After Briar was born I rigged both visors and the rear view mirror so that I could see her. Three different angles, if I could have figured out a fourth I would have done it. When Avery came along, and then Fin, there was even more to watch. The other day, I was driving and as I looked in the rear view mirror I saw something different. There were no little girls in the back seat, no husband sitting next to me. I smiled at my reflection, not out of relief to be alone, rather it was just having the freedom to simply examine my crow’s feet.
Everyday I look in that mirror, checking on little faces, watching their long curls get caught in the wind, shades of blonde and brown whipping around dancing blue eyes or making faces of my own, calling to them to look at my face in the mirror.
My face in the mirror. I rarely see it, or maybe it’s truer to say, rarely do I stop to look. Nothing is stopping me, I look through it every day, and yet it isn’t for me. And therein lies my confession.
I don’t do for myself, or I do less. Sean and I have talked about this many times, his worries about what I make myself do without. Despite his intentions being completely fueled by having my best interests at heart, I have always bristled. I cut the conversations short and tersely assert that, “I’m fine” and “I’ll take care of it.” Of course I never did.
I’m not sure why, but the other night I turned to Sean and said:
“You know what? I won’t buy razors. I just won’t buy them for myself, too expensive.”
The look he gave me was a mixture of shock and “I told you so.”
“It’s like I think that as the grocery bill stacks up, adding that much just for me is too much. But you know what? I want razors. I’m going to start buying them.” He was smiling at me as I gained momentum, “I’m also going to get back to writing, really writing. Not for work, not for the blogs. I’m going to write my book.” I said it all in one breath, as if I’d been somehow blocked, unable to speak aloud. I rushed because on some level I feared I’d lose my nerve, talk myself out of it.
“Where is this coming from?” he asked, voice soft and slow, fearful of breaking my revelatory spell.
“I don’t know, but it feels true. I’m going to work at this.”We smiled at each other.
So, here’s a first step, a list of things that I wouldn’t allow my daughters to do:
I won’t buy things for myself that cost more than $5 at the store.
I won’t take the last one – cookie, pop, gum, chair, anything.
I cannot end phone calls or simply let the phone ring, even if I am elbow deep in something.
I never finish getting ready if someone needs something.
I rarely just sit, must fold, research, clean or something.
I don’t nap (see the previous confession).
That’s enough for today. I think I’ll go have the last cup of coffee.
How about you? What don’t you do? Or what are you trying to start doing?
We're channeling a similar vibe today. I just sent off my August article to Life With Kids about emerging from the little kid fog and doing things for myself again, enjoying my increasing independence.
I won't nap, unless I'm completely exhausted, and then I generally can't fall asleep b/c I should be doing something else.
I rarely buy full price clothes. Always straight to the sale rack.
I have a really hard time saying 'no' to anyone who asks for my help.
The good news is that I'm currently experiencing this internal buzz of possibility. What am I going to do this fall? Should I get a full time job? Forge new freelancing contacts? Stop blogging so much and focus on writing the other stuff on my list? I don't know what I'm going to do yet. But it's exciting, isn't it?
Girl I have the opposite of this problem. Mine, mine MINE!!
I have found that no one expects me to come in last but me, why is that so hard for me to get?
Why do I make unnecessary sacrifices that I would never ask of anyone else?
Why do I sign up for 2x more than I would assume someone else would want to do?
Thank goodness I have a husband that loves me and makes sure I realize when I am doing when I am just doing too much and not enough for myself. He is such a good regulator for me.
I don't spend enough time on my own appearance. Not that I am vain, but my showers are just for cleaning. I don't look in the mirror and I go out with wet hair.
I have just a few days left before showering becomes difficult. I vow, thanks to you, to make myself feel pretty now.
I loved this post. So many points where my head was nodding along. I won't just go to bed at night, even when I'm exhausted, for I feel the need to do at least one more thing, which turns into 10 more. I won't just ask for help when it would get the task done sooner. I also find it hard to shut down and just do something for me (hair cut, read a book, sit in silence…) because I'm absorbing so much around me from the others in the house.
I went to Walmart the other night on the way home from work. My wife wanted me to pick her up some freezer bags for our overabundance of Zucchini. But I forgot the freezer bags and bought her roses instead. Something told me she just needed to have them. And a card.
I'll get freezer bags next time . . .
Sean brought me two gorgeous bouquets last night.
Janet! The clothes, I forgot that! I could do an entire post on the cheapness of my shoes!
I did my hair this morning, used 2 qtips and took the time to iron my clothes.
I won't by razors either.
I won't watch HGTV in the morning while cartoons are on.
I won't throw out the pile of kids menus piled in the Kid's room, even though that stack of wrinkled papers is DRIVING ME CRAZY.
I won't buy myself a new bra.
And I really, really need a bra.
This is so true.
I never leave the house with water/snacks for myself. I always pack things for the baby and am left without a beverage.
I, too, won't take the last of anything that she likes or will eat.
And I had to force myself to buy clothes that I really, really needed.
Last week? I bought myself some clothes that cost more than $10. Yeah, they were still on sale, but hey, little steps right?
I very seldom buy myself new razors. I use the same one for MONTHS.
I don't do my hair. Just throw a couple of barrettes in and call it done. Last time I attempted to have a hair style my daughter burned herself on my curling iron.
It was extra difficult recovering from my c-section with D since I had to admit that I couldn't do everything for everyone else.
Monthly massages. I decided after today that living with 3 grown men, I deserve to have girl time.
I'm with OhTheJoys. I'm afraid reading your post made me blush. Sometimes I hold off on buying things for myself but then either A) buy them later or B) realize I don't really need them.
Write your book!
I am like you with the razors. I usually make a four-pack of blades last for 6 months. They're not as much as a pack of diapers, but I hate to have a receipt that is so much higher than the norm. (um, I shave my legs at least twice a week, so maybe that's saying something good about the quality of Gillette?)
I don't read enough. When I have time to read, I usually end up reading a parenting book or blogs. I don't check out "grown-up" books at the library anymore, but I miss the thrill of getting a stack of new books to read on Sunday afternoons.
I don't wear make-up (except for special occasions). It's too much time, too much money.
I don't get enough exercise. Stroller walks around the neighborhood are about it. I feel selfish giving up time with my daughter to go to the gym and we could use the membership fees to buy organic milk ($5 a gallon!).
Hurray to you for starting to do things for yourself. There've been times when I want to have a third child, just so I can force my wife to see that it's not possible to be all things to all kids all the time. Y'know, make it so it's literally impossible to take care of everyone – then maybe she'll start to do the little things for herself.
I have a theory on the difference between genders on this issue, or at least what the male's perspective is – #8 on this list: http://familyclay.com/lemme-tell-you-8-more-things-bout-dudes
I hope it might help moms to think of themselves first once in awhile, but if nothing else, at least they might understand why dads don't seem to suffer through the same issue.
Oh, this is so me. And I only have one kid. This often arises between me and my husband about how I don't take time to do anything for myself. I don't know if it's guilt or what. BUT, I am trying to carve out some time to go to an ashtanga yoga class with a girl from work. I don't want ton feel like I am leaving my family behind but perhaps I do need to do a little something for my own mental health.
Brava, sister. Brava. Claim it.
Oh I SO get this feeling. How's this one for you? I recently had an emergency appendectomy that left us several thousands in debt due to an unusually high deductible. And guess what? I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT! How ridiculous is that!?! And so now I'm thinking of EVEN more places that I can cut corners in my own life to make up for the outlay of cash! We really do put ourselves behind everyone else in the family…in the biggest of ways.
I don't spend more than $10 on an article of clothing for myself (or my kids to be honest) and haven't in years. The only exception is shoes, bags and coats… when I'll spend $20.
I am very much the same.
I never do much just for me. never and I am still not in a place where I can do that.
Sometimes I think I want some me time.
I booked in for a photography course last weekend and then cancelled because I felt selfish.
I was going to say that I am more like OTJ, but honestly, I think I am smack dab in the middle of the 2 of you. I buy myself things, and I do some things for myself (not as much as I should/could), but I never really put ME first.
– I put dishes/laundry/housecleaning before my downtime.
– I never find time to scrapbook anymore, but my boys are always playing outside or doing what THEY want to do.
– I often sigh out the words "Well….I guess I'd better get to the (insert task here)" while Mike often says Why can't you just sit there for a few minutes?
– I can't relax if the house is a disaster.
– I never put my exercise/health first, even though I KNOW I need to.
i don't do enough stuff for my personal and professional development. i get consumed by nurturing relationships more than nurturing myself.
please don't tell anyone else that.
You are so not alone. After Luke was born I stopped buying razors and shaving cream. I felt the same way, too expensive for just me and I was lucky I got a shower let alone enough time to shave my legs. BUT, a few weeks ago I realized this was a bit ridiculous so I bought both, oh my, what a splurge! I'm all silky smooth now. I seriously saw this as me starting to loose my identity, just being the mom, putting myself last and I don't want my kids to have a frumpy mom who does nothing for herself. To think it all started with a razor.
I can't nap either and if anyone saw my bra selection they would be disgusted.
Good for you for taking time for you. You deserve it and so do the girls.
What I struggle with is staying present, not daydreaming, not drowning out.
I envy the people who are so tethered to their immediate surroundings, and don't need any rope to pull them in from somewhere.
It's what I work on, constantly.
Me too, me too. I haven't had my hair done in forever-it's like buying 3 cases of diapers at costco! I actually cut it myself a few weeks ago! My highlights are like 5 inches grown out. But even showers, rushed..eyebrows? Who has time, painted toes? Yeah right. I used to have perfectly manicured hands and feet (I did myself) every day of my life? Now? Notsomuch. I go from caring for kids to husband and back again, never to have 15 minutes of time for myself. I feel guilty if I grocery shop alone. The razors? I am so there too. Shaving cream? Hair products, make up, guilt. Shoes? I live in flip flops I got on sale last year (3 or 4 bucks!) I never leave the store without a special treat for my 2 year old daughter though-if something princessy catches my eyes, I have to get it for her. I love to read, I have to make time for at least that.