When a busy mom makes a sacrifice, but it doesn’t go as planned, causing frustration, is serving more about me as a mom?
Who would’ve thought that baking cookies would turn out to be such a disappointment? Such an utter disaster?
My young mom friend was truly at her wit’s end.
She was trying hard – so very hard – to connect with her daughter and do something “fun” together.
Laying down her life.
One sugar cookie at a time.
But there they were elbow-deep in cookie dough and out-of-the blue, her little girl dissolved into a complete and total meltdown.
Her mother’s frustration was understandable.
She had set aside the entire afternoon with the sole purpose of doing “what good moms do”—creating beautiful cookies with her child.
She had imagined how lovely it would be: just the two of them rolling the out dough, carefully cutting out the shapes, and the heavenly smell of sweet goodness.
Instead, the little girl was flung on the floor and crying big tears and the cookies hadn’t even made it into the oven.
What in the world was wrong with her daughter?
Or worse, she quietly confided in me, “What was wrong with her mom?”
When a Busy Mom Lays Down Her Life
I pictured it all as she described it.
Not only pictured it, but I remembered it.
Because I too have been that mom.
I was one of those who wanted to do all the right things for our children and, believe me, the list was long.
Dress them in cute clothes, take them to birthday parties, make sure we had a tidy house, and, of course, bake homemade cookies.
And what did I get as thanks for all this service?
Too often, snarly attitudes and weepy meltdowns.
It didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Until one similar day when I watched my own girl’s heart seemingly break into pieces in the middle of my kitchen floor.
That’s what I was missing!
I was so convinced that I was doing all these things for her sake—what I believed a mother could and should do to be the best mom.
But really (and I hate to admit it), it was far more about ME than it was about her.
It came down to something I wanted to cross off my Good Mom List—not necessarily what her young heart wanted and needed.
Doing the Right Thing, but Missing the Mark
The truth was, my child didn’t actually care about cookies.
She wanted to know that I cared about her heart.
With no agenda. No task. And definitely no List.
Just her and me together.
So here I was thinking that I was doing a wonderful thing – serving her sacrificially – when I had completely missed the mark.
As busy moms, we can get so caught up in the “laying down our lives” that we can lose sight of what our children deeply care about.
We forget that love looks a lot like appreciating them as people, being interested in their thoughts and dreams, and taking time to simply be together.
Sometimes laying down our lives looks a lot like stopping to do not much of anything and enjoying our children.
How to Avoid Selfishness as a Busy Mom When Serving Those You Love
Biblical servanthood is about laying down your life for others. But is serving on your own terms really serving, at all? Selfless giving or selfish giving . . . Which one occurs in your marriage and home?
We’d love to invite you to the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast this week where Matt and I are talking about how we can serve our home and family in a way that truly says love to the other person.
Got 22 minutes? Please join us for this encouraging and possibly eye-opening conversation!
In His grace,
Matt and Lisa Jacobson, authors of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, are the hosts of a weekly podcast to talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture. Matt and Lisa offer deep encouragement, along with practical steps and true-life stories, as we grow in walking the faithful life together.
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