My Love/Hate Relationship With Being Needed


In the hour between the kids waking up, and sending them off to school this morning, I heard the following:

“I need you to sign my field trip permission slip.”

“I need you to cut my pancakes.”

“I need you to make my cup of milk.”

“I need you to wipe my tushy.”

“I need you to tie my shoes.”

“I need you to help me with my homework.”

“I need you to help me get dressed.”

“I need you to grab eggs at the store.”

And on, and on, and on.

One time my spouse and I played a game to see how many times the 3 children would say “mommy” in a 30 minute time span.  We lost count shortly before losing our minds.

If there is one common denominator to the experience of motherhood, it is being NEEDED.

Of course it was far worse when I had 2 babies and a toddler in the house, but even now with my semi-big kid crew, there are never very many minutes that pass without someone needing something from me. And being needed that much is really freaking exhausting.

This past weekend I had one of those days where the needing was incessant. I felt like I spent every waking moment fulfilling need after need (all, but my own, of course). It wasn’t a terrible day, just a typical one, but by bed time, I was d-o-n-e. Unfortunately, my little wildcard, was not.

Nope, instead of drifting off to sleep peacefully, allowing me to finally browse Pinterest for hours, my 4 year old decides to have a total meltdown about the “scary” book we had read (totally benign for the record).  I’m talking terrified, mass hysteria about nothing.

At first, I stuck to my guns. “You are in your safe bed, in your safe room, in your safe house and Mommy is right downstairs. Good night.”

But after sitting on the couch, listening to her wailing, “Mooooommmyyyy!!!! I’m scared!!!!! I neeeeeeeeeeed you!!!”, it was clear that the tough love angle wasn’t going to cut it.

I was so frustrated as I marched back up the stairs. I was tired, drained, and resentful of the fact that I couldn’t get the 10 minutes of peace I had been waiting for all day. But, when I opened the door and saw her tear-streaked face, my heart softened.  Then, when she jumped into my arms, immediately relaxed, and the screams ended, my heart nearly broke in two.  We laid together in her bed and it wasn’t long at all before her little body melted into mine.  Moments like that, when my presence and love seem to have superhero-like power, still humble me. Between heavy shudders of breath, just before she allowed herself to sleep, she said, “Thank you for comin’.”

Sometimes it feels so darn good to be needed.


3 comments on “My Love/Hate Relationship With Being Needed”

  1. I can totally relate. Mid-way through our vacation last week, I was feeling so needed and “touched out” that I was going to scream. But then I calmed down and reminded myself that this time is going by way to fast. And there are worse things than being needed. It’s the opposite of lonely. Great post, from one superhero to another.

  2. This is really great. And oh, how I can totally relate to it. I love your words “superhero-like power”. Isn’t that just the truth? And what an ego boost! Who makes you feel more drained, yet more larger-than-life than your family?

  3. Oh my gosh this is so sweet. She said “thank you for comin'” – a beautiful moment. I totally know what you mean. I sing hush little baby to Lills every night in bed and last night, half way through the song, she threw a fit about wanting to start from the beginning again. I immediately got annoyed and said no and then she screamed and screamed so I start it over and had some anger in my voice during the first verse but then, as I was singing, she started singing with me with her beautiful voice and I actually laughed out loud at how ridiculous I was being. Then we relaxed into each other and sang the whole thing together.

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