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This week’s Story Time is a short one. It’s also a very important one to me. It is the story of the moment I decided why I will always put my child first. No matter what. Now you might be thinking, “Of course you should always put your child first! Duh.” Well, let me explain.
When Lily was around 2-months-old, I went to Sea World with my family. While I was there I witnessed an interaction between a mother and her children that I will never forget. It was a small little thing. But it was so impactful that I still remember it clearly and it has influenced my thoughts and actions every day since.
It was Christmas time and Sea World had a Christmas village set up where you could take a photo with Santa. A mother and her children, I don’t remember how many there were, walked by us. They were heading toward Santa and I overheard their conversation as we passed by each other. One of the children excitedly said something like, “Mom, let’s go see the Penguins!” All the other children excitedly agreed. They were so stoked you could hear the joy and excitement in their voices. The mother then replied,
“No! We are going to do what mommy wants to do first.”
I remember thinking to myself, “Is she serious? How could she shut them down so abruptly and rudely? How selfish!” I turned to my little sister and asked if she heard what the mother had just said. I was immediately angry.
First of all, I just want to say that I understand that I witnessed just a moment. Just one little snippet of this family’s life. A family I did not know. I don’t know what the circumstances were or why the mother may have reacted that way. So I don’t want to sit here on my high horse judging a fellow mother. But witnessing this moment did make me realize what kind of mother I wanted to be.
I want to be the kind of mother who always puts her child first. The kind of mother who is willing to make sacrifices and put the wants and needs of my children above my own.
So because I need to get this off of my chest, I am going to step onto my high horse for a moment.
The second I became Lily’s mother I gave up the right to be selfish. I had my chance to explore, discover the world around me, and do what I wanted to do on my own terms. I no longer have the right to put myself first. I brought this little human into the world and it’s now my job to help her explore and discover the world around her. If she’s excited about something, it’s my job to be excited with her. Not to tell her that what I think is exciting is more important.
Stepping off of my high horse now.
Anyway, I am not saying that once you have a child you should completely neglect your own wants and needs, but you do have to approach them differently. I think children already have the tendency to feel as though their wants, needs, and emotions are inferior to adults. Like what they want doesn’t quite matter as much because they are just a child. I never want to make Lily feel like just because she is a child her emotions aren’t valid.
Just because I feel this way doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
There have been multiple times where I am about to do something selfish and I can hear that mother’s voice playing in my head and I think to myself, “Put Lily first.” That might mean something small like letting my food get cold because I had to stop and feed her. When I just as easily could’ve let her fuss while I finished a hot meal. Still, all those little things add up. And while it might not matter as much now, it will start to matter more and more as Lily grows up.
I know there are probably a lot of parents out there who completely disagree with me and think I’m going to raise a spoiled and controlling child. And that’s totally fine. We all approach parenthood differently and we are going to do what we think is best. I am so happy that I encountered that mother at Sea World. It helped me decide what kind of mother I wanted to be and why I will always put my child first!