When Your Child Just Wants To See You Happy

I bought Raviolis because I was tired and it seemed easy. All kids love Raviolis, right?

Apparently, not mine.

The three-year old flat out refused.

I got mad when she wouldn’t try a real bite. I told her, “you are going to eat this bite or you’re not eating!”

She cried, and took the bite. Then she said she didn’t like it, and I told her she could have bread.

Then I gave in and made her something else. And she got strawberry milk.

I asked the other two if they liked their lunch. They were all, “yes mama, I like it.”

I realized I probably scared them out of not liking it when I spoke so harshly to their sister.

“It’s okay if you don’t like it, just tell me and I won’t buy it again.”

My son says, “well, I don’t like it.”

My other daughter, the oldest says, “I love it. I just love it!”

So I’m in the kitchen and I’m fixing my own lunch and I hear crying. I look over to the table and my sweet Ella, the one who “loves” the Raviolis, has her head down and she can’t stop the tears.

“What’s wrong, honey?”

“I want to like the food because you bought it and it makes you happy if I like it.

More tears.

Oh dear.

“Ella, I am so sorry. You don’t have to like it, you can’t help what you like and don’t like. And you are not responsible for making me happy – look at me – it is not your job to make me happy. Will you forgive me for putting you in a place that made you feel like you had to make me happy? I shouldn’t have been harsh with your sister. I want you to be who God made you to be, and it’s okay to not like things I like. You be you! Do you understand? You make me happy just because you’re mine.”

Her lips go from quivering to smiling.

“I give you permission to not make me happy. You are free to like or not like what you want. I love you all the same.”

The smile expands.

I pour her some cereal, and the day goes on.

And now I understand how the Father loves so well.

I don’t have to please Him, I already do, just because I’m His.

Love, SM

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  • Teresa

    Awww….you have such sweet kids. My daughter doesn’t like ravioli, either. And she is very honest when she doesn’t like something I’ve made (e.g. “Mom, that’s the worst pizza I have ever had.” Ouch!!) Thank you for sharing this story….

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    Cry cry cry! What an eye opener for me. Oh my word. I need to go pray.

    • Kelley_WithEagerHands

      ^ Yes! Me too. :(

  • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ Crystal

    One of the greatest revelations in my Christian walk came when I became a mother and realized that God loves me (flawed, imperfect, daily failing ME)…even more than I love my precious boys. That was the most awe-inspiring thought that really just brought me to my knees. It’s so awesome to think about being loved like that. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Kelley_WithEagerHands

    I have actually said to my children “You are not making me happy right now” when they were disobeying…praising myself for staying calm and not yelling…what a horrible lie though…they always make me happy, I just wasn’t pleased with their actions. Why is it so difficult to communicate our true feeling sometimes? :(

    • http://bumbersbumblings.blogspot.com/ Amber

      I, too, struggle with using those terms. I definitely need to come up with something different!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1316303869 Amy Collins Tilson

    My mind and heart are reeling right now. I know I’ve done this. It’s so hard when you have that strong willed child who refuses to try the good, then it all boils over and just UGH! Oh, what to do? Thank you for laying this out there.

  • Emily

    I just wish I was raised in a home in which my mother had talked to me this way. And I wish I knew how to talk to my own children in such a kind and loving way. I am afraid my words most times are far from kind and loving but more firm and harsh. This gives me a lot to think and pray about. Thank You!

    • http://joyfulcontentment.wordpress.com/ Elizabeth Sadosky

      Emily, I feel as you do…the thing I keep praying is for God to open my eyes to see my kids as He sees them; to view the world from His perspective. And I’m learning its okay for me to say sorry, to ask for forgiveness and for them to see the real me–the mom that struggles with raising them.

  • QueenLos

    Friend the these past two posts you have written are really getting to me.. keep them coming. I need this soo much!

  • http://bumbersbumblings.blogspot.com/ Amber

    Loved this!! Such a great reminder!
    My little guy said he wanted to carry his own lunch to the car for preschool today. I forgot to check that he had done that. I realized when I pulled in to his preschool that he didn’t bring it. On the way back home to pick it up, he uttered a wimper. I turned to look at him and he said, “Mommy, I don’t want you to be SAD!!!” Way to break my heart!

  • Sarah Bowers

    This was beautiful – yet very convicting for me! thank you for helping me see an area that needs attention!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686442200 Kristine McGuire

    Oh yes. I think we have all struggled with those times (and those words) with our children. Sounds like you recovered the experience with a lesson in humility, forgiveness, and love. A beautiful picture of God’s love for us indeed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/memoiroflife.jessiquawittman Jessiqua Wittman

    This was sooo beautiful! I’m new around here, but this post has made me check out your other stuff for sure. Thank you so much for being vulnerable and humble and helping out us imperfect mommies!

  • TraciMLittle

    so so beautiful! thanks for letting us get at peak at your home, your heart, and your walk with our Savior Jesus!

  • Dawn P.

    Oh dear Sara…this has really humbled me reading this post…so transparent and so real. I cried. I prayed. Forgivessness for finding myself there all too often. I am refreshed and thankful. He does love me. I understand. I can love better and not expect soo much. Thank you for you have lifted me!!!
    Dawn P.

  • StephanieGlidden

    This broke my heart and encouraged it all at once!

  • Allie

    I had some tears reading this…and that deep down feeling I get which is the Holy Spirit telling me “yes, yes, this is truth”.

    • http://twitter.com/Vaderalman Mark Allman

      Allie, I agree with you here. “yes, yes, this is truth”. “I don’t have to please Him, I already do, just because I’m His.” What are great perspective.

  • Nena

    I had this exact scenario happen about two monta ago over ravioli!! too funny.
    Thank you for all your honest posts. It helps me realize I am not alone in my imperfections! Blessings.

  • Kathy Schwanke

    It took me over 30 years to understand my issue, the ‘firstborn-pleasing-for-fear-of-disappointing’ thing. Such a blessing she had the ability to communicate truth to you and you could refute the lie of the enemy. God is so good! :)

  • Beth Williams

    I loved the ending–”And now I understand how the Father loves so well.
    I don’t have to please Him, I already do, just because I’m His.”

    In the past I have yelled at my pets, I treat them like kids, & then temper it with love!

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    Psalm 8:1-2 comes to mind about “out of the mouths of babes.” Ow. As painful and embarrassing it is to have our kids witness to us, it is probably one of the most convicting things I ever experienced. God uses each of us to minister to each other, and he does it especially well with our children, I think.

    Thanks for sharing this especially important, poignant and humbling lesson with us!

  • Sheralyn

    “You are not responsible for making me happy…” I am so thankful for reading this. Those are words I so desperately wished I would have heard from my mother and it makes my heart lighter to understand that…especially now with our first on the way. That is how He loves us, and what a blessing it is for children to be loved like that too. I will remember your words…thank you so much for sharing :)

  • http://kcbutlersatimetolaugh.blogspot.com/ Dana Butler

    Hi, just discovered you today via the better mom site. Loved this article… Really raw and real and helpful… Thank you so much for your honesty!!

  • Dee Dee

    I had a moment similar to this one with my 4yo. It was also an eye opening experience. Beautiful!

  • Crafty Mama

    I’ve read this probably three times. This is something I need to work real hard on. I’ve always lived to please others, and I think I’ve inadvertently expected my children to live the same way. They don’t deserve that kind of pressure and guilt. Thank you for a simple yet very meaningful post.

  • Amanda Hill

    What a tender-hearted girl you have! To want to please you so badly – get out! I’m glad you captured that moment. Mine are strong-willed and would be like “So gross, mom. Don’t ever buy this again. It is totally disgusting.”

    Well.
    Amanda over at http://www.hillpen.com

  • Omily

    Wow..thanks for this…

    One the one hand I loved the comparison to they way the Father loves us, and on the other hand…I’m not the only one getting irritated at my children, and we can always say ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘will you forgive me’ and they totally give us second chances…