Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Doing Something Nice for Yourself

Just before we left on our vacation-- oops, I mean family trip -- to the far north Lake Superior region, I ordered myself a new handbag. A very nice, very expensive handbag. And why I -- a one-income, one-car-household, tightly-budgeted housewife with two small children to feed and clothe -- did it was this: I deserved it.

I'd been coveting that particular bag for months, but I'd been searching for the perfect stylish, functional, mom-friendly but chic, bag for years. YEARS! Then I found out that the exact bag I wanted -- in the color I wanted -- was out of stock all over the place. Then I found one -- ONE! -- left at an online store I happened to check when I was losing all hope of ever seeing that handbag again. And they were having a sale. And I found a promo code for 25% off. Which was set to expire the day we were leaving on vacation. And I got free shipping. And free returns. (Not that I'm going to return it.)

One left, you all. With two days' leeway to grab the discounted price. What would you have done?

I have my gorgeous, buttery-soft, last-forever, expensive mom handbag. The bag to take the place of the inexpensive bags I buy every year or so at Target, which eventually add up to the price of the high-quality, gorgeous bag anyway. I love it so much I want to sleep with it.

But here's the important thing. Moms don't often treat themselves to much of anything. Or, at least, the moms I know don't. Maybe you do! And that's great. But often, moms take care of and maintain and pay for everyone else's needs and appearance and happiness, and then they go around with whatever's left, which sometimes isn't much.

I bought myself this bag, even though I have a credit card to pay off and the doctor appointment co-pays keep adding up and we just spent a boatload of money on gas and hotels and pet-boarding, because this year I scored a book deal, with a small advance, which is a major accomplishment. (My biggest life's dream after becoming a mom, actually.) Because although money will always be tight, I did a lot of freelance work in June. Because I endured a total of roughly 20 hours in the car with my children, who never stop talking and never sleep, and a several-day stay with my in-laws, and nights in a hotel with children who, uh, never stop talking and never sleep. Because almost every hour of every day I am working in some capacity. Because I deserve something truly nice.

As do you.

I'm not telling you to go bankrupt yourself, but if you're a mom who carries the lion's share of the work around your home and family and puts everyone's needs before your own most of the time, you might want to think about whether you ever do something nice for yourself. Really nice. Not just manicure, iced-coffee, or drinks with the girlfriends nice.

Think about it.


Rita said...

Ok, I haven't mentioned this much on my blog, but we are FLAT BROKE. Like, struggling to pay the bills broke. Like, freaking out not able to sleep wondering how we'll make it broke.

Which means that an iced latte (which I had this morning thanks to a bday gift card) was SUCH an extravagance!

But I swear to you the MINUTE we're back on our feet I am SO getting myself a new purse.

Shannon said...

@Rita: I have so totally been there. Actually, I spent ALL of my twenties there, and much of my thirties as well. (Also, the $ I spent on the purse should probably have rightly gone to the student loan company that helped pay for my Ph.D. and which I'll be paying back till I'm retired.) Hang in, sister! A new handbag will wait.

Mnmom said...

I'm with Rita. So right now the iced mocha or latte is the biggest treat ever!

When we used to have a bit more $, I still didn't spend much on myself. And if I did, I would get an immediate stomach ache. But I found some good coping mechanisms. Take the price and divide it by how often you'll use it in one year. So a bag you'll carry every day is a good deal!

Shannon said...

@Mnmom: Yes, I felt the same way about spending $ on myself for many years--and still do some of the time. But eventually I realized that I hardly ever do, so when I do, I deserve it and like you said it pays off in the end. Over time I am sure I spend far less $ on myself than many women I know. Just not you and Rita. ;)