Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Priorities (the Mom Snark Manifesto)

I read a variety of Mommy Blogs and various forums about babies and children. There is at least one forum I participate it because I genuinely love the people there, but there are some that I read largely for the fun of judging people.

One of those, however, recently made me think about something, and think hard. It posed the following question:

I was just curious about how other moms feel, do you put your DH/SO first or your kids. It seems like a hard choice to make but my vote is for my kids. I do believe that if I am happy my son will be happy, but I feel as though I will always be a mom not necessarily someone's spouse.
The poster then continues to offer a poll which allows people to rank what order they prioritize the elements of their life. In the comments below that, the general consensus is either that paying attention to one's spouse is important, but anyone who says that they put anyone other than their children first is clearly so selfish that they don't deserve to have children at all.

All I can think of, though is the old saying "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Ignoring the double negative there, it is true. If I don't take the time to be right with myself, how can I take care of my child or my spouse? If I'm strung out, unwashed and still in my PJs at 6pm who does that serve, even if the Bug is bathed, dressed, and entertained in the scientifically proven best way for her developmental stage? I'm not saying that I plunk her in front of the TV while I have a spa retreat, or hand her off to the homeless while I get a bikini wax, but I do try to take time for myself every day. I look at taking time to renew myself as my responsibility to her: if I am refreshed, I can be fully present to being her mom. If I am fulfilled in my own being, I can have the energy and love to give to her.

Furthermore, if she sees me being a fulfilled individual apart from her, she will have an example of what it is to be a well-rounded adult, which might lead her to aspire to be many things, not only a mommy. I want her to be a great mom someday, but I also want her to have a career that challenges her, friends she enjoys, and a sense of self-confidence. Also, I would like to be more than a husk of my former self as I see her off to college. While being a parent doesn't really end, it will certainly be less time-consuming when she's 30 (I hope).

So I take care of myself. I do this because it is the only way I can have something of myself to give to my daughter, my husband, and my friends.

(Next time, the lighter side: non-mom uses for mommy products)

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