A "Selfish" Life?
I saw a video last night that made me laugh and laugh.
In it, a single, childless woman was talking about how people like me- people who decide to see children as a blessing and have a lot of them- are selfish.
I guess I have "arrived" when it comes to having a big family, because she specifically said, "People who have 8, 10, or 12 kids are just selfish, and that's all there is to it."
Yay, I am officially in the "big family" group.
Selfish? At first my mouth dropped open in disbelief, but then I had to laugh.
I gave up my body for almost two years with each child, when you consider pregnancy and breastfeeding. That's over 16 years of my life where my body has not been my own. I never had a cavity until I started having kids, and my dentist told me that each pregnancy will leech nutrients out of your teeth for the baby. The baby comes first, so your body will deplete what nutrients you have to give to the growing baby.
I have stretch marks.
Having kids permanently changed things about me- my spine, my body composition, my abdomen.
Quite frankly, I'll never be the same physically.
What a selfish thing to do- give up my body like that.
I gave up my sleep. I can't count the number of nights where I had little to no sleep. Either I was awake from restless leg syndrome when pregnant, or endless contractions from prodomal labor, or I was awake with a feverish or puking child. Nights where I paced with a colicky baby. Nights where I gave a feverish child a lukewarm bath, and sometimes I would have to get in the bath to hold said child. Nights where I was on edge, as I watched the fever creep higher and higher into danger zones.
What a selfish thing to do- to give up my sleep like that.
I gave up my time. No longer was I on my own schedule. In fact, for years I have rotated my life around nursing schedules, and sleeping schedules, and eating schedules. I could no longer just leave the house when I wanted. I had to factor in the time it would take to get three littles ready, dressed, fed, and changed before leaving the house. No longer would I be able to grab a coffee whenever I wanted, or call a friend on the phone. My time was not my own. Every single minute of every single day was invested into tiny humans. I had to be five different places at ten different times. I had to fulfill each need- emotional, physically, and developmentally- of little people who have souls, and minds, and heart, and emotions.
What a selfish thing to do- giving up my time.
I gave up my freedom. In every way imaginable. No longer could I travel the way I used to. Traveling was possible, but it got a whole lot harder. My life was not my own anymore. When I decided to bring a baby into the world, followed by another and another and another, I was adding on another 18 years (and beyond) where I was committing to raising that child for the Lord. I can't stop investing my love and attention and devotion and care into kid #6 just because I am tired and worn out. I take this job seriously. I am the best mom for my kids, and they won't raise themselves.
What a selfish thing to do- giving up my freedom.
I gave up sleeping in, fancy vacations, extra money, leisure time, expensive date nights with the husband, (Sometimes Subway is as fancy as it gets, folks!) lavish nights away, new furniture, name brand clothing, and nice things in exchange for a big family.
How selfish of me.
My husband burns the candle at both ends, and I teach 15 hours of piano a week just to bring in a little side income to support our large family. I also homeschool, run the home, and run a ladies' ministry as well. Literally every minute of every day is packed- not because I am bringing in thousands of dollars, but because I am raising a large family.
How incredibly selfish.
Despite all of that- all of the work, the toil, and the day to day struggle that sometimes comes from having a big family- I do reap a lot of rewards.
I get hugs all day long, from the best people on the planet.
I get sloppy kisses.
I get "I love you, Mom!"s said multiple times during the day.
I get cuddles.
I get laughs from the toddlers, and get to hear the cute things they say all day long.
I get handwritten notes, and pictures that are drawn just for me.
I get the joy of watching my adult kids serve the Lord with happiness.
I get to enjoy conversation with my older kids. Kids I consider my friends.
I get to bask, every evening, in the calm of just sitting in my loud, boisterous house, surrounded by the best things in the world- my husband and the incredible humans that we have made together.
I am literally living my dream.
So, if that is selfishness, I will take it.
Call me selfish, but I wouldn't trade this life for any other.