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mom-put-self-first-.jpg-I think it is so sweet my friends think I am a good mother.  And my dear husband always tells me too (let’s be real..what else is he gonna do..if he wants to live a long happy life?).

If being a good mother means I kiss my kids, tell them I love them (and mean it), feed them, clothe them, want the best for them…then I am a terrrrrrrific mother.  Society may disagree though.

I have recognized that I am a selfish person; a selfish parent.  And, I am ok with it.  Mostly.

I have been told ‘that’s just an excuse, you can do better (be better) if you want”.  Ok, then I don’t want I guess, cause I really do like my goals, my life, my time.

My husband and I have been in many (many) situations, where another couple will tell us they haven’t been on a trip, by themselves, since they had their kids.  What the what?  My husband and I always glance at each other, and usually don’t say anything back.  Or we do.  And if we do, it comes out something like, “Are you crazy?  We go on trips alone at least once every other MONTH.  ALONE.”.  This usually happens if we have had a glass (or three) of wine.  Yes, by the way, we do drink.  And enjoy it.

My philosophy here is that my kids will move out someday (dear Lord please) and I don’t want to then be living with a stranger in which we only know each other as parents of our kids.  My marriage is my first priority (AFTER myself), and I hope I am teaching my kids to look for a spouse that puts them first.

My husband and I also subscribe to the philosophy that our kids get to participate in one activity at a time.  One (or none is fine with me).  I could say the reason for this is because I don’t want to teach my kids to be stressed out, over scheduled adults- this, unfortunately is what we are teaching our kids when they have an after school activity almost every night of the week, every weekend and sometimes two in a day..or more.  I used to own children’s art studios and would see time and time again parents coming in so frazzled and unhappy from carting kids from one activity to the next…to the next…to the next.  My auto response is, “Don’t then”.  Which was followed by the deer in the headlight return look.  Here is the thing- I don’t allow our kids to do more than one activity, not because of the damage it could do (this is not a blanket belief in all scenarios), but truthfully- cause I am not willing to spend each evening and every weekend carting kids to and fro.  No, I am not.  I am, however, looking forward to going to my daughters basketball game tomorrow night, and then her next game, the week after.

I just want my kids to kinda, you know, fit in my life.  MY life.  It is mine you know.

How’s that for blunt honesty?

I truly enjoy nothing more than taking my kids to the zoo.  It is one of my favorite things.  Or a themed park.  Or on a bike ride.  Or to the movies.  I love, love doing activities with my kids (let me also say, I do NOT love playing leggos or barbies for hours on end…so not my style).

I also love working.  I love creating.  I love going to the spa.  I love reading.  I love PRIVATE baths (without kids banging on the door).  I love painting (by myself).  I love cooking.  I love drinking wine (and vodka..and tequila..).  I love locking myself up in a room, with no one else, and just being.

So, I tell myself that by taking care of myself I am teaching my kids to take care of themselves.  Why do people feel that kids are the holiest of holy and should come before everyone else’s happiness?  Cause we choose to give birth to them and bring them into the world?  Fair enough.  So, we put our lives on hold, our wants, our desires, to fully engage, raise, nurture, love the future generations with no regard for our own wants, desires and goals?  What does that teach?  Is there an endpoint, or is everyone’s role in life to raise, nurture, and focus on future generations?  Like, forever? We get the time frame of high school graduation (for some) till the birth of a child, and then again when all kids move out till our death where we can be the adult version of us?

Can the two not be done at the same time?  Where is the line?  What are our obligations as parents?

I see so many approaches to parenting.  The full, hands on, helicopter affect, the hands off self motivating affect, the ignore and hope they make it affect (and everything in between).

I also see that kids grow up and be who they are gonna be, almost regardless.  Almost.  Some parents that are the most dedicated have ended up with the lazy, dishonest children, and some parents that were so disconnected they didn’t know their own child’s birthday have ended up with self-starting, honest and successful children.  The spectrum is vast and wide.

I do carry that crap mommy guilt sometimes, but mainly cause I allow society’s expectations to affect me.  However, I am usually tuned in enough with my kids to know when I need to put away a little bit of my selfishness (which usually includes adding a bottle glass of wine to my day).  I know this ‘time’ with our kids will go fast (sometimes it doesn’t seem fast enough..you know..sleep deprivation in the first year sucks ass, potty training sucks ass, teenage attitudes suck ass..) as I have a nineteen year old that has moved out.  But, do I wish he was still living with us and miss his childhood?  No, not really.  I love his visits, and love that he is starting his life, his journey.

Here is what I do know- I would take a bullet for my child.  For any one of the four.  I would go to prison for murder if anyone hurt one of my children.  And that really would suck cause there are no spas or baths in prison.  I am grateful, for each crazy, loud, messy, stressful, beautiful moment.

I don’t have the answers here. I am not in any way saying my way is the right way, or that anyone else’s is either.  I have most of MY answers, for me at least.  This is MY life.  I just happen to be a mom too.