Today I felt good about myself. Not as a reflection of being Jackson and Abby’s mom, or Everett’s wife, but as me. I didn’t realize how rare this feeling is.
Let me see if I can explain.
I used to love going shoe shopping. No matter what, shoes always fit. I used to buy shoes that WEREN’T ON SALE.
I know. It was amazing.
I remember the day I bought two pairs of shoes at DSW…just because. One pair was on sale. So obviously, justified. But the other pair was the most beautiful rust-red BCBGs. Oh, I loved them. They were my pop-of-color shoes and just the perfect height between high heels and sky-high heels. Whenever I wore them, I felt confident and ready to conquer the world.
After I graduated from college, and before Everett and I got married, I would go shopping and buy things for myself. What a novel thing! If I needed a new dress to wear to something, I bought it. If I had some extra time on my lunch break, I’d go to TJ Maxx or Marshall’s and just browse.
Ah, the good old days.
Now that I’m a mom, that never happens. If I need something new, I have to get it while the kids are occupied with playing games on my phone while eating popcorn at Target. “Mommy’s section” purchases happen so rarely because:
- All Jackson’s pants usually have holes in the knees, even though they’re less than a month old.
- His feet have grown more than two full sizes in a year…which means…he gets shoes, not me.
- Abby needs big girl underwear with Hello Kitty on them. Then Sofia. Then princesses.
- Have you seen all the cute girl clothes at Target? That section is like my Heroin.
- The little man inside the dryer ran off with all the socks again. Don’t get Ev started.
- We have three birthday parties this weekend at $25 apiece.
- The dog needs drops for his ear infection.
- The car needs a new tire.
- I accidentally ran over Abby’s glasses and the lenses aren’t under warranty anymore.
- Jackson’s hearing aides are broken.
And one day, I’m sitting at work and looking at my clothes and realizing…OMG…this is missing a button, my cardigan is faded two shades, my shoes are from 2009 and these pants are giving me serious muffin-top. Joan Rivers would roll over in her grave if she saw me.
Even worse, the old me, the confident one with her red shoes on, is rolling over in her grave. Why is so hard not to lose yourself in taking care of everyone else?
Sometimes you’ve got to mother yourself. My unspoken New Year’s resolution was to start taking care of myself again. It started with showering instead of putting on baseball hats. The last few months, I’ve actually kept my haircut appointments. I’ve shaved my legs even when I’m wearing pants! I started wearing lip gloss or lip stick. I’ve painted my nails and taken off the funky half polish before someone calls me out on it. I’m not great putting my needs first, because my priority is always my family, but I’ve been trying.
I even went OMBRE with my hair color last month. Which I’m still not sure if I regret or not. But I did something new!
Last night, in between work, taking Abby to the pediatrician and my monthly NICU meeting, I went to TJ Maxx on a whim. ALL BY MYSELF. I had an hour to kill and so I went to the ladies section. I tried on half the shoes they had available in my size. I talked to my sister on the phone while perusing the purses. I put things into my cart, I put them back up. I looked at breakable items in the home section. There was no husband walking a foot behind me sighing loudly on his iPhone. No kids crying or fighting or ripping pages out of books that I now had to buy or hiding in the racks.
It was the most refreshing thing I’ve done for myself in months.
I realize today that time alone to be me, to do the things I enjoy to do, is like red BCBG pumps to my soul. I’m more refreshed and ready to conquer pottytraining, doctor’s appointments, homework and worry. I need to take care of myself. I count. I’ve been so busy surviving, growing little people and making others happy to realize that my happiness matters too. I can be a better mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter and coworker if I actually treat myself as a priority. I felt so good about myself this morning, putting on my new clothes (AND SHOES!). Braiding my semi-regrettable ombre bangs and putting on some lipstick. Sure, I could probably stop eating ice cream and fit into more of my pants. But…babysteps, right?
Where’s Mommy? There she is.