This weekend’s hike exposed me to a shift in my thinking. I never thought of myself as a selfish person or even a self-centered person. For better or worse, I was taught to always evaluate and favor the greater good of the group vs individual wants and needs. For example, I grew up with four siblings and that meant lots of “along for the ride” dance recitals, soccer games, and other sibling activities. It also meant sharing rooms, beds and pretty much any material item. Growing up that way lead me to believe that I was not….selfish.
I’ve recently made a surprising discovery…..I was selfish and self-centered. Well, not totally, but at the very least, I didn’t know what it meant to be selfless for someone else. Recently, I have realized that until you have children you really don’t know what it means to be selfless. Before we had children most of the thoughts and decisions running through my head were me-centric. Should I go for a run after work or catch up on The Wire? I really need a new running outfit, I bought this one last year. I am going to take it easy this weekend and do some light hiking, I have had a hard week. Having kids has altered those thoughts. Should I take the kids to a playground or library after school today? AJ’s shoes are in bad shape and we should get him a new pair. The kids need an easy weekend as they have been struggling with colds. My thoughts have gone from my needs and wants to our kid’s needs and wants. I know that seems obvious, but experiencing that feels different than I had imagined.
I remember initially, after AJ’s birth, still thinking and striving to meet my personal goals. Now, almost all of my thoughts are of the kids and their needs. “Free time” is spent on things that need to be accomplished like loading the dishwasher or doing the laundry. In fact, loading the dishwasher is now something I do for myself. 🙂
This change isn’t bad and I do not mean to sound like another complaining parent. Not at all, I just have found the experience a fascinating experience and felt like sharing.