Mothers usually feel guilty spending on themselves. For years, all my mom asked for when Mother’s Day or her birthday came around (we didn’t really do presents on Christmas) was socks or underwear, maybe soap. I don’t recall exactly, but I just remember wondering why she didn’t ask for anything exciting or extravagant. Maybe she didn’t think we could afford it, I thought, but even now that my siblings and I are all professionals and her wishlist still hasn’t changed, I am starting to understand her logic. The older you get, the more annoying it is to spend on things you actually need. Why should a Target trip where all I got was shampoo, tile cleaner, toilet paper, laundry detergent and Chlorox wipes total up to over $50?! But this is the reality of adulthood.
When you become a mom, and you want to save money, you play this game of seeing how long you can go without something (conditioner, face wash, new underwear, makeup that’s almost run out), and maybe that’s why my mom only asked for the basics whenever it was time to request gifts. Not only this, but perhaps being on a tight budget where most of her income needed to go towards bills, car repair, school uniforms, field trips, and food didn’t really allow her to be a little selfish.
I try to spoil her by taking her out to the movies or to dinner when I can just so she lives a different type of life than what she had when we were younger and Wacky Wednesdays pizza at Hungry Howie’s was a luxury to us, but she still never wants much. But even though I’m a millennial, I still appreciate blankets and socks on Christmas, and even got face moisturizer last year (thanks, Jenny!!) which is normally $13, but deep down I still want. Some are material things and some are just selfish, but that’s the point of a wishlist right?
As a mom, it’s hard to explain what I want sometimes, but I made a list of some things moms of today probably want, in no particular order:
- Fast food
- Night cream to make their face look younger
- A mommy friend who answers their texts
- A mommy friend with kids who don’t torment hers
- A few kind words from the special guy in her life
- 2 minutes where no one is touching her
- Time to binge-watch TV
- Clothes that fit
- Shorter lines at the grocery store
- Makeup that does wonders but doesn’t cost a fortune
- A break from her cell phone
- A conversation where someone doesn’t mention Facebook
- Time to read (or to sit in silence)
- Chocolate cake
- A bath
- Interaction with people who don’t judge her or her kids
This is a pretty mundane and boring list to some, but it would make a huge difference in my life and those who have contributed to making these things possible are angels! Other modern mommies understand.
There are moms out there who try to say they don’t need anything and that as long as they’re with their kids they are happy as clown, but that’s not true. Every human has basic needs, and most individuals have wants. Denying them can be unhealthy, and honestly, if someone wants to take the time to do something for you that will make you smile, maybe you can suggest something honest even if it feels weird.
I finally started hiring a babysitter so I could have time to write and seriously debated calling her for a few hours so I could nap on certain weekends. Luckily, I have my mom’s help and am able to shower and do a lot for myself that some mothers do not, but if you’re a spouse or friend or child looking to do something meaningful for your mom this Christmas, think outside the perfume box or the jewelry box–let her go out with a friend or give her time to do something for herself (preferably outside the house because if she has an empty house she might be tempted to clean! Ha). Strangers that have let me cut in line at Target or entertained my kid on a flight always leave me feeling like there are good people in this world after all.