The most you can spend on anyone is time

Thinking about others is a big part of motherhood. Mother's Day is a critical day to think about MOM and do something special for her. When our children do not think of us, we mothers can feel hurt and not understand what we did wrong to nurture such a self-centered individual.

Celebrating Mother's Day with two of my four "children," now 28 and 30.

This is a phone call I had with a friend yesterday. The names have been changed.

Mike: What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

Me: Casey and Noah are coming over. We’re making pizza together, a family tradition. What are you doing?

Mike: Kate and I may end up going out to dinner alone, unless Junior wants to come with us.

Me: How old is Junior?

Mike: He’s 23 and still lives at home. Junior always complains that he doesn’t have any money. He probably won’t get Kate anything, or make her anything for Mother’s Day.

Me: I always like certificates — like for cleaning my car, building things, or artwork.

Mike: I’ve always told Junior that we like things that he makes.

Me: Huh. (Thinking how easy and low-cost it is to make a home-made Mother’s Day Card or pick a few flowers from the yard.) Where are you going out to dinner?

Mike: We’d like to go to an Indian restaurant. But if Junior comes, we’ll choose somewhere else. He is not an adventuresome eater.

Me: (speechless. Hard to respond tactfully. It’s Mother’s Day. He’s getting a free meal.)   There must be something on the menu of an Indian restaurant that he would or could eat.

Mike: No, no. His sister is more adventuresome. He’s not. We’ll go somewhere else. IF he comes with us.

Me: Okay. Enjoy. Bye.

Mike is puzzled that his son is so self-centered. I wonder if Junior has ever done a chore for the common good without getting paid for it. This is one of many ways to teach children teamwork and to get them outside of ME-ME-ME.

Children and most people are naturally about ME-ME-ME. Which is why parents’ job is so important. We socialize human beings for life in the world with others. Our teachings take a long time to install, and last a lifetime, even beyond–to the next generation.

Mike could have said to Junior, “It’s Mother’s Day and your mother wants Indian food. We would love it if you would join us. I’m sure
you can find something on the menu to eat. If you don’t want to come, your mother will be disappointed. I hope you come. We’re leaving at 5:30 pm.”

Fathers can model how to put Mom first. Junior likely gets to choose the restaurant he likes on his birthday, and I bet Mom goes along with whatever he wants. Junior can do the same on Mother’s Day. It’s a first step to teach him consideration, a hard lesson to learn, especially at age 23.

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