Have you ever heard conversations between parents about which transition was the hardest for them?
It goes something like this:
“Oh, I had a terrible time going from one child to two. When you just have one, you can take naps when the baby’s sleeping. Not anymore!”
“The one-to-two transition was a breeze for me. Adding our third was the killer for us because that meant my husband and I were outnumbered!”
“You guys have no idea! Just wait until you have your fourth, and your oldest three are old enough to want to help, but too young to actually help, so you have to supervise their non-helping and then undo their non-helping, all while watching everyone like a hawk around the clock to make sure you end the day with the same number of kids you started with!”
Each family will have a different answer, and some of those may change over time.
Not mine, though.
Confession of One of Those Self-Centered Parents
My hardest parenting transition by far was going from zero kids to one kid. It was infinitely harder than going from one to two. Or from two to three. Or even from three to six.
Perhaps to you seasoned moms it doesn’t seem like having a single child is all that difficult.
But the thing that was so hard about having our first was the stark realization that my life no longer revolved around me.
I’m aware of how self-centered that makes me sound.
And I’m okay with that, because even though I’m not necessarily proud of that label, I still recognize it as truth. In some ways, I was very, very self-centered, and the thing is, I didn’t even know it.
I had no clue that sleeping when I wanted to sleep, eating when I wanted to eat, showering when I wanted to shower, going out when I wanted to go out, and basically revolving life around my needs and desires equated to self-centeredness.
Life isn’t about me.
Now before you tell me it’s not healthy to revolve my life around my kids, let me assure you that I’m not one of those parents, and that’s not the lesson I’m talking about.
The lesson I needed to learn is that my life should revolve around God. In a way that means there’s nothing more precious to me than divine relationship.
And out of that relationship flows faithful stewardship.
Which means that even though my life isn’t centered around my kids, my life it is centered around the callings God has bestowed, not the least of which is “Mom.”
The truth is, babies and small children are needy.
And actually so are big kids and teenagers, in different ways and to varying degrees.
But if I’m not oh-so-careful about my perspective, I can start to get bitter and resentful about having to take care of everyone else’s needs and desires when so many of my own get pushed to the back burner.
(Like this very night when I scrubbed toilets and bathtubs as emotions swirled around in my heart and flowed out of my eyes in the form of tears, simply because bathroom duty wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.)
It’s times like this that I can choose to remember Who made me “Mom” in the first place.
And then I remember that HE is really the only thing I need.
And the really awesome thing about that is that my need for Him never has to go unmet.
Thank you, Father.