“Mommy, Mommy, MMMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOMMMEEEEE!”
Emma’s hand just hit me in the breast. Right on the spot.
“OW! Don’t hit me!” I caught her hand. She whines at the reprimand, “I know, that wasn’t a good decision was it?”
Then I let down.
Didn’t know that happened, did you?
I didn’t either.
I’d like to think that she didn’t hit me on purpose. That she was just flailing, flapping her arms trying to get my attention. It felt deliberate. This is the first time I have ever witnessed her hitting someone. Of course it’s me that she hits.
Instead of freaking out over the behavior I start to dig. Why did she do that? She wanted my attention. She has been demonstrating a ton of attention getting behaviors lately. Which does and does not surprise me. I’m home with her so she gets attention from me, but I just had a baby. She gets lots of attention from her father, but during summer he works long hours.
I have started to dig a lot.
I started to dig at my own stress and frustration. I realized that so much of it is from feeling put out. That ‘I’ don’t get to do what ‘I’ want to do. That ‘I’ don’t get my needs met. Then I thought if I was more selfless that this wouldn’t be such a problem. I stalled out. I didn’t want to pray to be more selfless. Yesterday I didn’t shower because it was too much of a hassle. We’ve all been there. I have found myself wishing I didn’t have to eat because it’s just too time consuming and difficult to get food in me and in my children. I feel guilty when I take two minutes to put makeup on, because if I was a good mother wouldn’t I just skip it?
Is this it? Is this how women end up on those make over shows? Dressing in clothes they’ve owned for twenty years because they don’t want to stop to take time to shop for themselves? Does it just get squashed out of you?
Parenting is the last of maturing process. In having children you learn to go without sleep. You learn to make decisions for the rest of the family instead of just for yourself. Some of your selfishness is sloughed off because it has to be.
But all of your selfishness? Every last piece? Down to the part that makes sure I get food? That’s an okay part to have, right? That’s the survival piece. That part deep in our Darwinian lizard brain. So where is the balance? In this culture of ‘me.’ What’s true and what’s just an excuse for selfishness? Yes, it’s important to take care of yourself, but what part of that is just dressed up materialism?
But what parent of a child with cancer hasn’t wished it was them with the disease instead?
What parent wouldn’t throw themselves in front of a car to scoop up their wandering toddler?
I guess that is the last piece.