Thursday, April 07, 2011

I Don't Wanna

Yesterday, I had a revelation of sorts. Nothing earth-shattering or anything, but as I folded laundry, did dishes, cleaned behind the couch, changed another dirty diaper, "made" the children do their homework and chores, finished the taxes, and delved into my spring cleaning, I had this thought over and over:

I really, really, really don't want to do this. At all. But I'm going to do it, anyway.

And then I did it. Anyway.

Some people will read this and think that I should have just let it go and taken a break when I felt those "I don't wanna do it!" feelings. In fact, I'm betting a lot of women will make the argument that if we could just listen to those feelings (i.e. the whining), it will help us make important decisions in regard to how we live our lives. For a lot of those women, it means giving up completely. For some, it's getting a job to escape. Some see it as a "sign" that they should never have had children or will never have more. Of course, I'm talking in massive generalizations here and every situation is different and we have no right to judge, etc. etc. BUT! My point is that it seems I have been whiny for a really long time.

When my children whine and complain about having to do the dishes or homework or going to bed, it is so easy to just give in. It's easier than having to deal with their incessant high-pitched words; if I give in, they will stop. But do I? Sometimes. Not often, though. They whine about green smoothies and carrots in their lunches. They complain that making beds, sweeping floors, emptying garbage cans, and dusting furniture is "so hard!" and "not fair!" They don't want to get up for scripture study; they don't want to gather for family prayer. The whining is real, it's constant, and it tries my patience.

But I don't care.

I won't stop teaching them the value of work, feeding them vegetables (green smoothies in our house is a non-negotiable), or teaching the Gospel of Christ. They need to know how to work, they need to eat healthy, and they need the Gospel of Christ. It is my job as their mother to teach them and provide for them the tools necessary to have a relationship with God and to be successful in their lives. The whining is just temporary. What I'm trying to build is eternal.

With that said, what about myself? How often do I give into the temptation to avoid, ignore, and pretend when I'm up against something I have no desire to be up against? The irony here, dear reader, is that quite often the things I "don't wanna do" have something to do with my kids. I mean, think about it. The laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, the church-going, is all ten times harder when there are kids involved. Being a parent requires massive, massive sacrifice, and it's difficult stuff.

I read a quote on Single Dad Laughing the other day --it was submitted by one of his readers:

A parent sacrifices for their child, not the child for the parent!

I liked it. It doesn't mean that parents can't take care of themselves, nurture their marriage, or expect their kids to help them out when they are old and decrepit --what it means is that parents (who have children young enough to still be living in their home) need to stop expecting their needs to be more important than their children's. I need to stop expecting my needs to be more important than my children's. They are with me for such a short amount of time --my ability to establish a lasting relationship built on trust and love is exaggerated by the fact that there is such little time! No time! They grow and grow and run and pull away... and if I'm focused on myself and ignore their needs, what kind of people are they going to turn out to be? How huge will my regret be?

We all have to do things we don't wanna do. We all have, do, will whine about it, too. I know I will! I'm not perfect; I can't change in a day or a week. But I think this was kind of a breakthrough for me because I realized that if things are going to get done, if children are going to feel loved, and if I am going to be the kind of person I truly want to be, then I'm going to need to push through those whiny feelings when they arise. It's okay to HAVE those feelings --I just can't invite them in for dinner and entertain them! And the best part, dear reader, is at least for one day, I didn't.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.


Emily & Co. said...

Somewhere I read or had the thought planted years ago (like 15 years ago) that I needed to make myself do something EVERY DAY that I didn't want to do. Simple advice, but I think about it all the time and tell myself, "This is my 'thing' I need to do today." Most of those things really don't take too long, and you're can indulge those whiny feelings of self-pity, or you can just do what needs to get done. I also do love taking the day "off" every once in a while, and just playing w/the kids, so there is definitely a time and a place for everything!

Harry said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post. I enjoyed every bit of furniture

The United Statements of Merica said...

I love this post Cheryl! I have been chanting "forget yourself and go to work" almost constantly in my mind. I have gotten into the habit of thinking that since I'm a grownup, I can do what I want and shouldn't have to do what I don't want :) I'm trying to break out of it and tell myself to toughen up.