Recently a friend gave me a gift. With the gift came a note saying "This is for you, no one else. You deserve to have nice things too." It was a note only a mom would write to another mom, because we know the score: when you're a mom everyone else comes first, not because they insist but because we do. We do it to ourselves. We don't buy food the kids dislike, we watch the TV shows they like,we chose Hunger Games at the book store over that new book for adults we've been wanting to read.
This week in a cruel move, Hollywood is bringing out my two favorite movies of last year in the same week : The Hobbit and Les Miserables. If I don't have enough money for both come payday guess which one we will get? It wont be the one with Hugh Jackman, but the one with dwarves and wizards that everyone in the house will like.
Some of this adjusting of priorities is a normal part of maturing, becoming spouses and parents, in a word growing up. But as moms we tend to carry it too far. We are the last in our houses to get anything and we feel guilty if we do something that only benefits ourselves.
Last month I bought a new winter coat. If you saw the hideous yellow jacket it replaced, which my kids mockingly referred to as the Big Bird coat,you would understand this was hardly a luxury purchase. I went to a local department store's winter clearance sale (held several months before winter actually clears out of Ohio) and found a nice coat on sale. So why do I feel obligated to explain to everyone that compliments it that I needed it desperately, that I practically got it for free, and so on? "You know," says another friend of mine, "you don't have to apologize for having nice things. You work hard, you deserve it."
"I deserve this." " I am entitled to this." Even "I need this." These are hard things for most moms to say. We find fulfillment in sacrificing for our families and going without ourselves. We think of the long list of house repairs, child needs, splurges the whole family would enjoy, and so forth and we place ourselves at the bottom of the priority list. But sometimes we find our families would prefer if we were a little selfish. Before I bought the new coat I didn't realize how much the kids hated the old canary yellow $5.00 at the discount store Big Bird jacket, until they ceremoniously disposed of it, with one holding the trash bag open while the other threw it in. "It was so yellow mom" said my son shaking his head.
I was thinking about all this when I bought my Keurig coffeemaker last month. We had a coffeepot already, so this was a luxury not a necessity. But I had wanted one for awhile. We set it up in the living room for now since there wasn't room in the kitchen, and I like to look over there and see it even when I'm not using it, a visible reminder that sometimes its enough that mom wants something, and there's no need to apologize or explain.
So moms, all together now: I DESERVE THIS!