Putting Yourself First

Right now, I’m relishing in a new-to-me kind of life. I have space in my day to think of my own needs for perhaps the first time in twenty-two years. Like most mums and dads out there, my children’s welfare and needs have often usurped my own.

And I think this is how it must be.

My question is this: Is it okay to put yourself first sometimes?

I must say, it feels awkward and difficult sometimes. I buy myself something and end up asking Gary if that was okay. I choose a more expensive, perhaps organic yogurt, and immediately feel…I guess a little guilty. Can we afford for me to do that? And don’t even get me started on having a new haircut! It is almost £100 for me to have this done at a local salon, a cut, perhaps some highlights, oh, and that wonderful looking hair wash with scalp massage!

On the one hand, I can’t wait!

Being pampered for an hour sounds like heaven to me. But could that money be spent on something else? Something more worthwhile? Something more necessary?

And that hour? Could that be spent cleaning the loo, or behind the kitchen cabinets? Because, my goodness, they could do with a good clean!

Guilt seems to hang like a handbag, full of the clutter of what ‘should be’.

I try to remind myself that I no longer buy chocolate, pastries or fizzy drinks…

…well, at least, not with the same frequency or indeed volume I used to. In fact, night-time snacking has almost completely ceased in our house over the last three months. A habit we all partook in.

This must have saved us multiple pounds.

Perhaps even enough to have a haircut at the local salon.

Does this make it okay?

The reality, at least for me, is that none of my new (healthier habits) happen in isolation from the family.

The last twenty-two years have built up the most wonderful friendships between myself, Gary and our children.

There is literally no-one I would rather spend time with than my family.

And it shows.

Nail salon? This has become a wonderful time for me to spend time with one or both of my twins. In fact, I have never had my nails done without at least one of them enjoying the experience alongside me.

We head over to the old village coffee shop across the road and share a latte and tea-cake together before wandering back over to the nail salon and spending an hour giggling together.

Last time we bumped into the twins’ old baby-sitter and were able to catch up with her as well.

Then we walk home together, happily comparing nail colours, gems and any patterns (FYI I am terribly boring and always have a French manicure without any colour, gems or patterns! Slowly, slowly!).

Last September, I joined a choir. Bless his heart, Gary joined too to support me. The first few times I went, I had tears streaming down my face.

I felt so scared and so out of place.

A few short weeks later, the girls asked if they could come.

Now, the four of us, Gary, Lillie, Charlotte and I, drive out along the winding country roads once a week and spend an hour giggling, singing our little hearts out and generally having such a wholesome and wonderful time together.

Even Gary enjoys it now and has made some lovely new friends.

At Christmas, all four of us joined the local gym. Each day, once Gary has returned from work, we all head out in our motley selection of mismatched gym clothes (and in fact, Lillie often wears her Christmas pyjama bottoms!!) and spend a rather lovely hour together exercising and relaxing together.

I workout alone. It is frankly heaven and I think I might be slightly addicted.

The twins workout together, and if one doesn’t come, the other can often be found in the weightlifting area, working out with their father.

On Saturday, all four girls and I have ‘Girls’ Club’, something I started up at the beginning of the year to be more intentional about spending time with my younger girls.

I sort of offhandedly invited my older girls, not really expecting them to want to spend their Saturday afternoons with their mother and younger sisters.

Yet, they jumped at the idea. Most Saturdays we go into a lovely old fashioned town with cobbled streets and independent shops and spend the afternoons revisiting their childhood weekends going around the charity shops.

Last week, we went swimming beforehand! Oh. my. goodness. We had so much fun. Honestly, so much laughter was crammed into that hour.

I was even able to sneak away and spend a blissful 20 minutes in the sauna by myself. A sauna!!

Somehow, over the past few months, in addressing my own needs and, at times, putting myself first, I have accidentally stumbled upon some new, wonderful routines and rhythms and ended up spending more and not less time with the people I love.

Isn’t that incredible? I really do feel unutterably blessed.

What new routines and rhythms have you explored over the past year which have surprised you in their blessings?

2 thoughts on “Putting Yourself First

    1. It has definitely taken some time to find my feet parenting young adults. I think for a while I backed off too much, thinking that I was doing the right thing. But we are all such good friends that I think that caused more hurt than anything else. Things seems much more comfortable and familiar now, and I have stopped trying to give the YA space because they don’t seem to actually want it!


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