Thursday, May 13, 2010

Motherhood is (NOT) a thankless job (my late Mother’s Day post)

I want to address a common misconception. I have been told, again and again, that; “children are selfish”, “parenting is selfless” and “motherhood is a thankless job”.

These comments are usually made by parents of well adjusted and normally developed children in an effort to somehow reassure me that my life is not so far from their own. (a common perspective among normal parents that I find amusing and annoying)

I just want to say that none of those are true. They may have fragments of truth woven into them, but they are not true statements.

Let’s examine them one at a time…

Are (normal) children selfish? I don’t believe so. We are all selfish by nature. Children are actually more free and caring of others than adults. Children will spend a great deal of time seeking wildflowers or making homemade greeting cards. They will race to get us to see a sunset or view a rainbow. They are not manipulating but are motivated purely for the joy of the receiver.

Is a RAD child selfish? Yes. They do not have the emotional maturity to think outside of themselves or to understand that another person feels. Therefore they are selfish. Not deliberately, but simply and totally, self absorbed.

Is parenting selfless? No. Being a parent originates with an entirely selfish idea… “I want to be a parent”. It’s not usually founded in thoughts like… “I want to stay awake all night and clean up vomit” or “I want to sit in church with wet pee drenched clothing”… No, those might not be selfless either, they might be masochistic, but probably not selfless.

Are RAD parents selfless. No, not really any more than any other parent. We still have the same selfish desires that other parents have, but for the sake of our children’s emotional health we must learn to truly think for them and of them most of the time.

Is motherhood a thankless job? No. Mothers of normal children get thanked all the time. It’s that smile that makes you smile back and the giggle you could listen to all day. It’s the hug that fills your soul and kiss that melts your heart, it’s the wilted daisy and the shared cookie and the little hand in yours. It’s the quiet whispered “I love you mommy” when you tuck them in. It’s the satisfied enjoyment when you cut off the crust of their PB&J sandwich. It’s the way she smiles when you do her hair for her and the way he grins sideways when you ruffle his.

Is motherhood thankless for RAD moms?……….

………… yes.

So to the unthanked... Thank you. May God richly bless you as you walk out this thankless, selfless calling.


GB's Mom said...


J. said...

well said, there are moments but they are not the same as those of "regular" parents.

Kerrie said...

...and that is why whenever there are comments about four children being a lot, I reply, "no. I NEED four children." I don't elaborate, but I have two incredibly "rewarding" children who fill me with joy, one who is getting there, and one who... well. You know.

Lisa said...

Amen! Amen!

So very well said. Thank you so much for this post. I really needed it today cause RAD took me behind the woodshed and beat me up.