I sat in a café literally created just for moms. There was a colorful playground inside, an exercise room for mommy and me classes, and small round coffee tables for moms to chat. I struck up a conversation with another mom while my kids went down the slide. They were probably one and three at the time, and I was craving adult conversation.
I asked her about her hobbies, and she immediately lit up. Her passion was playing in a volleyball league. “When do you play now?” I asked. “Oh, I haven’t, ever since I became a mom.”
This sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? When we become mothers many of our own interests are put aside for a season . . . or much longer. Instead of focusing on personal growth, we focus on our growing children. Although that’s completely necessary for the first few years of life, today’s average mom isn’t making the switch back from being child centered to parent centered. As your children grow older, you’re still catering, serving, obliging, begging, orbiting, bribing, and promising. No wonder so many of us aren’t experiencing job satisfaction as mothers! We aren’t leaders in our homes; we’re stressed-out servants. The family isn’t meant to work this way.
“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do,” Ephesians 6:1 says. It’s not the other way around. Parents aren’t supposed to obey their children, yet if you observe children in grocery stores or restaurants, often times they’re the ones clearly in control.
Put on Your Own Socks
My oldest child, Ethan, and I had this bedtime ritual. I would bring him a clean pair of white socks and put them on his feet every night. I was literally waiting on him hand and foot. One evening—when he was in the fifth grade—I realized, Ethan is way too old for this. What am I doing? I told him my discovery, and he laughed, “But I like it when you do it; you’re my servant!” He’s been putting on his own socks ever since.
You know, many times it’s not our children who have a hard time assuming new roles and responsibilities around the house—the problem lies with us. We don’t want to let go of the feeling of being needed and important. We complain about being stressed out and pulled and tugged to do every single little thing that revolves around our children, yet we’re the ones who engineer the dependence.