The demands of being a mother are constant, never seeming to end. There is always laundry, dishes, cleaning and meals to prepare, with no break or interruption to this routine in sight. And, of course, there is always the constant chatter of children at or to you in the background of everything you’re doing. Sometimes, all I want is a few moments of uninterrupted, absolute alone time. This doesn’t seem like it should be so much to ask for or to achieve, but it is almost always so difficult to come by.
The other day, I just wanted a few minutes to sit down by myself and enjoy my soda in peace. I had it all planned out, as is often the case. I could grab a few minutes while the food was cooking and the kids were playing in the living room. But instead, my daughter asked me to play with her. Then after that, my son needed my help. Then I needed to attend to the food once more. So, needless to say, my plans for solitude were thwarted yet again.
I often resent these interruptions to my time. Why can’t I just have a few minutes to myself? Why do I always have to be doing something for someone else? But when I stop and think rationally, I realize how silly my arguments sound. After all, I am caring for young children who, by definition, need help. If I am not doing things directly for them, then I am teaching them to do for themselves. Both of these tasks take time. I also realize that they are not going out of their way to maliciously interrupt me; they are simply needing their mom. How shallow and petty of me to resent them for that! But sadly, I so often do.
The one thing that I have been and continue to be slow to learn about motherhood is that it’s not about me! This seems so obvious, but I so easily forget. If I ever thought it was about me (believing I could be an awesome mom while not having to make sacrifices or change my life in drastic ways) then I was sorely mistaken. By its very definition, being a mother means sacrificing and serving my children. But oh, how often I don’t want to sacrifice or serve! If I’m being really honest, I want to be served. I want to be a mom without all the hard work of actually being a mom.
It is so easy to rationalize, to say I’ve done enough already today and that I deserve this time alone! But when I pause and think of the one who blessed me with my children, I am forced to reflect. Christ, the son of God and Lord of creation, came to serve and sacrifice, in the most ultimate way imaginable, laying down His life. If anyone without question had the absolute right to be served, it was Him. If I say I want to be more like Christ, but resent having to serve my own children, how hollow are my words? I have been given daily opportunities to become more like my Savior, and so often, I never even think of that beautiful and amazing reality. I am too focused on my list of tasks, checking them off while I think about, plan and look forward to my next few minutes of time alone.
Instead, I ought to see these moments where my children need me as a blessing because they won’t always look to me for affection, help, fun and direction. I also should try to see them for the teaching moments that they truly are and remember that my ultimate goal is to be made more like Him. If I can keep my focus there, where it should be, then the everyday needs and chatter won’t seem like interruptions anymore.
Maybe I could start to see them as the blessings they truly are. Maybe I could be thankful that I have children at all. Maybe I could be thankful for the fact that my children still desire my company, still crave my attention and want to tell me all the thoughts in their heads. Maybe I could start to see them as the tool God is using to conform me to the image of His Son, to make me more of a servant. I hope and pray that my perception will shift in this direction over the next year. It would certainly make things less tense for myself, not to mention the kids.