Anyone who has kids will understand this, hell singletons and child-free people will get it too. It’s something I refer to as Mommy-Guilt. Ever since I had A, I have always felt guilty spending money on myself. If I could finally convince myself that I need to buy some clothes (in a regular store – I’m also a thrifter), I’d never make it to the register with the *one* pair of jeans. If I did, I’d curse myself all the way out the damned door. If I made it to the car, 9/10 times I’d return it before I even got out of the parking lot.
I’ve always been a bit frugal (read: CHEAP), but after A was born it got out of hand. We’d go to the store with the intention of getting everyone a few new outfits, and I could never bring myself to get myself something. It was always “Well, the baby needs something new” or “I really don’t need more than the jeans I have, A needs new shoes (again)” or “You know, I have to pay a couple bills, I don’t need this *right* now anyway.” It didn’t matter if I was down to two pairs of undies and my socks were ruined, I put myself off because something always came before me.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized a little bit behind my thinking, and in the process got angry at myself. I got angry at my ex-husband for enabling it. What I had been doing was putting myself at the bottom of the list. I had the mindset that I was the least important, I didn’t deserve to buy things for myself. Who was I to spend money on myself when that money could go to (insert random bill here) or something new for A, hell, new toys for the cats came before I did. I was perfectly capable of buying another new jacket for my ex-husband or another set of baby shoes for A. Which is not bad in and of itself, but when it came to things I needed, I neglected myself. I felt like everyone else deserved more than I did. I felt like a “bad-mom” or a “bad-wife” if I spent money on myself. It seemed that surely that money could go somewhere else.
You know what? It could go somewhere else. I could skip getting myself clothes and save the money for the next bill. I could skip that new CD download because A will need something soon. I could put myself last because there will always be something else that needs me to throw money at it. No matter what you do, there will *always* be something else you could be saving your money for. Your kids need to be your top priority, but why aren’t you on top too?
You need to take care of yourself too. You need to treat yourself every once in a while for your own sanity. As a woman and a mother I know I’ll always put my child and family before myself, but after almost 27 years it finally hit me. I deserve it.
So today we had to run to the store to get the animals some food and pick up milk and bread. I took a shower and was drying my hair off and I thought about buying a new round brush so I could do my hair right. Last week I had gotten my first haircut in over a year but had nothing to style it with. I shrugged, I figured I’d just keep using headbands. No big deal, it’ll grow out long enough for a clip soon enough. I turned around, stepped on my last clip and it broke. I picked it up and threw it away. I’d buy another one some day.
I went to get dressed. (I’m very thrifty – so I do have skirts, leggings and a couple pairs of jeans – I love Goodwill!) I noticed that a lot of my socks and undies were worn. I tossed out the ones that weren’t worth wearing anymore, or had too many toe holes. There wasn’t much left. I tried to think of the last time I bought some undies or socks for myself while I tried to find my bra. I have one bra that still functions. I found it in the laundry basket, one of the straps was almost frayed through. I laughed, I knew the last time I had bought a bra, it was the weekend after my divorce was final… ’09.
I finished throwing on some clothes, got Noodle dressed and put on my boots. I was super lucky at christmas, my parents bought me two pairs of boots for Winter. I love them and have worn them daily. I did however just buy Noodle her spring shoes, and she wanted to wear the gym shoes today. I dug through the closet and realized there were a lot of busted and old shoes that needed tossing (we all wear our shoes until they are in pieces or Noodle outgrows them). I started tossing the old ones in a bag, the use-able ones in a tote for the thrift. Once I found her shoes and the closet was organized, I realized that I had one pair of gym shoes and flip flops from dollar general. I thought about shoes for spring, then instantly thought “well, A will need clothes for spring soon, I’ll worry about it then.”
Something snapped. It hit me, all of the things I neglect for myself. All of the things I promised I’d buy myself when I got my promotion, all of the things I promised I’d get with my tax return when the promotion came and went and I still put myself off. Damnit, I had bought something for everyone but me, I wanted functional things too.
I dragged Ry and Nood out of the house and to the store. We picked up the things we needed for the animals and the house, and then we went over to Target. I told Ry that I was going shopping and told my mind that I *would* pay.
By the time I was at the register I had a pair of flats and a cute pair of wedges, 4 bras, headbands and a brush, bodywash (not the dollar general variety lol), post-its and pens (work), and some containers to organize pet crap with that I had been eyeing. I had to think about anything and everything to keep my mind off of the money I was spending. The nice register girl rang me up and I swiped my card. The receipt printed out and I snapped at Ry and Noodle to get out to the car.
The whole way home I kept trying to justify that I needed these things. I kept thanking Ry for “letting” me buy things (haha, I control the finances), and reassuring (no one but me) that I had money for all the bills and such. I forced myself to take a deep breath and relax.
I do deserve nice new bras and shoes once in a while. I do deserve to buy basic hygiene crap even if it isn’t the generic version. I do need to put myself first once in a while. I need to remind myself to treat myself and take care of myself too. I need to get a haircut more than once every year, I need to buy undies and such when I need them. I need to buy us girls new nail polish, I need to wear shoes with out holes in them. If the bills are paid, my child has what she needs, there is plenty of food, then yes, I need to take care of myself too.
I just wish it didn’t take so long for me to realize this.
I wish that it wasn’t an acceptable way of thinking.
Happy Sunday everyone, make sure that you treat yourself once in a while. You deserve it.