I read something the other day that was something to the effect of the best part of motherhood was that it stops you having selfish moments and my first thought was 'fuck that'. Having selfish moments is pretty much the only thing getting me through this gig and we shouldn't feel bad or be made to feel bad for taking them.
We sacrifice a lot when we become parents. For those of us that have birthed a child, we sacrifice our bodies to grow them. For those of us that breastfeed, we continue to sacrifice our bodies to sustain them. And for everyone that has become a parent - through surrogacy, adoption, step-parenting, whatever - we sacrifice day in and day out to raise a child.
We give ourselves physically when we wake through the night to their cries, to feed them and hold them and change wet bed sheets and pajamas. When we carry them as tiny babies. When we throw our backs out picking them up or strapping them into car seats as flailing toddlers. When we run and play with them and go down the slide for the billionth time.
We give ourselves financially now with an extra mouth to feed. An extra body to clothe. And they grow out of clothes or ruin them so quickly. There's school books to buy. Maybe sports uniforms or instruments or toys and art equipment. How many times have you gone into a store to buy something for yourself and spent money on your child instead?
We give our time. Time we once used to visit our friends. To go shopping. To study. To party. To sleep in. To work on our careers. Time we once had for ourselves is now dedicated to someone else.
And we also sacrifice our minds. When we worry if we're doing a good job. When your 2-year-old is crying or destroying the house or not listening to you and your patience is gone. When we clean something up but another mess is being made in a different part of the house at the same time. When we do 800 loads of a washing a week. When we've got to manage our normal adult lives on top of managing the life of another human, or multiple humans.
The whole ordeal is fucking full on and 'selfish moments' are actually just self care, ok.
I'm not saying that I haven't felt mum guilt, because I definitely have. I remember the first time I left my babe with her grandparents to go to the hairdressers and I felt horrible by the time I was 10 minutes up the road. I didn't enjoy getting my hair done because I couldn't stop thinking about my child. But after a few times that guilt was gone and I started to really appreciate having the time to myself.
So, fuck mum guilt. Do the thing that you want to do and don't feel bad for it. Read the book. Take the nap. Take your friends up on their offer to babysit. Go to dinner. Book the holiday. Get your nails done. Sit on the couch and let your kid watch Shrek for the third time today. You fucking deserve that shit.