Family comes first, right? So when your baby wants in your bed at 2 am that’s where he should be! Or if your baby won’t sleep through the night, you should be up every 3 hours rocking her to sleep, because, hubby has to be at work in the morning and you don’t, and it’s cruel to make baby cry herself to sleep. At least that’s what your tired brain is reasoning, but is that really the truth?
How do we as “The Mom” balance everyday parenting and marriage with our own needs? Most of us end up sacrificing ourselves so much that we completely lose our identity. Does this look familiar?
A typical mom’s promise to her child at 2 AM.
Yes, this is all too familiar too us Mom’s who have given up all that make us who we are for the sake of our families. We laugh at the memes about living in our p.j.’s and being unshowered, yet does it really feel good to live our lives to that level of sacrifice?
I know that I am on the other side of babies and you’re probably saying to me, “Well, it’s easy for you to say, your baby is 14 years old and not kicking you in your bed at night anymore.” Yes, but my baby is trying to push me to the limit every time she turns around and my 17 year old wants to take my car and doesn’t understand why I can’t cancel my appointment so that he and his girlfriend can go on a date with my car! So, all mom’s, in all stages, are in the same boat. We’re all asked by our families to make unnecessary sacrifices, and the question is, why do we allow that to happen? What can we do to regain our identities in the middle of the chaos of raising a family and blessing our husbands?
I’d like to give you a few clues that I have been given to help you realize a little sanity in the midst of raising your babies/teens/spoiling grandchildren. What ever stage of parenting you’re at, you should never have to forsake your own sanity and identity for that of your families needs. God never once says in His Word “Take up your cross and lose yourself for your family.” He says instead, “Take up your cross and follow ME”. What Chrisitanity was revolutionary for in the age the early years of the church, was the fact that it taught that God loves everyone, men, women, & children.
We’re ALL important, slave or free, rich or poor, men or women, to God and He does not want ANYONE to be sacrificed and marginalized. We are created to live a life following God’s Will. God’s will doesn’t involve losing our identity. It involves God creating a New Identity (Christ’s Identity) in us, and if we’re so busy with our family that we’re marginalized and forgotten and sacrificed, how can God do that work in us?
I know that that sounds hocus-pocus. In practice, how does one actually keep from losing oneself?
A couple of ways:
1. Keep to your own backyard. Keep in mind the idea that we are all tending an emotional backyard. Each of us has our own negative and positive emotions (flowers and weeds). If someone comes up to you and throws a negative emotion at you, it’s not your job to weed their backyard. Don’t take it upon yourself to own their negative emotion. It’s not your weed. Keep to your backyard.
2. Children are resilient. They don’t need to be in your bed. They can cry themselves to sleep. They can even be locked into their rooms if they have to be. Don’t worry, a fire is not going to burn them alive while you train them to stay in their room. That is just a “weed” keeping you from teaching your child responsibility for their weeds. You do not want to be responsible for being that parent who sends your child to therapy as an adult because they don’t know how to take care of their own backyard.
3. You are a beautiful person. You deserve respect from your husband, your kids, from other people. Own it. Demand it. Demand it of yourself. Get out of the jammies. Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Even if you have a bad night. Do it. Feel good about yourself. If the teen is being giving you a “Teen ‘Tude” and not giving your respect take the car keys or the phone. Get their attention. You deserve this you Beautiful Queen, you! You are the Bride of Christ, after all. Again, remember who’s backyard you want to play in and that you’re wanting to train your kids to stay in their own backyard, as well. No crossing into your backyard.
4. One last thing, and this is so important. Make sure God wants you to do it. You are put here on Earth not to be Soccer Mom, not to be the Ultimate Housewife, not to be the Supreme Working Mom. You are put here on Earth to do God’s will and follow Him! If God didn’t tell you to sign your kid up for soccer, then you better not be doing it, even if it is your kid’s dream to be an Olympian! And if God told you to start writing a blog about Zebra’s in a Horse-filled world, then you better do that, even if it doesn’t make sense. God’s will trumps family priorities. It’s so easy to think you’re supposed to be doing something because you’re a mom. If you’re walking with God daily, hourly, by the minute, He’s going to tell you what you’re really supposed to be doing.
Go and get your life back… The life God really has for you!