Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just do the dishes already, ok?

I'm selfish.

I don't think I would regularly admit to that - and generally speaking, I don't think I am...wait, no, I am.

But lately, I feel like God has me going through the Refiner's fire, where I am being purified and refined.  And I don't like it.  Not one bit.  It's hard to be refined, and chiseled away at, and be put through the fire.  But in the last couple of days, I have realized that I am selfish.

I have mentioned love languages in an earlier post.  There is a book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman that is great.  As a quick recap, it says we experience love and tend to give love the same ways.  And those ways are:
1. Physical Touch
2.  Quality/Quantity Time
3.  Service
4. Gifts
5.  Affirmation

Before I had kids, I was a touch person for sure.  My close second was quality time.

After kids, I'm so over people hanging on me all day that touch is definitely not high up there anymore.  Quality time is still in second place, definitely.  But my number one love language is...

SERVICE!  Come on moms, don't you understand?  I mean, if my husband was to do the dishes and some laundry - I would be like putty in his hands at this point in our marriage.  Service is the language that I speak.

Dave, used to be a Quality Time person.  He still is, but even he has changed since we have become parents to a Service guy.

Funny how kids change you.

So, Dave and I are speaking the same language.  Which makes things easy enough between us.  I do his laundry and make him dinner, he loads the dishwasher - everything in Sharonville is happy as can be, right?

Not so much.

Because I am selfish...dare I say it, we are selfish.

Here's why - because I know you are wondering what could possibly make me so selfish that I am writing an entirely too long post all about it.  Well, here you go...

Because my kids don't understand service.  Well, they do.  But not in ways that I consider service.  I do not consider pouring water all over my kitchen floor to help "clean" it service.  I do not consider cracked eggs all over my kitchen floor, counters and fridge in effort to make me "breakfast" service.  I do not, yes I know it's hard to imagine why not, but I do not consider taking all the sheets out of the linen closet to cover our furniture to make it more comfy for us to sit on service.  I actually consider it anti-service.

My kids are touch kids.  My kids are time kids.  And my kids are affirmation kids.

Lily, is a gift kid but none of the others are.  She gets one gift and she will sit there for hours hugging it because it is her's. 

But Emma, she is a touch and affirmation kid by far...and a time.  Ok, everything except for service.

And here I am, because I'm so self-absorbed, that I am trying to show her love by acts of service - because that's how I receive love.  Like cooking a fantastic meal for them.  (But you are supposed to feed us Mom)  Like cleaning her room (But you are supposed to clean our house Mom)  Like organizing her closet and picking out great outfits for her (But you are supposed to dress us Mom)

And she's not grateful, darn that four year old.

And she doesn't feel overwhelmingly loved and appreciated when I slave over a hot stove or spend hours on my knees cleaning.  She sees it like I'm doing my job.  Awesome.  And yes Emma, I suppose I am.

But here is where the selfishness lies.  She is communicating her love to me the best way she knows how - which is the way she understands love (touch, time, affirmation) - yet I'm so busy doing my service thing, that I don't even stop long enough to receive her love or acknowledge that I'm thankful she is giving it to me.  I'm so over being touched, I push her away.  My time is constantly divided, I tend to not even get through a book without having to put it on hold.  And affirmation usually gets lost somewhere amidst, "Can't you pick up your toys?  Don't you love me?"

Ok, I never actually say that, but I sure think it.  And that's totally mature, since a 4 year old is mature enough to process how we receive love.  Cool Melissa, really cool.

So, today I decided to focus on trying to love them the way they best understand - and appreciate when they serve me, even though most of the time, it feels like creation of more work.  I need to translate it as love, instead of getting angry.

I'm tired.  I'm going to bed.  Tomorrow my hubby starts a new job, and I need to love him by having a dinner on the table for him when he gets home tomorrow at a decent, normal time so we can eat dinner as a family together.  So weird.  And I must have energy for tomorrow to lovingly volunteer to be hung on and touched all day...because I love my kids - with all my heart...and I guess that's not so selfish, right? 


Modern Super Momma

I hadn't heard about the 5 forms of love before, but it totally makes sense. I could place people I know in each of those categories. I, too, am a service love person. I'll slave away for hours in the kitchen (yesterday was biscuits and gravy followed by BBQ pork ribs and noodles). While my family said "thank you" and "mmmm, yummy" I just felt like they didn't GET the sheer amount of love I had poured into the meals. Ok, maybe I'm sort of an affirmation person, too.

Just like any sort of communication, one must learn - not only how they best give and receive information - but how others best give and receive the information as well. Dance the dance, Momma, and those kids will really know you love them. (Then go do yourself a service and go take a quiet bubble bath!)


We just talked about this and how the love languages can change over time. I'm over the top "Acts of Service" followed by a close second "Words of Affirmation." I want to get the book about speaking your kids love language...wonder if it's any good?

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