Eva’s father sent me a text message yesterday (which I will paraphrase to spare you from his spelling and texting abbreviations) that said, “I know you are mad at me, but I’ve been having a lot of personal issues lately. If I’m not loving myself, I can’t love or help anyone else.”

(Lately meaning “since the 90’s.”)

To which I replied, “That’s interesting because I make sure Eva is taken care of BEFORE I do anything for myself. Glad I’m the one providing for her.”

As much as I know being angry is unproductive and destructive, he makes my blood burn like fire (NOT in the good way!)

In what world do parents take care of themselves first? Seriously? Pretty sure the premise of having children is taking care of them as if they are your own flesh and blood…


Parents, would you ever eat if your child had none? Would you ever worry about having new clothes if theirs didn’t fit? Would you ever buy yourself something that would prevent you from providing for them?

No. No. No.

Unfortunately, our society actually encourages us to believe that we are worthless to others unless we feel happy and fulfilled. Get all those THINGS and do EVERYTHING you want so you feel better; only happy people contribute! Guess what? THAT’S BACKWARDS. Any good mother will tell you that there are nights she does not want to make/drive through and pick up dinner–but she does it. There are mornings she does not want to get out of bed–but she does it. At one point, we all thought that we weren’t going to make it through the first year alive and/or sane. (I’m still not sure my sanity is what it once was. Sleep deprivation is a killer.) Even for people without children, do you believe that you can’t make a difference if you’re having a bad day?

Eva is my reason. I power through the bad days because even when she is making me crazy (which is way more frequentlysince she turned 4) I love her more than free time, more than disposable income, more than going out with the girls, and more than doing what I want.

I’m not saying all parents should be martyrs to their children, we’re still individuals with needs too, I’m saying that the idea you can’t contribute if life gets hard is just wrong.

The past couple weeks have been really hard for me. As I mentioned in my last post, we are entering a season of change. I don’t know where exactly we’re going but it’s somewhere new. The not knowing stresses me out. My job stresses me out. My personal life stresses me out. And when Eva has a bad day or a temper tantrum, I feel like a bad mother. Which stresses me out. It’s not easy putting a stubborn, willful, cantankerous little girl first. The thanks we receive as parents are hugs, kisses, and the occasional unexpected sweetness. I’m still holding on to Eva telling me I am the best mommy ever from MONTHS AGO to get me through this phase with her. But I would rather die than know I was constantly shorting her to make myself feel better.

At the end of the day, we all need to remember that we can find joy in sacrifices. Maybe not immediately, and certainly not if it is a sacrifice made in resentment, but eventually the reward of joy will come back to find you.

A kitschy song from bible camp is playing in my head now about putting others first.

J is for Jesus / O is for others / Y is for you and you and you.

That is our hierarchy of priorities right there. And during this Easter weekend, when many of us are reflecting on a world-altering sacrifice, I hope I can set my stresses aside, lift up my daughter, my family and my friends and be thankful I have the opportunity to sacrifice for the ones I love. Where would I be if He hadn’t sacrificed for me?

Hope your day is filled with joy.



8 thoughts on “J.O.Y.

  1. Dearest Abby, read your blog this morning and and it took me on a journey back in time. You show up regularly on my FB and I’ve been following Eva as she grows up. What a beautiful child. My heart overflows at the relationship that you and Emily have and the support she gives you; she has your back and will be there for Eva to fill gaps. Everyone needs an aunt/uncle like that; moms can’t do it all.
    As for Eva’s dad, he’s wrong. You can love others even if you don’t always love yourself. That’s just something that came out in the 70’s from a guy named Eric Fromm. Get over yourself, Dad. It’s not all about you. You’re right, Abby, it’s not a choice about Eva’s needs.
    Where I landed on Memory Lane was another little four year old, high maintainence girl a little over twenty years ago. You were a pistol, Abby. You mother and I became friends not long after you all moved here, we lived near you, and we got together often. Linda and I both had high maintainence eldest daughters and we bolstered one another with deep cups of coffee. She was my buddy that took a thermos of coffee to the pool with me Oh, Abby, those were the days! I’m sure you’re a wonderful mother because YOU had a wonderful mother and because, Abby, all that energy and creativity and curiousity and vitality and intelligence that made you an exceptional child now make you an exceptional woman and mother. I love the pictures that you share of the things you all make and the places you go and the things you read. Try to carve out time to refresh yourself; you count. A depleted mom is tough to reinflate. And laugh, laugh a lot. But then, Abby, I believe you know how to do that! Loving you still, Debbie Hodges

    • Debbie, thank you for the comment! It did make me laugh…you are so right, I was a complete pistol. 🙂 And my mother reminds me exactly where all of Eva’s personality comes from, the good AND the bad!
      Thank you for the encouragement! It is much appreciated.

  2. Couldn’t help rolling my eyes at him. It’s like, “Gee, it must be nice to be able to totally abdicate responsibility for your obligations as a decent human being because you *feel bad.*” I am making my judgy face in his general direction, just for you.



    (It's hard to represent in e-format, but you know what I mean.)

  3. I am reminded of a great scene in Look Who’s Talking, when 9 months pregnant Kirsty Alley discover’s the married father of her child, who Just left his wife to be with her, is in fact cheating on Her as well. She asks him whats going on and he says “I know this will be hard for you to understand, but I am going through a selfish faze right now.” As if that is completely understandable, and reasonable. Her responce “A selfish faze? A Selfish Faze?!?! You D*&#!!! Stupid D&%$!!!”

    Could only find the clip in spanish… so here are two short montages of a single, working mom with her growing boy. Enjoy!

  4. Pingback: I’m Not Daddy Too | abby and eva

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