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The Selfish Balancing Act

0 Comments 04 March 2010

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I recently came upon a blog with a substantial amount of video posts, and it made me think -  am I the only sucker that actually watched the videos all the way through? I can’t say the video was boring.  It flowed, she can actually express herself verbally, and seems to be a funny person.  The content was another story.  She calls herself ‘Selfish Mom,’ and I must commend her on such honesty, brutal, not all of us are capable of that.

So, how do we determine what is selfish? Do we think twice before we do anything?

I know I don’t.  I also know that I need to.  The stark realization occurred to me when my baby was born.  I was suddenly being observed by a tiny being who’s first impressions were based almost solely upon my actions.  Frightening.  So now I try my best to maintain the image that I would like my son to be seeing.  It is not easy, and there are lapses.

The real challenge is figuring out how much time we need to allot to our children to ensure they receive the best parenting we can give, and they can get.  There is so much in our control, and at the same time, so little.  In Selfish Mom, MrsM explores two extremes: the mother who’s children are always number one priority, and the mother who puts herself first, arguing that a child can only benefit when a mother is relaxed and taken care of.  Both sides are valid, but no matter which approach you take, including the optimum balance, there will always be sacrifices.  MrsM asks: How do you become a self-preserving mother, devoted to the health and happiness of her children? I think the answer differs for everyone, and is not easy to attain.

The Happiest Mom suggests the 10-10-10 approach, which helps you determine if the choices you make are worth it in the long run.

A much-awaited weekend doing something important to you might be painful in the short term for your child, who of course will miss you in your absence. But in ten months or ten years, he may have forgotten all about it, while it remains a great memory for you. On the other hand, if going away would mean missing your child’s Little League playoffs, or would likely result in weaning, or would mean you couldn’t afford a family vacation, your answer may very well be different. Everyone weighs these priorities differently, but taking the 10-10-10 approach allows you to move past the “how do I feel about the choice right this moment” and put it into perspective: it’s possible you’re inflating the actual effect this “selfish” act would have on your family over the long term (or completely missing the possible benefits they’ll experience).

Blogging your mothering doubts can help clarify the rights and wrongs, and check if your guilty conscious is well-founded.  What are your challenges? Have any of you found the right balance? If so, please share!

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