Yup, I can see you nodding and scrutinizing. Yes, I don't deny I am a selfish mom, but the question is... Is that a necessarily a bad thing?
As a mom, the constant refrain I hear from other moms is "I don't even have the time for..." – you can fill in the blank, answers range from "a shower", "a book" or even "shopping for a new dress". And later, I see that mother sighing and saying "That's part of being a mother, isn't it"
I'm here to inform you, that DEFINITELY is not part of being a mother... Where is it written that moms cannot have a piece of time for themselves? Is it inscribed in stone that we must give and give and give everything we got and not have any rest in between?
My mother too is a single parent and I grew up with her. I remember, going into her closet as a child and playing with her 'fancy' clothes, gorgeous sarees with beautiful embroidery. Her delicate jewellery that shimmered as I turned them to the light. These were her clothes that she wore when she was not carting me around, whether it was to school and back or when she wore to work. These were items that represented a "different" mom.
My mother always and still shows me the importance of escaping the insanities of life and treating yourself once in a while. Going for a haircut, meeting up with friends (without the kids) for dinner occasionally and talking about things that do not involve the children. Heading out to the gym and allowing yourself a workout without looking at your watch, wondering if you're late for something.
I know it may sound easier than done, but trust me, it is possible. Even if you're dealing with a newborn infant, a clingy toddler or a demanding teenager, it may seem impossible to remove yourself for a few minutes to get a manicure. But it doesn't mean you cannot 'treat' yourself in little ways. Sometimes, the kids can have the broken cookie (despite what the tantrum tells you). You can say no to watching Frozen after seeing it with your princess 6 times. Or you could compromise, while she's watching it, you can browse Facebook and catch up with the news.
Obviously, I am not saying you should switch off from your children altogether but allow yourself the time for yourself. The thing is, if you don't look out for your physical, emotional, psychological welfare, you won't be able to take care of others. The fact is, if you give more and more of yourself away, without filling yourself back up with something meaningful and something that sustains you, you will have less of yourself to give to someone or something that really requires your attention. Let's be honest here, after a great haircut, you will be more likely to deal with a toddler tantrum than if you were a mess. Ergo, haircuts lead to less yelling.
I've had days, where I have gone non-stop from dawn to dusk without being able to sit and keep my legs up. Between dropping my son at school, to driving through the hectic traffic, to getting to work on time, rushing back to pick up my son and taking him for classes and eventually sitting and getting homework done, it can get quite insane. But that insanity is not going anywhere. I am not saying life is not saying life isn't busy. The insanity will still be there after a 10-minute shower. So go ahead, have that shower, relax and enjoy the smell of your new shampoo. Don't worry; your kids will remind you to come out by happily banging on your door.
Let me repeat for you – THE WORLD WILL NOT END IF YOU PUT YOUR NEEDS FIRST ONCE IN A WHILE. They will not starve to death if you decide to colour your roots, or read a book or take a phone call to a long distance friend you haven't spoken to in a while.
Who knows, you might even end up with more independent kids who are more willing to do things on their own, especially if they are desperate enough. The expression "necessity is the mother of invention" is never truer than when someone under three feet wants a snack.
So take a stand today. Have that big bowl of ice cream you've wanted to have. Go for that run today and go the extra mile you wanted to go. Meet up with that friend you've been postponing coffee with and enjoy every minute of time you have with her and have a good laugh.
Do it not because I am telling you to do so but because you truly want to as well.
And if your kids ask you why he got the broken cracker, just wink at him and say, "I'm the mummy, that's why".