I’ve always thought that there was nothing more ridiculous than buying yourself something and then giving it to someone else to wrap up and give back to you as a present on a special occasion. And we all know someone who does this right? Surely the whole point of receiving a gift is the anticipation, the surprise, the wonder of ‘how did they know?’ and the gratitude for their generosity to think of you. Buying something for yourself takes all of the joy out of getting a present doesn’t it? It’s just putting on the show of recieving a gift, and what purpose does that serve? I remember clearly, last year around Mother’s day, expressing my distaste of such mad behaviour. Mother’s day is the absolute worst day of the year to be buying your own presents for. The whole point of Mother’s day is to feel the love and adoration of your family for a years worth of hard Mothering, and how exactly would buying yourself something do that? Nope, I had my cards made by the girls, my new scarf chosen by Mabel, and my favourite chocolates and I was happy. I would never be the kind of Woman who bought their own Mother’s day present.
Until, I was.
It happened kind of by accident. I was just browsing Instagram when I saw a post that caught my eye. Crafted Sisterhood were down to their last few Mama Fuel mugs and I’d had my eye on one for a while. Before I knew it I’d rushed over to their site and with a couple of clicks it was mine. Yay!
Well, until the guilt set in. I couldn’t help it. It was only a mug, it cost less than 10 pounds. But, I have lots of mugs already, the Aero mug I got with an Easter egg 5 years ago is still going strong. And here’s the thing, I don’t go out to work, I don’t add a single penny of income to the family pot, so what business have I got buying something for myself that I really don’t need? And not only that, but why am I buying things for myself when I should be buying things for the children? Mabel really needs some more shopkins, and Ernie only has 6 pairs of dungarees…. what kind of Mother am I? So that’s when I hatched the plan, Carl and the kids could give it to me for Mother’s day. Then I wouldn’t feel bad about buying myself something as frivolous as a pretty mug, because they would have got me something anyway, and most importantly, it saves Carl a job. This way he doesn’t have to go to the trouble of thinking of something that I’d like and then find the time to go out to the shops without me around. He works hard, and then when he’s at home he’s just as hands on as me, the last thing he needs is the pressure of getting me a present on top of that.
So, that’s how it happened, it took me nearly four years and three children but I’m finally there, I’ve turned into ‘one of those Women’. And I was fine about it. I still knew that a present I had bought for myself and then pretended was from the kids and Carl, wasn’t really a proper Mother’s Day present, but I didn’t care. I’m lucky enough that Carl and the kids make me feel appreciated every day. Mabel with the pictures she draws for me, Greta with her snotty kisses and ‘luffs ouuu Mummy’, Ernie with his biggest smiles that he saves just for me, and Carl with the bar of chocolate he brings me after work when I’ve been hounding him all day with ‘THE KIDS ARE TRYING TO BREAK ME’ messages. I don’t really need a present and a special day to feel the love. I suppose maybe this is my first Mother’s day when I’m feeling pretty secure and confident in my role as a Mummy, at least from my little family’s point of view. I already know that they think I’m doing a good job.
Except of course that what I’d done was completely ridiculous, and I knew it was. Firstly, Carl wanted to get me a present (a proper one that he got to choose), so I was most likely going to end up with 2 presents anyway. And then Mabel started telling me about how she was going to pick something for me with Daddy (‘when you’re not looking Mummy, and I’m not going to tell you what it is, it’s got to be a surprise!’). I had forgotten that the giving part was just as important as the recieving part. It’s not all about me, in other words.
And secondly, why do I feel guilty for treating myself? I know I’m not the only Mum that feels like this, whether it’s spending money or time on something just for yourself, there’s always the guilt, always the need to justify it to yourself. It’s not something that anyone puts on me, it’s just something internal and I’m not sure where it comes from except the intense love I have for these little ones and my natural instinct to put them at the heart of everything I do. In fact, I haven’t asked him but I’m pretty sure Carl feels the same way because he hardly ever does anything for himself either. Being a parent, you get so used to putting everyone else first, it starts to feel really strange when you do anything for yourself. So that’s why I’ve decided….
I’m giving myself the bloody mug for Mother’s day.
This Mother’s day, I’m going to say to myself ‘Of course you deserve a little treat, you work hard to raise these children and you are doing a perfectly acceptable job at it’. It’s very rare that I give myself a pat on the back, but I think Mother’s day is the perfect day to do it.
And I think everyone should do the same, if they don’t already. Buy the thing that you don’t need but just looking at it makes you happy. Take some time for yourself to do something entirely self indulgent. Do it because you want to do it, and don’t ask anyone’s permission. And for one day, try not to feel guilty about it.
Have you ever bought your own present? Do you feel guilty buying things for yourself or doing things for yourself? Or do you make a point of a little self gratification every now and then? I’d really love to know everyone’s thoughts on this one.
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