Amazing People · featuredpost · Inspiring mommas

My First World Problems

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She was our waitress, the kindest waitress you will ever meet.

She interacted with my little guy for a while and then turned to me, “My son is eight. . . He is still living in the Philipines with my parents.”

I realized in that moment the utter triviality of my “First World Problems.”

We spoke more and I soon learned she is hoping to be able to send for him in a year or two, if she can raise enough funds. In the meantime she is sending money home for both him and her parents.

First World Problem: I am stressed and embarrassed because my kids are screaming in the store.

Her son lives another world away. They talk every day, and he often asks her, “Mommy when are you going to come get me?”

First World Problem: The laundry looks like Everest and my children just colored all over the wall.

She smiled at me, but I could see the deep sorrow in her eyes. She smiled at me, but I can only imagine the nights she cries, wishing with everything in her to be cuddling once more with her sweet boy. To feel his touch, smell his scent.

First World Problem: My coffee maker broke and my son just spilled his milk all over the floor.

She continues on, so he can live a better life. Her precious boy, her only son, the reason she lives and breathes: she works so hard, desperate to give him the world.

First World Problem: I had a long day, I am really tired, and I have not had any “me time.”

Her “me time” is frequent. How she longs for no more “me time.” How she looks with desperation to the day of togetherness with her dear boy once more.

First World Problem: I am not as pretty, as accomplished, as successful as that other mom.

Chances are, her life will never be as easy as mine. She will work hard for the remainder of her days, and yet she does so with a grateful heart. No demands, no I deserve, no bad attitude, and you owe me escapes her lips. She is grateful for the opportunity she has to be here, to help her precious family and dear son.

First World Problem: I am eating peanut butter and jelly with my kids because I was too busy to cook.

My children are here with me. My first world problems are just that: First World. How pitiful I can be. How selfish. . .

Eat your peanut butter sandwich and smile, foolish girl. Go jump in the pile of laundry and throw some towels to begin soaking up the milk. Take an outing to Starbucks and bring your latte to the park. Watch your babies run and laugh and relish each and every moment of it.

I pray often for this precious soul, that all her dreams may come true.

In truth though, in our short dinner, she taught me more than I will ever be able to thank her for. I pray her face will never leave my vision, for she has burned in me a realization of how very fortunate I am.

No more complaints from this momma.

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77 thoughts on “My First World Problems

  1. ………….nothing like a little perspective to turn your whole world around, huh? We really do have so very much in our lives that we take for granted. As always, extremely well-written, Sasha!

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  2. Hmm!

    Just last week I was discussing with a friend who had to leave her son for a week with her mom in another town. Really, i empathized because of the circumstances she’s in but again I just wondered how these career lives and life’s pursuits will be fair to very many moms out there eking a living. Not everyone can be a stay at home mom I agree but again i wonder how many children live so far away for months, years from their parents. How will we train them in the way God wants us to? Our parents did their part I think, we must also stand up to our responsibility of raising our children ourselves. I pray for help for so many “busy” moms at this time to rise to the occasion. 🙂

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  3. Good reminder for me, Sasha. Sure I want MORE time with my kiddos, but I have them with me every night. I might miss a “first” because I have to work, but I’ll catch the “second”. I don’t like my circumstances, but clearly they could be worse.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this Kirsten! We really are so fortunate to have our children here with us. Your lot is still a challenge in itself though, and I pray many “firsts” will find themselves when your eyes are watching. 🙂

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  4. Great perspective! I mean really great! It is true that we live very much that way in this country and it’s not fair.

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  5. So great to have this eye-opening reminder of how lucky we are…our problems mostly involving being overwhelmed with the real, messy love of our children! I have a cleaning helper who come a to help once a week. She is also from the Philippines, and has an 8 year old son living with her parents. She always smiles and I haven’t hear her complain nice, but is can’t imagine how she feels.

    If anyone feels inspired to share some of our financial blessings with poorer countries to make a difference in quality of life for families there, the charity LINCCO does amazing work in training and empowering people in poorer countries to have the skills and knowledge to help themselves. Here’s a link to a great project they did to train local women as community health nurses and care providers for children and the elderly: now they have skills to last a life time! Many more projects are underway around the world…hey, that cheaper peanut butter and jelly dinner can free up a few bucks to help others! 😉

    http://lincco.org/site/en/philippines-1

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    1. Anna, thank you SO MUCH for sharing this link!! What an amazing organization! I am excited to look through all this information and ways I can help. Thank you for putting my peanut butter sandwich into even greater perspective as well!

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  6. I often think that God places certain people in my daily life just so I’ll pray for them. Some encounters touch me so much that I pray for the person long afterwards (even though I never see them again), other times it is only a brief meeting and I pray for them on the way home. Either way, there are so many people all around us that are going through so much and even though we may never know the outcome, our prayers are something significant we can do for them. How wonderful that you pray often for this girl… we know God hears… and answers! Beautiful post. Thanks for reminding us of how blessed we are!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. We never know what is working itself out in the background. We really are so very blessed and this sweet girl opened my eyes with her dear spirit.

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  7. I needed this today! My husband has been gone on a guy’s weekend (well-deserved), but it’s been hard. I swear I got the kids in and out of the van 12 times today. Not joking! I tried making it too fun without Daddy being home and made myself miserable. First world problem, for sure. Thanks for the reminder, and I pray for that mother. So heartbreaking.

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    1. Your lot is definitely not one of the easiest roads but you are most certainly so very blessed with such a beautiful crew! I am glad you found a small dose of encouragement in this today! Still, make sure to prop your feet up sometime if possible. 🙂 Thank you for praying–I know it holds power.

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        1. Thanks! Yes, it is such a bittersweet experience. Your heart breaks for you dear baby no more and yet at the same time you celebrate the child growing up before you.

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  8. Everyone suffers in their own way, and our own suffering is not necessarily reduced because someone is suffering more – and we don’t need to add guilt on top of our suffering. Of course you are right – complaining about what is happening to us is pointless – acceptance and peace are beautiful things in a life. Still,don’t be too hard on yourself, okay? 🙂 Beautiful story by the way, and I love that you were able to use it as a signpost to wisdom xo

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    1. Thanks Sara! I see what you mean. Guilt is not the answer, but awareness and gratitude, and a helping hand whenever possible.

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  9. Hi Sasha, you write so well. It brought tears to my eyes reading about the predicament of other moms in our country. It has been like that for decades in our third world country that it has become a norm. But now that I’ve thought about it, you just brought me back to my senses of how privilege and blessed I am. There are times that I am sadden by my predicament as a stay-at-home mom who’s whole world is the four corners of the house and my daily challenges are homeschooling and making the boys clean their room among others. They are important to me, but they do appear trivial compared to what other “away-moms” are going through. Thank you!

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    1. Jenn, thank you so much for sharing this! I love to hear your perspective–right from the Philippines themselves. Yes, you and I both are so very privileged. Keep teaching those sweet children of yours and hug them extra tight today! 🙂

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    1. Yes, it can become so easy to become consumed in our own little world. This girl re-opened my vision once again to see how blessed I am.

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    1. Thank you Erica! Yes, it is a time to cherish with a grateful heart–even the moments of spilled milk and temper tantrums. 🙂

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  10. You are such a great writer!! You should write a book!! Beautifully written, beautiful perspective. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. What a wonderful reminder of how privileged we are to be able to live with our children on a daily basis and how petty our concerns sometimes are. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. I live in South Africa, and it sounds extremely snobbish to say but here most households have a maid (cleaning lady) at least once a week its not very expensive but it is job creation (unemployment is a major factor in our country) but we all have someone who assists in the home with cleaning, washing and ironing (i personally hate ironing!) allot of these cleaning ladies live with their employers as their homes are in very remote rural areas as a result they see their children about once a month. Its a very sad reality.

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    1. Oh, Rochelle, I imagine these ladies consider themselves blessed to have a job and be able to bring support to their families. Such a hard lot they have been given though.Thank you so much for sharing this with me!! I did not realize you lived in South Africa–how amazing it is to connect with fellow moms all across the world!

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  13. What a beautifully written post. It made me really think about how privileged I am in so many ways. Thank you for the reminder! But also remember that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. It’s okay to voice our problems from time to time–motherhood is universally tough and challenging!

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    1. Thank you! My main point is simply to be grateful for how blessed we are, which can sometimes find itself overlooked in the business and stresses of motherhood. Thanks for pointing this out though: I agree, we do have rough times as well, and to each their own.

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  14. Sasha – it might not be your “thing” but I put your blog up for Very Inspirational Blogger (see today’s post of mine). It’s posts like these that really inspire me to change the way I look at my life 🙂

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  15. I just love your realness and the ability to gracefully put our mommy lives in perspective. Praying she witnesses a miracle, and can be holding her baby sooner than she was expecting 🙏

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    1. Oh, thank you dearly for your kind words!! Yes, I am agreeing with you in prayer today: may she somehow find a way to hold her son soon!!

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    1. I am glad you found some encouragement! I am in the same boat with you–learning to be a little more aware of life’s bigger picture.

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  16. I can’t believe we wrote these posts at the same time!
    It’s something else, when we find out what others go through, and see how it changes the perception we have of our own lives! It can really CHANGE our view, can’t it?

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    1. Yes, Valerie, I was so blessed when I read your post so similar! How amazing we both had this on our hearts at the same time! It is through encounters such as these our lives take on a completely different meaning and purpose. I am so thankful I met this girl–she has changed my thinking tremendously.

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    1. Yes, Margot! I did not tell her how much her words impacted me, simply gave my sympathies and small talk instead. She has no idea. How I hope some day she will know how many lives she encouraged through her courage.

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  17. What an awesome and humbling reminder of the truth that we are blessed beyond measure. I’ve been tired lately and at times my attitude gets stuck in a selfish place. Thank you for this. I always feel blessed but that doesn’t stop me from getting tired and cranky over my very first world problems some days. This was beautiful and I’ll remember it the next time I want to complain!

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    1. Mothering young children can be exhausting, no matter where you live. Putting things into perspective seems to give me the strength to push through the rough moments; to realize how insignificant many of my “difficulties” are. You are such a great momma. Keep on loving those little rascals! 🙂

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  18. This was good for me to read today. My eldest has just gone to Mexico for five months and I am missing her so much but all being well she will be back soon. Stories like this one here and the terrible news of so many children killed in Gaza and elsewhere remind me that many mothers are suffering heartbreak and separation I can scarcely imagine. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, Juliet, I know when I left across country for school my mom weeped like a baby–more than once. I know without a doubt I will do the same. We are so blessed though to know we will soon re-unite again. Prayers for strength for you during your separation–it is not easy on any momma’s heart!

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  19. Beautifully written, and so sad. You have a great perspective on how lucky we are to have “first world” problems. I know a couple of women who have children far away, and I literally cannot imagine the pain.

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