Can you love your kids without getting tired?

Posted by Samantha on September 16, 2011 in Boundaries, Change, Love, Self-care |

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.  What we need is to love without getting tired.

Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun and Nobel Peace prize winning humanitarian.  20th century saint (1910 – 1997)

It’s hard for me to love without getting tired.

Some mummy-friends of mine refer to the witching hour: that time after dinner and before bed when it seems as though a switch gets thrown and all of a sudden mummy’s tolerance levels fall through the floor.

Suddenly your kids seem louder, more boisterous and infinitely more annoying than just moments before.

This is the time when I really need to watch out and practice what I preach.  And I mean what I preach to my kids!  If I want my children to use words when they’re angry or upset or when they’re overwhelmed and need some space, I better make sure I’m doing it myself or it’s all just so much blah, blah, blah.

Because try as I might, I wasn’t cut out to be Mother Teresa.  My capacity to lovingly give to my children (and I mean, give of myself) is not without limit.

First I had to identify where my limits really were.   I began to uncover – by tracking back – where things had started to go pear shaped.

It turned out that there wasn’t actually a switch.  There was in fact a gradual build-up of little resentments, as a result of boundary violations that I had either let go or (get this…) that I didn’t even know I had!

And then began the long, gradual process of making my limits explicit.  And then taking (kind and respectful but nevertheless firm) positive action when those boundaries were transgressed.

I like to remind myself often that actually I am responsible for making sure that my kids respect my boundaries.

Little my little I began to point out to them IN THE MOMENT when they’d crossed a boundary or broken a rule.  And it sometimes felt weird, and I wondered if it might back-fire, but I began to say things like “I don’t feel like doing what you ask, when you haven’t done what I’ve asked”.

Sixth stage moral development is for saints!

Slowly but surely things round here got easier.

And as it turns out, it’s a whole lot easier to love without getting tired, when you’re looking out for yourself too.


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