Avoiding Selfishness as a Mother

Even though moms give and give, we can get selfish if we start to focus on everything we deserve and aren’t getting.

Mother and daughter

Remember back in the “olden days” when women were oppressed and didn’t have equal rights?


Me neither.

But I can remember a new phenomenon.

Remember now how there is a trend for stay-at-home-moms (and maybe working moms) to think that as soon as Dad gets home, she is off-duty? She gets to go on “girls-only” vacations and take off whenever she wants to? It isn’t her job to change diapers after 5 PM because Dad is home now?

Mom has rights! Mom has needs! Mom deserves respect! Mom should be getting the proper thank-yous for all she does!

Okay, do you remember any of that mindset?

I think that is pretty prevalent in our current day. I know it is not uncommon in my own area, which tends to be more conservative, so I have no doubt it is potent in other areas.

Major Pendulum Swing

It is like we went from the “Man of the house” coming home and demanding things to the “Woman of the house” taking that role.

Can I be bold?

If that wasn’t okay for the man to do, it isn’t okay for the woman to do, either.

Does mom have rights? Yes. Does she have needs? For sure. Does mom deserve respect? Of course. Would it be wonderful if mom got all the thank yous, time off, and hugs she fully deserved? That would be great!

Now, Mom also has responsibilities. Mom has duties she needs to fulfill, and she needs to do so whether she gets a proper thank you or not.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about A Good Woman, based on thoughts from Julie B. Beck. In that same talk, Beck gave this quote that I fully love:

“Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters?”

Be still my heart! I love Beck because she is blunt as can be.

Women should not be babies. We are adults, we can act like it. Would it be nice to get the thanks we deserve? Sure. But if (and when) we don’t, so what?

Do you know what else would be nice? If the iRobot company would make a small little robot to fold and put away my laundry for me. Until then, I guess it will have to be done by humans instead.

Splitting Up Responsibilities

I am not going to tell you exactly how to work the dynamic and split of chores in your family. Lots of different families do things in lots of different ways. Everyone has different circumstances and I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer for that.

I will say I don’t think it is right for 100% to fall on one or the other. Figure out what works in your family, but be sure one is not taking advantage of the other.

My personal view in my life is that when my husband gets home, taking care of the children is both of our jobs.

I don’t get to run off and be care-free any more than he does.

Are there times I leave him alone with the kids? Yep. Are there times he leaves me alone (other than normal working hours)? Sure thing. Do we have girls nights and guys day out? Yes we do.

Does my husband change some diapers when he is home? Yes. Honestly, though, I can probably count on one hand the number of diapers he changes prior to 6 months old. Do I love changing diapers? Nope. I sure am good at it though :).

What I am driving at–the point I am hoping to reach–is to avoid becoming selfish. You are a mom (if you are a dad, insert “dad” here). Things just aren’t about you anymore.

You will put in far more effort than you are ever thanked for. You will not have the breaks you truly need. It might not be “fair,” but I think it refines us into better people.

Here is a great thought from Beck, “We know the Lord has laid high responsibility upon us, and there is not a wish or desire that the Lord has implanted in our hearts in righteousness but will be realized…”

Beck is saying here that the Lord has given us a difficult calling. Even though it is hard, we can accomplish it. You can achieve all that He has set forth for you.

So be careful. Do not let the unproductive feeling of selfishness creep into your family life (or any life for that matter).

And I must add that I think it is vitally important to follow this blog post up by reading Motherhood, Some Uplifting Words. While you won’t get all that you deserve from a justice point of view, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get anything.

Be sure read that blog post to help you balance and figure out what is right for you and your family.


How to avoid selfishness as a mother

15 thoughts on “Avoiding Selfishness as a Mother”

  1. Great post! In our household, I work full time while my DH part time, so he is Mr. Mom quite a bit. We’ve always split chores pretty evenly, both pitching in with laundry, cooking, dishes, etc., with some things like outside work is kind of his domain and inside cleaning mine. It works well and I know I’m lucky. So when our DD came along, it was the same approach – I think we are in a dead heat with number of diaper changes, but I bet he thinks he’s done more! It’s funny though, I catch myself coming home from work a little irked that I have to jump right in and figure out and make dinner if he hasn’t – like “I’ve worked hard all day and you’ve been home! What have you been doing?” sort of feeling. I know that’s silly and know how demanding and tiring it is with a little one and sometimes just getting through the day is a huge accomplishment. Work can be a breeze compared to this. I know both sides which makes me more understanding and appreciative, but I have to remind myself often. I also have try not and get irritated when my DH lists all the chores and demands of the day, like I couldn’t know what he’s been through. I know he needs extra attention from me then and I just listen and then take over whatever he’s doing and most certainly do not tell him how we had an ice cream social at work that day – LOL. (Am I the guy or what?). I’ve also had to let go and not worry how well does certain things (in my opinion!) since I would be too stressed. I still feel the burden of being Mom, worrying about her naps, meals, development, Dr. apts, etc., but I try to share that burden with my DH and others so I don’t feel put upon like I have to do it ALL.

  2. this is a great post. I needed some uplifting words tonight. I never expect my 17 month old son to thank me but I would like it if my husband said thanks every once in a while 🙂 Off the subject (of course!) at what age do you feel its appropraite to place a small t.v. in a child's room or do you feel it's never okay. Also, when do you start tucking the child into bed with blanket & pillow? Carter sleeps w/a blankie but is still in crib mode for bed. Since he isn't trying to climb out I am leaving it in crib mode till closer to 2 yrs old. your thoughts?? Thanks!

  3. You know what drives me bananas about that mentality about moms being off the clock when dad gets home? HE'S BEEN WORKING ALL DAY. I get it. He gets to talk to adults, depending on his job he gets to take breaks when he wants and enjoys his job most or all of the time, whatever, but it's still work. And even if we think (know) that our jobs as sahms are harder than their jobs, they are probably still of the mentality that they were working really hard all day and are tired. I can honestly and truly say that I want my home to be a place my husband wants to come home to, that is as clean and peaceful as possible. I wish dinner was on the table and my children were quietly playing and I could bring my husband his slippers and newspaper. I know it's gets harder and harder as one gains more children without gaining more time. If my husband thinks he'll just have to come home and take care of kids, that is not what he's going to want to do. You know what I really think is a great solution if you really are overwhelmed and need your husband to take over? I would tell my husband that I needed a brief break as soon as he got home, but then I'd be back. I'd lock myself in my room for 20 – 25 minutes and I'd also give my husband 3 specific ideas for activities that he could do while I rested. He could go for a walk, play this game I've set up, watch this video, run this errand, whatever, but that I needed this brief time and then I'd be good to go. Having young children is a thankless job nearly all of the time, but as always, being organized, consistent, and hardworking really does make it more manageable and bearable, and being open and specific about your needs and presenting fair solutions can get through many problems.

  4. This is something I've been dealing with and adjusting to the past 6 weeks since my son was born. Although, not so much selfishness directed at my husband, but selfishness of wanting "me time" during the day and being unproductive, just like you stated. The adjustment of going from 1 child to 2 has been hard for me. I'm the type of person that likes time alone to de-stress and re-group so to speak. But adding a new baby in the mix leaves me with not much time for myself and I was really struggling with that. But the Lord is showing me that actually, by being self-less, and working hard for my family even when I may not feel like it, really makes me a happier person than when I get an attitude and think, "I've done this, this, and this, and now I deserve a break." Because then I don't get as much accomplished as I wanted to and then that makes me more stressed out. Being selfless comes hard for me. I have to pray every single day for God to give me the strength and patience to be a good mom and wife. But I'm so very thankful for a GREAT husband who is willing to split responsiblities with me 50/50 even after a hard day's work.

  5. This post is really thought-provoking and started a good conversation with my husband. I like what the commenters have said and I really identify with Stephanie's comment! Thanks.

  6. Thanks for this post. It was a good reminder. I love this post, Val, and I completely agree!I am selfish sometimes, I guess we all are, but I know that if I need a break then my husband probably does too. One of my favorite little sayings lately (that I heard in our last Stake Conf) is "I can do hard things." I wish more people understood your point of view.

  7. Love this post! I get tired of hearing all the "Mommy" whining and complaining. Yes, it's tough but sometimes I wish people would just put things into perspective and realize all the blessings they have around them. Thanks for the great words 🙂

  8. Thank you for this post! I loved it! Thank you for being bold because this is something all us mommies should hear and think about.

  9. Kristin, that is really interesting to hear that other side from a female. And I had to LOL at the "ice cream social" comment–I always get jealous when DH gets catered lunches and such 🙂 But I know he is jealous I get to see all of the amazing things the kids do. Although the other day when McKenna pooped in the tub he wasn't so jealous…

  10. LaChelle, TV–my opinion is never. We don't even have a TV in our master, so we are pretty strict about the TV in the bedroom thing.The blanket/pillow…honestly it has been very different for all three kids. It has moved up in age with each (Brayden was about 3, Kaitlyn 2, McKenna 1), but it isn't because I changed my mind on what age was best–I just did it when they seemed ready.When you do get a pillow, get a rather flat pillow.


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