Monday, August 23, 2010

Funny Things Kids Say

I've been wanting to share this story for a while now because it still brings a smile to my face.  About a month ago my son and I were talking as we drove down the road.  We were exploring gender together.  It went something like this:

"I'm a boy.  Daddy's a man.  Sister's a girl.  You're a girl."

To which I responded: "well, yes, but to be more specific I'm a woman."

His reply, with a big toothy grin: "nooooo, you're not a woman; you're a mommy!"

I laughed out loud.  How true.  This came in the middle of a season I believe all moms experience: a season where I felt truly identified by all-things-mommy and no-things-self.  I had been struggling with this and was just coming out on the other side when my son announced his apt observation.  Thank God I had worked through most of my angst; otherwise, I would have burst into tears instead of laughter.

It was my husband who helped me.  He noticed I was short with my kids and generally seemed to be in a bad mood all the time.  He also noticed that I did nothing - absolutely nothing - for myself.  From the moment I woke up I was taking care of kids, going to work, taking care of kids, taking care of the house, and collapsing into bed.  I didn't go out with friends.  I didn't let the laundry sit an extra day in order to rest.  I didn't tell my son "no", "not now", "wait" while I spent time doing something I wanted to do (like writing) for one simple reason: guilt.

Letting myself become defined by my kids actually prevented me from doing what I wanted to do most: love my kids well.  I was hurting them because I was angry, resentful, impatient.  I had allowed things to become out of order.  By putting my kids first, I was actually making them come last.

My self - my body, my brain, my psyche - was screaming for help, for care.  When I realized that it was absolutely necessary for me to tell my kids no and take care of myself first, then I was able to take care of them better.  When I left my husband to do the dishes by himself and to take care of the laundry, I found I was able to give him more of myself when I returned.

I know this sounds obvious.  I wager that many non-married folks could have lectured me on the need to love thyself first in order to have love to give.  BUT - trust me on this - it's a heck of a lot harder when you're staring into a two-year-old's eyes and have to tell him no. 

Now, when I find myself in that situation and begin to waver, I simply remember the ironic wisdom he shared with me that day in the car.  And I think: "yes, I am a mommy, but I'm also a woman.  And to be a good mommy, I must be a woman first."


  1. Great post, Jenny! And, wow, does it hit home. I am just now delving into the world of finally finding time for myself (meaning not just to do laundry and clean!), with a very active almost-2-year-old who believes Mama must be involved in Every. Single. Activity. At. All. Times. ;-)

    Welcome to the blogging community!

  2. M-
    This made me laugh! Thanks for reading & commenting!!!!