Do you ever have moments where it occurs to you that you are becoming remarkably self-centered, if not in your actions, but in your thoughts?
Sure ~ as human beings we are naturally self-centered, and our natural instinct, unless deliberately curbed, is to focus on self-preservation. That doesn’t mean that we are purposefully not caring for others, it’s just the natural state. Unless we deliberately ~ that is, to “de-liberate” ~ ourselves from thinking that way, we are prone to think in the me-center state of mind.
So I’m not talking about self-preservation. I’m talking about starting to get into a thought pattern of “Me, Myself and I” as the top three bananas on your tree, then everyone else falling somewhere below that. I like to think that I daily deliberately try to put others before myself. Definitely in my actions. But I’m starting to fall into thought-traps, especially at the end of the exhausting days of motherhood, where I think things like, “Ok – when do I get to relax? When do I get to go sit down and read a whole book? When do I get to have a cup of coffee at the end of the dock and just sit and watch the fish jump? When is someone going to look at me and say, ‘oh, she’s so cute!’ and grab the camera to catch it forever?”
I am so guilty of getting into little mental pity-parties.
And there’s another ugly side to the fractured arrangement of priorities that can creep up on us. I remember before Kenny was born, Casey and I would talk about the importance of keeping our marriage first, and how the best gift we could give our son would be the strength of our relationship with each other. It seemed so easy to make those promises when Kenny was just a future human being. We hadn’t even met him yet! Even at the begining, when he was first born, in the midst of the awe that he was actually ours, his little personalilty hadn’t really peeked out yet, and all we really had to do for him was feed him and change him and he thought we were the greatest thing since… breast milk…
But now he is this little circus. This bundle of spastic energy (which never wanes enough to nap!). This whole encyclopedia of preferences, desires, needs and humor that multiplies by the day. He is Joy and giddy fun ~ a barrel of monkeys and the sweetest new kid on the block. He makes us laugh, cry, giggle and sigh in wonder and frustration all at once. He is innocent and mischevious and demanding and ever grateful, and those big green-brown eyes make your heart melt.
And it’s really hard not to defer to him when I’m faced with both his needs and the needs of my husband.
I’m not saying that I am ever forced to choose one’s well being over the other. But I do find myself putting Kenny first a lot more than I thought I would. Take tomorrow night, for example.
We have tickets to a baseball game. Ok – we have season tickets to the Orioles, and we haven’t gone to a single game all year yet. Casey really wants us to go. We can’t find a babysitter. At the moment, our only option is to take him over to our awesome, wonderful friends’ house so they can watch him while we go out. No worries, right? But I’m hemming and hawing, because that plan means that I drive 30 minutes to take him over there before bedtime, get him settled in and fed over there, hope he goes to sleep nursing in my arms and stays asleep in a strange bed, then drive 45 minutes to meet my husband at his office to then go to the game. Then drive back to pick him up, wake him into quasi-sleep to get him into the car, then drive home and hope that the dog doesn’t jump on us and wake him up when we get in the door. To me, from my perspective, it looks like a whole lot of hoopla and a really bad night’s sleep for the boy all for the sake of going to a losing team’s ball game.
Is this me putting Kenny’s needs before Casey’s? Or me putting my preferences before my husband’s? How many times have I, even without thinking it through, put Kenny before Casey? What am I showing my son? If being the best wife I can be will make me the best Mommy I can be, why am I not starting the pattern now and remembering that Casey is my first love in the things I say and do?
And even now, I’m sitting here blogging about it, when I could be snuggled up with a glass of wine on the couch watching the sunset with my beloved.
I think I just answered my own questions. I gotta go…