Mom, Are you Selfish?
I really don’t like to admit it, but as a mom I’ve known to be selfish at times. I’ve hidden cookies so I could have them later, and I’ve extended my kids’ nap time so I could read “one more chapter.” I’ve also gotten my family’s schedule off track because I wanted to be the “good” mom. The mom who volunteered at church, who made it to story time at the library, and who signed up my kids for all types of activities so I’d look as put-together as my neighbor.
When my kids became teenagers, fixing their schedules to pump up my ego didn’t work as well.
“Mom, I don’t want to be in the homeschool production.”
“You want me to babysit for your group . . . even though it’s my only free night? You’re joking, right?”
“Mom, I’m not going to start a non-profit organization in my spare time . . . even if it will help me get better college scholarships!”
Of course, sometimes I’m no better when dealing with my husband. He’s said “no” plenty of times when I’ve come to him about volunteering or adding on a new activity. “And, honey, just what are we going to cut out?” he often asks. (Good question!)
Whether it’s the last cookie or a pat on the back, my selfish nature likes to flare up like a sunburn after a day at the waterslides.
The best way to combat this—in big things and small—is to start my day thinking about others. (What a concept, I know!)
These are questions I often ask myself:
- If I could do one thing to put a smile on my husband’s face, what would it be?
- What have I been promising to do with my kids that I haven’t gotten around to?
Of course when I’m being selfish, usually my family isn’t the only one missing out. This self-focus spills over and often affects my extended family, friends, and even God. I don’t know about you, but there are times I know what I could do that could make God happy. But my stubborn heart doesn’t want to go there. Knowing that, here’s another question:
- What could I say, what could I do, to offer myself to God more than I did yesterday?
And you know what the amazing is? God’s way works. I think selfishness makes me happy, but it never does. Likewise, even when I drag my feet to serve, I discover joy on the other side.
Proverbs 20:5 talks about this, “Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart, a wise person draws from the well within.” At the end of the day when I know what’s right . . . and I do it . . . I am refreshed.
Speaking of which, I have a husband who I bet would love a back rub and a son who needs some one-on-one time. And, I think I’ll lift up my heart and my voice in some praise songs as I shower today. I’m sure that’ll make God smile. And I’ll be smiling too.
Steps You Can Take
- Ask yourself: “If I could do one thing to put a smile on my husband’s face, what would it be?”
- Ask yourself: “What have I been promising to do with my kids that I haven’t gotten around to?”
- Ask yourself: “What could I say, what could I do, to offer myself to God more than I did yesterday?”
- Begin implementing your answers!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to realize my worth as a mom does not come from my kids’ activities. Help me to seek my worth in you and you alone.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Resources You Might Like:
Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom
Mom Seeks God: Practicing Grace in the Chaos
Desperate: Hope for a Mom who Needs to Breathe
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Andrea Cox says
Tricia, I love the post today. So honest. I think human nature is to think about ourselves. It’s only through God’s help that we become selfless. May we all take a step in that direction today.
Tricia Goyer says
Thank you, Andrea. I’m selfish in more ways than I want to admit!
Kathryn Lang says
I have come (or, come back would be a better explanation) to this concept – just in the last few days. I can make excuses all day long, but the truth is that I have been selfish in my choices and the only one that can change that is me (and only through the strength of the Spirit that comes when I invest in the Word).
Thank you for the encouragement. Thank you for the reminder (it seems that this is one of those days that I need reminding almost constantly). And thank you for the comfort of knowing that I am not alone.
Tricia Goyer says
Hugs to you, Kathryn. Know that God is walking with you every step of the way!
Michelle Caskey says
Excellent post! You always come up with the best questions to ask ourselves, Tricia! I’m going to think about what I can do to put smiles on my husband and my sons’ faces right now. 🙂