Wierd title hey? You might be wondering why I’m proud to be selfish, given it’s generally considered to be a negative trait. To give you a bit of backstory, my work has offered a deal that in exchange for a single weekend on call, we get a Friday off. It’s pretty much #mumgoals to have an extra day gifted to you out of nowhere. And make no mistake, it is a gift. It’s given this busy mum the deliciousness of additional time. And while I’d love to spend another day per month with my son, I’ve elected not to cancel the grandparent daycare and use this magical extra day on myself. When I talked about this with some individuals in an online parenting community, I was labelled selfish for not immediately dropping everything to hang out with my little dude.
And do you know what I say?
Burnt Chop Syndrome
Being selfish is not a natural thing for parents. The image of a mother we are constantly fed is that of an infallible person everyone can rely on, always waiting for your every need with a smile and a hug. Who always takes the burnt chop for herself. That to become a parent is to subjugate our own needs and self to a tiny human completely and what’s more, you should do it with a big old smile. Anyone complaining about how hard it is, is immediately told to count their blessings or enjoy every minute because they grow up in the blink of an eye. While I agree that sometimes the days can be long and the years short, it doesn’t really help you when you are sitting in the trenches with a three day old mum bun covered in baby vomit wondering when you became just ‘Mum’.
Being a mother was something I wanted more than anything in the world, and is a blessing I never thought I would receive. But I don’t think I’m alone in saying it’s a tough transition. To go from your time being completely your own to having a little person require you to give your everything to keeping them alive is one of the hardest and yet most rewarding things I will ever endure. I lost myself fairly completely in the hole of new motherhood, in the gratitude and fear and love of a newborn and it’s taken me three years to pull my way back out. I finally stood up and said ‘this is what I need.’ So yeah, I’m a little selfish right now. Because all parents deserve to be a little selfish without the guilts. Dammit we have earned it.
Being Selfish Makes Me Better
I have stopped feeling guilty about it because taking this time for myself has made me a better mum. I’m more patient, fun and present when I know I’ve got that mythical spare day up my sleeve to just be Tory. I get a day to do chores and cook but also to get my nails did and go for a massage. To watch Jane the Virgin and slowly clean the house without a tiny tornado walking around behind me pulling all the toys back out again. I listen to 80s music, eat strawberries (without sharing) and use the bathroom with no commentary. I feel myself unfurl, relax and become more myself than I have in years.
So here I am before you. A so called selfish mum taking care of myself first. For one day a month at least. And damn proud of it.