My couch’s cushions are scattered from hither to yon. There is a light up sword on the living room rug–along with a pirate belt, a cowboy hat and a soccer ball. There are homeschool papers stretched across another couch. My son is crying in his bed because he is “not sleepy”. And my daughter is upstairs with a fever of 102—the fifth day in a row she’s had a fever!
It has been one of those days. It’s been one of those weeks!
The last few days, I’ve gone from coddling my poor little girl, to being an impatient nurse. I’ve lost my patience as my sick daughter and not-sick-but-still-stuck-in-the-house 3 year old son have whined and complained during the day. Today I stomped around the house in a funk, cleaning while the kids wrestled on the couch.
I shoved dishes in the dishwasher and threw dirty clothes in the laundry room, and I stewed. My blood pressure rose. And I knew I was wrong. I knew I needed to be the grown-up and just serve my children. I knew our attitudes came straight from the stir-crazy, sick-for-five-days predicament. But I couldn’t let it go. I just felt like I deserved some alone time! Some mama-you-are-so-awesome-and-thank-you-for-everything-you-do time!
So, I began to talk to myself. I reminded myself about being thankful for the aggravations and about being all there. I finished wiping the counters, took a deep breath and said, “Do you guys want me to read you some books?” They cheered happily and scooted next to me as we read our score of library books from last week.
Suddenly the aggravation lifted. The heat in my blood went down. Their complaints stopped. The whining gone.
It’s something you can’t explain–you do the opposite of what you feel like doing and you end up getting the desired end. It’s a paradox. If you read the Bible you’ll see this same idea when Jesus says, “If you want to be great, you must be a servant of all.” (Mark 10:44) It goes against the grain to act this way. I literally felt like I was picking myself up by the collar and slamming myself against the wall to even make myself ask the kids if they wanted to read.
As a mother, I feel very overlooked sometimes.
I feel like I give and give and give and give without much return or acknowledgement. And like any human, all I want is to feel great. I want others to know and honor and admire me. But if I demand that behavior from my children (or my husband), I’ll end up stomping around my life cleaning up after my own messes.
Instead, I have to do the hard thing–the opposite thing. I have to bend down and serve. And then somehow, I’ll be lifted up. Maybe not to flowers at the end of a hard day, or clean rooms or gee-you’re-the-best-mom, but I’ll have a happy heart. And a happy family.
Giving of yourself somehow fills you back up. What’s the hard element in your day? How can you give to it today?
Have you seen the atmosphere change in your home when you choose to serve your family?
|Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!|