A long time ago a friend pointed out how I described myself on social media and my blog. I had described my role to other people before my own identity came through. For example a wife, and mother, and then me. I didn’t come first. It was quite eye opening. Given that my blog is very much all about me and my journey, it was interesting to see that when it came to introducing myself that I didn’t come first.
Even now, the little blurb under my photo is the sidebar on the right says this:
I’m Kel, and I’m a married first-time mother of two, a little boy (born October ’17) and a dog (she’s totally my baby).
I’m sarcastic, uncensored and sleep deprived. I write about my everyday life, and the events in it. I have a “52 in 52” list, which is a list of 52 random things to get done over the course of the year. I hope you enjoy reading about my shenanigans!
See what I did there?
But when I started to look at it more, I realised it was OK. On that occasion my family role came first. That’s important to me, so it’s OK to be first sometimes.
But not everywhere.
I come first sometimes too, ya know? And that second paragraph is all about me. Sometimes I come second, sometimes I come first.
And that’s when I realised that I’m selfish. Not all the time, but sometimes. Not a lot of mums take the time to be selfish….but I do. And I’m proud of that. It makes me a better mother and wife.
How I’m selfish
There’s a few things I’ve done that aren’t exactly to everyone’s tastes, but as someone at work reminded me the other day, if we were all the same it would be boring.
Here’s a quick recap of things that I do that could be considered selfish:
- I love going to work each day. I thrive on the productivity, making a difference every day and most importantly, getting things done. I couldn’t be a stay-at-home mum (props to those who can though!)
- I love having me time. I occasionally book days off work when my son is in daycare just so I can be at home on my own. I love my family, but sometimes I just want time with just me.
- I have made running a priority – another solo activity. My husband picks up parenting duties while I run. I leave everyone behind, and I just run.
Going back to work
I’ve seen the look on some women’s faces when I explained that I was excited to go back to work. The look of judgement is always the same.
But I own the fact I wanted to go back to work. I was excited about it!
To be honest, it felt like the first step in rediscovering a bit of “me” after having a child. I was a workaholic before I left on maternity leave, but it wasn’t a workaholic who returned.
My priorities have changed. I work hard, but at the end of the day I can’t wait to get home and give my little man a kiss on the head. If I’ve missed him because he’s gone to bed a little early, I watch the baby monitor. When I’m not with him I miss him dearly. I can’t wait for him to wake up in the mornings.
I feel like going back to work has made me a better mother, because I absolutely cherish the time that I have with him. Not a second is wasted. It’s released my husband and I from financial strain, so we’re less stressed worrying about every dollar. I can take him places and let him enjoy things.
For those mothers that stay at home full time, all the more power to you. I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t find my identity in those circumstances. I don’t know if I had postnatal depression, and there’s probably a good chance that I had a mild form, but I wasn’t happy at home. I still loved my little guy, but I struggled to fill the days and make them meaningful for him. At daycare he has such wonderful social interactions with other little children, and extracurricular activities I couldn’t even dream of. I don’t think he would have thrived as much as he has, and I don’t think I would have been happy. It just wasn’t for me.
Having me time
It took me years to understand that I am an introverted extrovert. I need that time on my own to restock my energy.
From observation, most mothers don’t have any time to themselves at all. It’s always about the family, their husbands, everyone but themselves. They don’t make themselves a priority, and despite everyone saying “you need to treat yourself well every now and then” it’s unlikely.
I make that time for myself. I’m lucky enough to still have a lot of annual leave accrued, and with not much time off planned in the future (a couple of weeks overseas at the end of the year and a couple of days mid-year) there’s plenty to spare. So I book the odd day off here and there and I do stuff that I enjoy.
I make myself a priority.
Making running a priority
Again, it took me years to understand that running is my happy place. My mind clears, the endorphins come, I feel pride in the strength of my body to carry me places.
I need running to live. That’s genuinely how I feel.
When I’m not running or exercising I can tell the difference in my mood. I’m snappy, and itchy to do things. I need to move.
Initially it was for me, but it morphed into being about my son too. I want to set my son a good example. I want him to see that movement is healthy. Doing what makes you happy is healthy. I want him to invest his time in himself. I want him to love being active too.
A lot of mum’s haven’t found that hobby they’re passionate about. Or they’ve found it, but don’t have the time or opportunity. I’m spoiled by having a good husband and don’t take that for granted (mind you he plays sport so a few times a week I pick up all the parenting duties some nights too). But I am selfish in that I forced myself to sacrifice the time that I could be doing something else and made it about me.
I am selfish and I am proud of it.
How do you describe yourself? Are you selfish?
If you describe yourself as a role to someone else first, that’s OK! As long as there’s bits about you in there too.
You can’t always be about everyone else. There needs to be a bit of you in there.
I guess the whole point of this post is, IT’S OK TO BE SELFISH.