What I expected parenthood would be:
Before deciding to start a family, I thought we would have to get all of our “selfishness” out of our systems. We travelled as much as possible, stayed up late, slept in, and went to a restaurant whenever we felt like it. We knew our lives would be incredibly different once we were responsible for another little being. For better or worse, we were preparing to give up our freedom in many ways.
My reality, I can still be selfish and do things for myself, and incorporate our young family into the things we love (like travelling nearly 12 hours on a plane for family vacation)!
Even with three little kids, I have found I am still selfish and I think it’s OK.
Why I’m a selfish mom
There are times I need to put myself first in order to be happy and feel fulfilled. This makes me a better person and mom, but I still get occasional pangs of guilt knowing the time I spend on myself is time I am not with my children. Sue me, but playing with baby dolls does not count as self-care for me.
Before having kids myself, I imagined once you are a mother you only feel 100% happy in the presence of your children, but reality is even though I am a mother, I still have an identity outside of “Mama.”
I love learning new things, so when the opportunity to learn Spanish at no cost (but time) was presented, I signed up. I love being active, so if I can find a free yoga class, I sign up. I thrive around my best friends, so I need to spend time with my girlfriends and feel connected to my female sisterhood. This means carving out serious time to see them over a weekend and leave two or three kids at home with my husband. This also provides me the opportunity to get quality one-on-one time with one of my girls too, which I cherish.
How I make my selfish “me-time” happen with three little kids
In order to be selfish, I need to have a husband who understands and supports my endeavors. This has meant adjusting our work schedules a bit, occasionally taking time off from work to be with the kids so I can take a trip, or just being willing to pick up slack by putting the kids to bed solo so I can scoot off to a yoga class (finding a class which starts after the kids are in bed would be ideal, but I haven’t found an 8:30pm yoga class yet). This may sound like I’m not running off every night, but doing something for myself a few times a month helps me feel balanced and happy.
In return, my husband values the time he gets to play in a golf league, play volleyball, and sign up for different programs and conferences through his work to enrich his life too. We both support one another devoting time to focus on ourselves. We also devote time to our marriage, keeping the spark alive takes work, but that’s a different post.
One morning, my hubby was getting ready to leave the house to play golf for the day and I said, “Do you feel kind of guilty leaving?” I posed this question not to make him feel bad, but offer/receive support because I still feel guilty leaving the house on my own. It’s a strange feeling not to buckle someone into their 5-point harness before I turn the car on and pull away from the house. I wanted to check in with him and see if he feels the same way – oddly guilty. He said he does feel badly about leaving, but knows it’s important for us to do things on our own. He’s OK with being a little selfish too and I think it’s a very good thing!