You would think as a mother of seven I would have a tough time writing a confession about a guilty pleasure. After all, isn’t motherhood all about sacrifice? Aren’t we supposed to dress in our raggy pajamas and yoga pants with undereye circles and split ends while our children are dressed to the nines and have all the latest toys and gadgets and blessings? Aren’t we supposed to stop having social lives? Go nowhere without our precious spawns in tow? Forgo date nights and replace the with trips to Chuckie cheese? Have no uninterrupted conversations with adults?
I know parents like that. Parents who think there are medals given out at some point for the Mother who loses every teensy shred of herself in her children.
I give an awful lot of myself for my children. I do. Anyone who knows me knows my number one priority in life is to raise and love my sons and daughter.
But…here’s a little secret.
I make MYSELF a priority as well.
I do it for my own well being and mental health. I do it because I am not just Mom, I am Tonia as well. And it is so easy to get caught up in the every day cycle of diapers and dishes and dinner. So easy to forget who ELSE I am. A poet. A dancer. A girl who loves animals and stand up comedy and the ocean. A big sister. A granddaughter. A friend. I will not sacrifice my layers. Because if I do than I am left as just a shell of a person. And what sort of example is that to set for my sons? What will they expect of their future wives if they use ME as an example? What about my daughter? What will she come to understand about being a woman and keeping balance if she copies my choices and attitude? I have guilty pleasures because I am a good mom.
I take time every day for me. In small ways. Painting my toenails a sparkly blue. Dying my hair. Using a honey face mask. Soaking in a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine and a couple squares of organic dark chocolate. (That one is one of my personal favorites.) A cup of coffee with flavored creamer. I am an obsessive coffee snob. I always have at least 2 different types of coffee in my home and at least 3 different flavored creamers. (More than often I have more. It saves money on trips to a coffee shop.) I have a french press and a regular drip coffee maker. Whenever I pass my dream coffee machine at the store I stop to caress it and whisper sweet nothings to it and dry hump it a bit just to remind it that it’s my bitch. Or will be……someday. I savor my cup of coffee in bed in the morning with whipped cream on top. Savor every last drop. Sex is another guilty pleasure. Intimacy with my boyfriend is crucial. Often. Chocolate stash makes me happy. Stargazing with the dogs on the back porch with a cold beer.
How do I do this? How do I manage to spend 15 minutes uninterrupted in my bedroom enjoying coffee? How do I find time for sex? How do I manage to take relaxing baths when other moms can’t even PEE alone?
It’s simple. I take the word GUILTY out of my guilty pleasures. Becoming a mom did not erase who I am. And because of my history of depression and my aversion to prescription meds, I am well aware that my health is all in MY hands. I am a much better mother to my children when I am not stressed and yelling and wore out. When I take a few short minutes per day to refocus, re center , re align……it helps me figure out behavioral issues and solve problems and coach my children through their journeys.The HOW is quite simple really, from the beginning I teach my children that Mom is MORE than just mom. She is a person with needs. They understand and respect this fact because I understand and respect the fact it is true for THEM as well. If one of them comes to me and say they need alone time or space or someone to vent to, I help them accomplish that. I encourage them to not only give sacrificially and put others first and love people…..but also to seek out who THEY are and what they need to help build that person up. My sons play quietly in their bedroom until my coffee cup is empty. They keep the younger ones occupied while I bathe. They go to bed without a fight when I tell them Mommy and Daddy need some alone time. They understand that a guilty pleasure or two is nothing to be guilty about. It’s okay to treat yourself. Even spoil yourself a bit. We all deserve it. We all are so much happier if we do so. It helps to focus on ourselves a bit and be reminded of who we are. Helps us be calmer, more patient, more relaxed, happier, more content.
So, what have YOU done for yourself today????
What will you do tomorrow?