I Was Selfish, and My Kids Survived

watchingtvI wanted to do it before I went to my office in the morning. I wanted to do it during lunchtime. I wanted to do it before I fell asleep. I am, of course, referring to watching Transparent, the Amazon Prime TV series about an L.A. family whose patriarch comes out as transgender. I got totally hooked and I’ve been trying to squeeze in episodes whenever possible. So when the kids had off from school because of a snowstorm the other day, I only had one thought on my mind.

If you are not a mom, you might wonder what’s so hard about carving out a half-hour for a favorite TV program. If you are a mom, you know full well why. My needs fall last on my gigantic to-do list, and enjoying myself is at the very bottom. A couple of years ago, I joined a book club to make sure I got to hang with friends at least once a month (oh, and that I read a book at least once a month). My husband and I have date nights. But in terms of daily life, slathering on body lotion after a shower is often my biggest treat of the day. Taking a minute to apply hand cream, too, feels downright decadent.

I tend to put everything else ahead of my own pleasure. I know moms who regularly go for manis and blowouts. I love me a good pedicure, but it’s rare that I’ll get one because there’s always something more pressing. It’s hard for me to watch TV at night unless the chores are mostly done, the house is clean-ish, bills are paid-ish, yada yada. This is not the case for my husband, who kisses the kids good night then proceeds to veg out on the couch. It’s not that he’s lazy — he’s just programmed differently. When his body tells him it’s time to relax, he listens. When my body tells me it’s time to relax, I think, I’ll just do one more thing.

I’ve always been a do-er, but having kids has pushed me to extremes. I am determined to keep pace because I secretly fear that if I slow down or slack off, our entire family life will unravel. Sound familiar? My son, Max, has special needs (he had a stroke at birth), and requires extra attention, extra medical appointments, extra interactions with school, and extra battles with our insurance company, which is why my to-do list is extra long. I am not complaining — will do anything and everything I can to make Max’s life the best it can be. But I sure do wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Then this Transparent addiction happened. And my brain was all, YOU MUST WATCH THIS. The second I knew the kids had a snow day, I plotted the entire morning around getting to the TV, alone. I gave them breakfast, we did some reading. Then I suggested that they watch TV in our basement and lead them down there, feeling a little sneaky. They were very psyched, though, to see Lady and the Tramp and once they were settled in, I told them I was off to have some me time (with a whole other kind of lady). I zoomed up to our living room TV, turned on Episode 6, cuddled up with a throw and enjoyed. And then — gasp! — I watched the next episode, too.

It’s true that letting your kids entertain themselves is important so they learn self sufficiency. And, heck, they were watching an amazing Disney classic; it wasn’t like I let them play with matches or something. Only I’m not fooling myself; this was all about me, me, me. The dictionary defines “selfish” as “Seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.” Oh, yes.  I made a choice: For once, this mom made her enjoyment a priority. And, wow, it felt good.

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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