I've always been mystified by Saint Paul's statement in I Timothy 2:15: "women shall be saved by childbearing". Excuse me? Does that mean if I don't bear children I'm doomed? But now that I actually am a mom, (and without having done any scholarly research on this passage), I think I know what Saint Paul was getting at. The fact is, if making it to heaven one day is related to personal holiness, then being a parent will certainly help get you there because kids are the ultimate un-doers of selfishness.
Holding your child for the first time and realizing YOU have to take care of a living, wiggling human being is mind-boggling, and actually doing it is even more so-at least sometimes. I've had moments when I would've preferred cleaning a toilet, no--thousands of toilets, to being a mom because my baby was: A) Wide awake 3 hours past his normal bedtime, B) Preferring to touch at least some part of my body all day long, C) A newborn who allowed me to sleep for no more than an hour at a time, D) All of the above, all at once. And that's not even mentioning the bigger picture of how he has turned my life upside-down.
Motherhood has given me no choice but to sacrifice-bits of selfishness have gotten burned out of me by force! I know the Lord is a gracious God, but I've felt at times that for sure He must be pointing down from heaven saying something like 'HA! HA! YOU think you're holy? Look at you, you can't even stand to have one little morning given over to someone else's needs!'
I'm pretty sure sin is rooted in selfishness. Often it is cloaked in something else, but I think the things I struggle with in life are due to my selfishness: not giving up my own time to spend in prayer=selfishness. Refusing to serve my husband=selfishness. Etc, etc. Overcoming my selfishness seems impossible, but raising booga bear has given me a darn good way to go about it. I'd like to think that I am a more compassionate person now that I have cared for a completely helpless human being, and that my response to other people tends more towards mercy than annoyance.
After 18 months, 2.5 weeks of being a mom, I 100% guarantee that parenthood will give you many, many opportunities to work on virtue. If you're looking for a way to practice being merciful and loving, have I got a plan for you...it's like a diet from self-indulgence without the possibility of a disappointing relapse! How can you go wrong?