I slowly crawled out from the sea of toys crammed into the child-sized, Frozen-themed tent. I was hot, bored, and tired of playing injured animal to my tiny veterinarian daughter. One can only take so many hits to the eye with a stethoscope, Amen?
I was DONE.
The truth is, I am a selfish person. As a mom, I want to play on my terms. As a wife, I want affection on my timeline. As a Christ-follower, I want just enough “God” to fill my needs for that moment.
I choose ME.
To take it a step further, I believe that I want, I “deserve.” Some days it doesn’t matter if others get ignored, hurt or pushed aside for my needs to get met. If I deserve it, I get to have it!
You may push back and say, “Erica, everyone needs to indulge a little! Everyone needs a break from their kids! There are healthy and good pauses in the day, and we ALL need time off.”
I completely agree!
But “boundaries” do not equal “selfishness;” not in the least. When I talk about being selfish, I am not referring to regular “Me Time” or “God Time.” These are healthy, required time-outs in our life to maintain a good relationship with God and our own mental stability.
Selfishness is when we decide the compulsion to follow our own needs overrides our commitment to be the person God wants us to be- whether that is an engaged parent, spouse, employee, or friend.
Shockingly, I have caught myself in this selfish mindset as I discipline my kids.
…If you will quiet your gasps, I will indulge you with my story…
I had a great day with my daughter. We laughed, cuddled, chased and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. Then, as it is with all Threes, things started turning sour for no reason. She started whining and flopping on the floor, something about not liking polka dots. Determined to keep our day positive, I gave her a pep talk and resolved the situation quickly.
(Gold star for me!)
Minutes later, another meltdown. This time over imaginary food.
(Lord, help us.)
Feeling like a professional counselor, I talked her off the ledge and back to the safety of sanity.
(Win #2! I am an AMAZING MOTHER!)
…Then tantrum 3, 4, & 5 followed.