to me, from me

Flowers... a very rare treat
This year on my birthday I lined up an interview, bought myself flowers and made myself (and a lucky friend) a pitcher of homemade sangria. Tonight I will take 5 friends to see U2. That doesn't count the presents I received that weren't from me! Happy Birthday to me, indeed!

If my 40th year focused on stepping outside my comfort zone, is this the year I put myself ahead of others?

The past two weeks my cherubs have been at a sleep away camp. I haven't been able to speak to them or see them (except in pictures posted online). It has been a test of my endurance and love to see if I really mean it when I say "I'm happy for them!" I am sure you can hear me sigh when I think "if they are happy, then I'm happy".

There is a big disconnect between moms and non-moms. I think that women who don't have children see us Moms as misguided, self-sacrificing martyrs who expect their undeserved pity. Why should they feel bad for our lack of freedom when we chose to get knocked up and willingly bound to our ungrateful snots??? But the flip-side is we envy their perceived "selfishness and self-indulgence". We think they can do whatever they want. We women have so many double-standards and are so horrible at supporting one another, so it's no wonder we don't support ourselves.

$$$ treat with my husband, sans kids
If I dabble in a world where my kids don't come first, am I a horrible person, a terrible mom, and ungrateful for my children? Will my friends judge me? Or am I realist? In a few years they won't live with us anymore. Part of the terror in that is that I'll be lonely and may feel I've lost the meaning in my life. So isn't it OK that I test the waters a little now: take a 6-day vacation by myself, or a weekend with my husband, without them? What if I look into new career options that aren't necessarily family-friendly? Or spend money on myself instead of on them? Just in the month of July we bought me a new car (a 7-seater designed to cart them and their friends), and I spent a week traveling in the most expensive country in the world alone. Even focusing on my weight or knitting could be seen as a self-indulgence.  Tonight I am going to a concert for a band that I've been waiting to hear since Reagan was president. The cheap tickets were $115, add to that parking, tolls, beer... (I prefer imports) and it won't be an cheap affair. And yesterday when I was returning from a day showing guests around NYC, I really imagined myself commuting to the Big Apple.

Let's be honest, once the kids return home, so will my pendulum. My schedule will focus on their activities, their schools, their friends and I'm happy about that. Even my obsession with the district really is about them, not about me. So this decadence may be short lived. I won't even treat myself for a pedicure, although I've been dreaming about it all week.

So are the moms in my readership going to judge my indulgence? Or will the non-moms who follow this blog (are there more than one or two???) looking at me with scorn for my misrepresenting them (it was tongue and cheek, but who gets that)?

Who cares?!!!! If my 41st year is about putting myself ahead of others, then what I think should trump what you do... And changing my perception of myself is probably the biggest step.

Either way, TONIGHT - we celebrate. I made it forty years, plus one. Mom or not. We all deserve to enjoy happy occasions with our friends!

Comments

You touch on SO many of the sticky knots that lean in on our awareness, begging for a choice, a decision, an opinion. I tease one out, smoothing it out only to notice there is another one...and another. So perhaps the real decision is whether we can listen to our hearts and trust the unfolding of life, knots and all...

thank you, NJ mom.

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