For Those Days When You Miss Your Freedom
We got a puppy this summer. He’s fluffy and feisty and all the fun a puppy is supposed to be.
But he’s also a lot of work.
And suddenly I find myself repeating many of the things I used to say when my girls were little.
Don’t eat that, it’s yucky.
Get that paper out of your mouth.
Did you go potty on the kitchen floor?
Don’t bite Mommy!
We took our pup camping last month, and it was like having a baby again. While my children played together, grabbed their own snacks, read books by themselves without needing my intervention or supervision—such a beautiful independent stage!—the darn dog demanded my constant attention.
And I wonder why I did this to myself.
I mean, finally my kids are at an age where I have some breathing room. They go to school and I get six hours of work-from-home silence. They come home from school and we have intelligent conversations, I can cook dinner while they do their homework, we all play board games or watch TV together and not a single person is trying to crawl out of the room to drink toilet water or chew an electric cord.
Nobody except the dog, of course.
Granted, in another year he’ll be puppy trained and past the hyper phase (we hope), and we’ll all enjoy some sense of normalcy again. But meanwhile I’m kind of mourning my freedom.
It’s not the first time.
I remember feeling that way when my second daughter was born and I was once again buried in diapers and midnight feedings.
And, in a way, every summer when the kids come home from school and my home office becomes the craft room.
Or anytime a child gets sick and I have to scramble to rearrange my plans.
Or on those weekends when every single babysitter is booked and my husband and I have to cancel our hopes for a date night.
And I’m reminded like a slap to the face—your life is not your own. You are tied your family, your responsibilities, your choices.
And that is a very GOOD thing.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Luke 9:24).
As moms I think sometimes we get caught up in the idea of “me” time, as if it’s something we deserve at all costs. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a huge advocate for taking care of yourself. It’s key to being a better wife and mother. But there’s a difference between self-care and selfishness.
What would life be like if we focused primarily on our own freedoms, our own needs, our own comfort? How would that kind of attitude erode our marriages, our kids—our puppies?! For crying out loud, perhaps we’d never have families in the first place. Imagine then all the blessings we’d miss out on.
We got our dog for our kids’ sake, really, so they can learn responsibility is a necessary part of life. And doing so has required more responsibility on my part as well. But that’s the currency I pay in exchange for the blessing of building character.
I have a dear friend who is in the process of adopting from the foster care system. She and her husband already have two lovely daughters, and they are fully aware of how adoption might affect their family as they know it. It’s the kind of willing sacrifice most parents cannot fathom. Yet after much prayer, my friend came to this conclusion: The Christian life isn’t about our comfort. It’s about doing what God calls you to do, even if it’s hard.
So yes, I will continue mopping up piddle puddles on my kitchen floor, for the sake of my kids.
And I will continue shoving aside piles of crafts so I can reach my desk in the home office.
And I will continue loving my family through every sacrifice, every frustration, every sick day and every cancelled date night.
Why? It’s ironic, really. Living a generous, selfless life is just as beneficial for me and you as it is for the people we serve. But more importantly, it honors God. So I’m going to keep on doing it.
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