If you're a new or soon-to-be mom, chances are you're receiving a ton of advice — some of which may be good, and some of which may be downright horrifying — and you're over it. I get it. I've been there. When I was pregnant with my first baby five years ago, and again with my twins a few years after that, I got advice at every turn. But there is one piece of advice I wish someone had given me. Advice that had I received it years ago, would have saved me countless bouts of frustration, self-doubt, major mom guilt, and tears. And that piece of advice is this: Every now and then, take some time to be a little selfish.
A couple of months ago, I was at my wit's end. Life as a stay-at-home mom with a 5-year-old and 1-year-old twins was hard. I found myself frequently losing my patience and plopping my kids in front of the television while I escaped down a social media rabbit hole. Although I wasn't going to admit it, I was struggling. Thankfully, my best friend knew me well enough to know that I needed a break, and offered to whisk me away for a child-free, girls only weekend. While her promises of planning a weekend filled with sun, spa treatments, and frozen poolside drinks sounded enticing, I felt like it just wasn't the right time for me to go away. Leaving my children felt careless, and leaving my husband felt selfish. He works so hard so that I can stay home, and I'm the one who needs a break? In spite of my hesitation, a few weeks later, I found myself sitting on a plane with a drink in one hand and a good book in the other.
As we checked into our beachfront resort, my mom guilt was at its peak, and my thoughts were going a mile a minute. Were my children missing me? Was my husband feeling overwhelmed? Did I remember to tell him where the babies' backup lovies were should they get misplaced? One of the twins was teething . . . badly. Had I bought more Motrin? Did they have enough clean pajamas?
The concierge snapped me out of my worry-laden internal monologue by handing me a glass of Champagne, which I sipped as we were led to our room: a brightly colored sanctuary with an oceanfront view that was hell-bent on making me forget everything I had been stressed about just minutes before. I mean, my kids were at home with their dad, who was not only more than capable of caring for them, but who had encouraged me to come on this trip.
What really put an end to my worries, however, was our visit to the spa shortly after our arrival. As my friend and I walked in, we were greeted with another glass of Champagne — I was beginning to see a pattern here — and a small candle. The instructions were simple: Close your eyes, make a selfish wish, and add your candle to the wishing well. That annoying inner voice chimed in: A selfish wish? I'm a mom of three! I don't get to be selfish!, and I knew exactly what to wish for. I closed my eyes and wished to spend the next two days being selfish; that I could enjoy whatever precious time I had to myself guilt-free. Then I added my candle to the wishing well, sipped my Champagne, and went to change into a plush, white, spa robe. The hotel assured me that their fairies would make my wish come true, and I had no choice but to hope that they were right.'
Much to my surprise, they were. My wish came true. I spent the next two days blissfully distracted by Champagne, sun, and gourmet food. We indulged in spa treatments, poolside drinks, beachside yoga, more poolside drinks, and a personal training session . . . followed by more poolside drinks. I slept, ate, read, and exercised without the constant interruption of three small children, and wow. I was rejuvenated, refreshed, and recharged. The stress that had built up over the last five years had melted away, and I was ready to go back to my children and kiss away their tears rather than cry with them. I was ready to play with them rather than hide from them. I had taken two days to myself — not a long time, really. But two days full of self-care and fulfilling selfish wishes was exactly what I needed in order to be a better mom.
And I promise you that as a new mom, making a few selfish wishes of your own will be one of the best things you can do for yourself, not to mention your husband and your children.