It was yesterday and I had my head stuck in the freezer section of our fridge. Freddie was at football camp, and Sasha had just been picked up by her Grandparents to go out for tea, leaving me at home alone with a sleeping Arlo. Enjoying the peace and quiet for a short while, I went to grab a Strawberry split ice lolly, a rare treat (and my god, don’t they just remind you of your childhood?!). On opening the box though, I saw that there was only one strawberry split left, leaving the clearly less-popular pineapple and blackcurrant splits languishing in the box.
Immediately, my instinctive reaction was to put the strawberry one back, thinking that because they’re the children’s favourite they should have it (although knowing full well that if the chips are down, they will still eat any of the others).
And that’s what Mums do isn’t it? You know your kids (or husband maybe) like something, so you automatically put them first, and go without yourself.
I’ve done this before, usually sub-consciously because mother nature is a clever thing, and well, because I’m clearly a nice person. Often I haven’t had what I would like to eat ‘treat’-wise in the house when we’re running low or left with the boring stuff, or I’ve felt guilty if I’ve booked a full ‘grown up’ day out (even though Adam would fully support me), because surely when you’re a parent, that’s just what happens? You inherently become less selfish and put your children first the majority of the time. And in many ways of course you should.
But, on this occasion, I ate the bloody strawberry split.
My children hadn’t done anything to piss me off that day, or been badly behaved. In fact, they had been angels.
But I decided on this occasion that I wanted to put ME first, even in this small way, and that no child (or husband) would spontaneously combust through loss of their preferred ice cream.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the sort to stay at home and be a shy, retiring sort chained to the children 24/7. But it’s so easy to slip into not valuing yourself as YOU as the years of being a parent go on, putting everyone first but yourself, and you’ve potentially been worn down (and out) from raising a family.
My crew are AWESOME and I am a very lucky wife and Mum. And to be honest, most of the time I’m more than happy to put my favourite people numero uno.
But choosing that split and feeling a teeny bit smug that I was thoroughly enjoying it in that moment of peace and quiet, made me realise that my preferences and desires are important too, even the seemingly small ones.
I will be nicking that last ice cream more often!