For the first time since having my oldest child (8 1/2 years ago), I’m putting myself first… sometimes.
Since that little girl was born, I have been mommy first and foremost. Everything from the purchasing of clothing to when I take a shower has been dictated (PUN!) by three little people and that’s slowly coming to an end. It all started with an argument with my husband…over me taking a shower.
Ok, explanation. When my first daughter was born she became the youngest baby my husband has ever held. Unlike me, he wasn’t around little ones and nervous didn’t come close to his feelings toward her.
Paralyzing fear is more the speed.
He didn’t like being left alone in a room with her, let alone me leaving the house without her. The first time I went to the store and left them alone (once she was about 4 months old) I received no less than four phone calls asking various questions. I was gone for 30-40 minutes. It was a long 6 months but once she was a little bigger, chubbier, and sitting on her own he started coming around and has in the past 7+ years become incredibly comfortable with our kidos. I actually think he was the first one to take all three of them somewhere alone… yep, he’s come a LONG way.
However, back when he was very much in ‘I’m going to break her’ mode, I started some habits that kinda stuck. Things like asking, yes ASKING, to use the bathroom and/or take a shower became the norm. I ended up getting into the habit of showering once the kids were in bed so he didn’t have to worry about it.
I was telling Hilary this story the other day and she admits doing the same thing. We decided all the years in childcare probably made this worse because when you’re working in a room with a coworker you don’t just walk out of the room before letting them know where you’re going. Anyway… the argument.
So a couple weeks ago, once I knew we were in for the evening, I asked if I could go get a shower. The kids weren’t yet in bed but they were in jammies and having a snack. He gave me this blank stare followed by “I guess.” He had been responding like this for a while and I had been growing increasingly irritated with him each time. I was interpreting his response as annoyed that he had to watch the kids. All I kept thinking was how I had been with them ALL day and just wanted 30 minutes to shower. Rather than question his response I just kept quiet, dealt with what I thought was attitude, and got my shower. On this day I was tired, annoyed with his response, and finally asked what his ‘attitude’ was about. Yeah, I know, real mature. He responded with the same blank stare and “What attitude?”
This was followed by an argument that was very much one sided. Because I was bottling my feelings instead of talking to him about it, I had created this whole thing IN MY HEAD! He finally looked at me and said,
“I just don’t understand why you keep asking to get a shower!”
Yep. There it was.
He wasn’t mad, annoyed, or irritated. Just confused. We had a laugh and I explained how I had been doing it for years (which he knew, obviously) and just never stopped. He assured me that it was no longer necessary to let him know my every move within the house. It’s very freeing to be able to go to the bathroom without asking first. 😉
I’m happy to report that because of that one discussion I have started to think of myself first in a few other areas as well! Yeah, showering without asking permission opens the doors to all kinds of freedom! 🙂
One of the things is purchasing myself a few MUCH needed clothing items. Since becoming ‘mom’ I have hardly bought anything for myself. Every time I would pick something up in a store all I could think is the three children who would be outgrowing their clothes at the end of the season and would actually NEED new clothes for next year. Knowing mine would fit just fine, I would put it back.
The truth is, they ALWAYS have more than they actually need. Between myself, my mom, my mother-in-law, and hand-me-downs my kids are never actually NEEDING anything as far as clothes go. I, on the other hand, recently discovered that ALL of my t-shirts have holes in the armpits. Not sure how that happened, but it’s the truth. I NEED new shirts, they don’t. When we went on our lunch/shopping trip for Sami’s 30th I purchased myself a new pair of jeans, two long sleeved t-shirts, and a pair of heels (I had NONE). Baby steps.
The other big part of my life that was been overlooked was exercise. I would do really well for a while and then something would happen and I would miss a day or two and just like that, I was off the wagon. The problem was, I was trying to fit it in where it wouldn’t effect anyone else. Unfortunately, those parts of the day (mainly at night after the kids were in bed) are SUPER tough for me because I am so tired! Working 10+ hour days followed by cooking dinner, doing homework, getting kids bathed and into bed, etc just leave me too tired. Exercise at that time of day is just about impossible. My short term fix was to fit it in after the daycare kids left for the day but before I made dinner. This worked well when dinner was quick and easy but not so much when it required an hour+ of prep time. It was a step in the right direction though because I realized that I can exercise for 3o mintues and we can eat dinner at 6:30 instead of 6:00 and no one is going to die because of it.
I also have claimed from 6:30-7am as my time. After exercising, showering and getting ready for the day I get my cup of coffee and sit down with my phone and open my She Reads Truth app. I have some quiet time, then turn on Fox & Friends, check email, surf Pinterest, and check out Facebook (It’s a guilty pleasure, what can I say?). Whatever I’m doing, those 30 minutes are mine. Most of the time my kids sleep til 7 or after but, if someone wakes up early, they are welcome to sit next to me on the couch with a book or watch some TV. It’s mommy’s quiet time though, so no playing or asking 9,000 questions. At first I felt bad, but I got over it. Everyone is entitled to 30 minutes, especially at 6:30 in the morning!
There was a time when my kids had to come first 100% of the time. You may disagree but when you’re talking about an infant, who is dependent on you for life, they come first. We’re well past that stage (PRAISE JESUS!) and I’m beginning to learn that Danielle, that lady who has taken a back seat to ‘mom’ for a few years, can start to work her way forward again. I’m going to think about me a little more and I fully believe it’s going to benefit my marriage and my kids as well because, when I take care of me, I’ll be a better wife and mommy too!
Have you been selfish lately? How have you taken care of YOU? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!