for your health and happiness. I know I'm going to. But after. After my kids know that they have all of me. After they feel that I will be all that they need me to be. My me time will still be there. After.


  1. You are very wise. As we pattern our lives after Christ, we can't help but become better mothers.

    1. Aunt Cathy, you make the perfect point. All that we do should be patterned after Christ.

  2. Beautifully written! Thank you for your insights. It's hard to juggle everything life throws at us sometimes. But it is always so much easier if we keep the right perspective and keep our priorities in line. I love that quote by Elder Anderson. We have been called to a great work! Let's just keep lovin on our sweet babies!

    1. Rhonda, you are so right! There is so much to be done and it's hard to juggle it all. Perspective is the key.

  3. Thank You for thoughts. Every side of every story makes sense to different people. It's good that each side gets a voice too.

  4. Oh I am right there with you!!! I always say these moments are fleeting and everything else can wait. And once you have a child I feel like that child should always come first! I love this post and that quote at the end of the post, too!

    1. I love the quote too! I really feel that motherhood is a calling from God.

  5. I don't have children, but this is such a good philosophy about all of the people we love. The people in front of us should come before things or selfishness.

    1. Great point Samantha! This is true for all of our relationships.

  6. I am so with you on this. I love how you based all of this from the Bible. In today's busy society, we often forget what's most important.

    1. You are so right Lysha! It is so important to slow down a bit and remember the most important things.


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