Accepting the “me” in Mommy

It’s a little disconcerting that I’m still so selfish at times, even though I’m a parent. I hesitate to use the word “selfish”, since it has such a negative connotation, but since I’m feeling negative about this right now, I guess it’s the right word.

Everyone talks about mothers as being so self-sacrificing. My own mother really was. She somehow managed to take care of three (Later four after she remarried.) kids, sending the two younger ones to Catholic school, and never left us wanting for food or clothes or books or really anything we wanted. She never seemed to get anything for herself. If that bothered her, she hid it well.

Sure, she occasionally told us we couldn’t afford something or told us we needed to save up our money or wait for Christmas or a birthday. But that just seemed to teach us patience, making good choices about whether we REALLY wanted something, and that you can’t have everything you want in life.

I’ve read so many blogs and articles about mothers not making time for themselves. And it’s really true. Sometimes I will go through phases where I just get exhausted because I am never taking the time to rest or participate in treasured activities like reading a book.

However, sometimes Max will get a bottle or a nap a bit late because I spent a little extra time looking around a store on an errand or wanted to finish the last little bit of a TV show I was watching or a blog entry I was writing. And I feel so guilty, even though Max doesn’t seem to care most of the time. I expect myself to be perfect and be able to shut off every single bit of self-interest or self-centeredness, despite the fact that I constantly remind myself that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of everyone else.

And I still want things. I can say no (Like I did yesterday to the fancy designer glasses frames, even though I might go back and get them in a few days.), but I buy myself new clothes and still spend quite a bit getting my hair cut and highlighted every few months. We’re not hurting for money, thank goodness. We can afford these things. But we do want to cut back a bit because of all the extra moving expenses. And Max is still too young to really want or ask for things, so I don’t feel as if he’s being deprived. And yet, I feel guilty that it wasn’t easier to say no to those frames. That I almost didn’t.

Why do I feel guilty when my son is getting everything he needs when he needs it? When he’s happy and healthy? When I’m actually balancing my needs and my family’s quite well? Why can’t I give myself a break??

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