I bought strawberries a couple of days ago. I realized there were a couple left, and I thought, “I should remind the girls to eat those when they get home.”
Then this rebellious thought popped up in my head: “Or, you know, YOU could eat them, because you LOVE strawberries!!!”
I do love fresh strawberries. But so do the kids, and they’re a bit pricey, so at some point, I just trained myself out of eating them. WHY!?!?!
I can actually explain that: 2011 was our annus horribilis. It was bad. We got to March 2012 and The King and I high-fived each other and said, “Hey, we didn’t lose the house!” While we were so broke, I had to be extremely budget-conscious with our grocery bill; consequently, we all went without certain treats. But when there were treats in the house, I sure as shit didn’t eat them. I saved them for everyone else. (If you’re thinking I probably lost weight that year, you’d be wrong. Thank you, fucked-up thryoid. But that’s a whole other post…)
So here we are, more than three years later, and I am still not in the habit of eating anything expensive. For all our joking about wine consumption, I actually only buy about one bottle a month. Because I don’t want to “waste” money on myself. I splurged and got myself pickles this week. No one else in the house eats them, so I don’t buy them. Ever.
So this is why I am asking myself, “Why am I the LEAST important person in my family?!?!”
Kids need new shoes? Run right out and get them. My only pair of tennies has holes? Oh, it’s OK. I’ll just shoe goo ‘em. I can wait. Daddy wants to trick out his motorcycle? SURE!
If I want a household project done, it’s not a priority. If The King wants something done, it’s done within days. If the girls ask Daddy to help them build, say, a Monster High doll house, he’s all over it.
If I ask my girls to do something, I frequently get, “Can I finish my show/eat my snack/finish staring at the ceiling first?” To which I have an almost-Pavlovian response: I immediately become a raving lunatic and tell them to get off their ass and help. It’s all very healthy and empowering, I’m sure. (Seriously, you would think they would KNOW better by now. Twits.)
For the longest time, I just thought I had trained everyone in my family to treat me like crap on these points. But a few years ago, I realized this is COMMON with moms. In fact, this is probably the NORM with moms.
One of my friends has been wanting to take guitar lessons for YEARS. For Christmas, her mom got her a guitar. She went to exactly TWO lessons, because she said all she could think, through each lesson, was: “Oh my god, we cannot afford these lessons…” She said it stressed her out so badly, the guitar is now packed away, where she can’t see it, because just looking at it was stressing her out, because her mom “wasted money” on her Christmas gift. Oy.
I have another friend, a single mom with one kid, who actually has a very healthy balance between meeting her child’s needs and her own. (Which is not to say she has never gone without for herself to pay for something for her kid. She’s done that countless times that I know of, and probably countless more I don’t know of.) One of her “friends” took her to lunch one day to tell her that she’s a selfish mom, and she needs to spend more time with her daughter.
So not only are we doing it ourselves, other women are reinforcing to us that we SUCK if we allow ourselves a little freedom?
I probably shouldn’t even get started with husbands — talk about a can of worms — but here goes: I don’t know about your husband, but no matter how broke we appear to be, mine manages to find money for things that are “important” (read: things that he unilaterally determines to be vital). He signed up for a weekend camp out/outdoor training, so of course he needed some new gear. NEEDED the gear, ladies. A couple of weeks later, I said, “Look, I need some money to go see a nutritional counselor. My thyroid is jacked up, and I feel like shit ALL the time. I need some help.”
His response made me want to punch him in the junk. He exhaled, annoyed, and said those famous words I hear regularly: “Can’t it wait until next month?”
No, you selfish mother-fucker, it cannot. And if, Dear Husband, you realized to what depths a mom must crash before saying, “OK, I need a couple hundred bucks for me,” you would never, EVER ask me to “wait until next month.”
I don’t think I need to tell you that “next month” never, EVER, comes.
I finally lost my shit. This is my HEALTH we’re talking about, for fuck’s sake. But by all means, let’s just keep going until I collapse. Suddenly the money “appeared” out of the budget.
Next month, I’m buying that “expensive” skin care I’ve been wanting for A YEAR. My kids can eat apples instead of strawberries. For once — just once — Mama is getting what SHE wants, goddamnit.