February was a month of learning and growing for me. I learned a little about some of my friends and a lot about myself! I also learned that even though I am a great mom, I am still trying to learn the lessons I am teaching my children. Let me explain.
My wonderful hard working husband had an opportunity to take a little vacation this month. He got to get on an 'airs planes' (as my son would say) and leave this cold Virgina weather and land in sunny, warm Florida.
But, by being out of town, that left me with the kids on my own for 4 nights. For the week leading up to him leaving I kept having mixed feelings. How could he just up and leave me for 4 nights all by myself with four small kids? But wait, I kinda do the kid thing on my own anyway. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a great father, but he works long hours to make it possible for me to stay home full time. This means that there are some days that I take care of the kids all day and get them to bed before he even walks through the front door. So him being gone for a few days doesn't really throw a wrench into my life. So why then was I so mad?
When I dug down deep and really worked through my feelings, I wasn't mad, I was jealous. Jealous. Why does he get a fun 5 days off when I haven't had 12 hours off in 5 years? How come he can just decide to up and go to Florida when it takes a small miracle to get me and the 4 kids to the grocery store and back?
I have had many people, family, friends and complete strangers tell me that our family should run differently. That my husband should 'do more' around the house. That I need to 'train' him to help more. I respectfully disagree. Just like every person has different qualities, each family unit does too. My family doesn't need to run like others. I love serving my family. I love that I get to spend my days with my kids and I get to love and encourage my husband. So why then was I jealous that he was getting a vacation and I wasn't?
Sinful human nature. Or something more?
His vacation came at a time when I had started to feel overwhelmed with my responsibilities. It came at a time when I was feeling taken advantage of. I had 5 people who depended on me and I was feeling drained. I didn't look the way I wanted to and I defiantly didn't feel the way I wanted to. I started to have the dreaded and very damaging, "what about me?" attitude.
I was talking with a friend, or more likely complaining. When she said something that just rocked me. She said, "We can do everything right, say everything right and be everything right. But, that doesn't guarantee that we will get the outcome that we want." Or maybe it doesn't guarantee an outcome that we think we deserved.
I thought about this for a few days. I really am a great mom. Sure, I lose my temper and yell. I get tired of the constant 'why' some days. I haven't truly slept through the night in 4.5 years. Four years people!! But, I truly love my kids. I have a desire to teach them and grow them the way God wants me to. I also am a great wife. I may not be the prettiest arm candy a husband could have, but I love my husband. I respect my husband. I want to do the best I can by him. So, I can be a great mom and a great wife and still not be the one who gets the vacation.
Then today my daughter had a disappointment and a subsequent bad attitude to go with it. Her younger sister got to ride in the truck with daddy, while she had to ride in the car with mommy. "I don't want to ride with you! I want to ride with daddy!"
"Honey. I understand you want to get to ride with daddy. But we don't always get what we want in life. Today it's sisters turn. Another day it will be your turn. We don't always get to be the special one. We don't always get to have the new dress, or be the birthday girl, or be the one that gets a special treat. What really matters is how you treat people when it's not your turn. We need to change our heart so that we are happy for sister that she gets to have a turn."
Yes. We need to change our heart.
We don't always get to be the special one. Or the one who gets the vacation. We can do everything right, say everything right and be everything right, but that doesn't mean we are guaranteed the outcome we want. But what matters is how we treat people. What matters is how we treat people when we don't get want we want (or get to be the one on vacation).