Someone not –so-wise once said– indulgence is sometimes a necessity and strangers often provide perspective.
And that same person went on to say– Utility is good but not at the cost of one’s vanity.
I have forgotten to pamper myself. Thinking practically and acting prudently has turned my world into an organized, safe BUT predictable heaven. Small pleasures like a movie in the afternoon without the kids or an uninterrupted hour on the phone with a friend are exceptionally rare and give uncontained joys and thrill when they come to me.
More than the outings or the me-time, it is how I treat myself that makes me wonder if I was ever important at all? No one asks me to or tells me to but it is as if the function of the Mommy brain differs a little bit from the rest of the world. Convenience presides over protocol and comfort over fashion.
Here’s a small example to help my case.
When kids learn to eat adult food, it takes time for them to develop a taste for it and so every time a new flavor is introduced, they try a couple of tablespoons and then clearly indicate their unwillingness to gulp it all. Ever wondered what happens to the rest of the oatmeal, the half bitten grilled cheese sandwich or the dried out rice and beans? They don’t go directly to the trash can, not before the mother has tried to finish off as much as she can!
The point here being, and I say this for myself, I have gotten used to treating myself to leftovers, food being the most unimportant thing on the list. I get my husband’s full attention only when the kids are not around (which is like never!), goes without saying I wait for the residue of my own time from time to time! Anywhere I go is not without the thought “what about the kids?” and anything I buy for myself is always accompanied by a reasoning which has negated my first choice and that reasoning is “how much am I really going to use this with the kids still being so small?” Out of the shopping cart goes the clutch, in comes a ‘utility’ handbag which shall have to serve million other purposes of storing a snack, a diaper, paper napkins, wipes, band aids, a small toys, a pair of baby clothes apart from the wallet and my phone for which the bag was originally intended to be bought.
Picking up something I liked without a second thought does not happen often. Making a wise choice has become a habit and at times it comes with the cost of regret. There is this huge bucket list titled ‘once the kids grow up’ and nothing gets ticked off it these days. Not until recently.
Last weekend we set out to stock on summer clothes and footwear for the upcoming holidays and trips. First of all, going shopping with the kids is never a wholly pleasant trip; parts of it go in staging walkouts from the store and finding them hidden between racks of clothes. Secondly, it is always them versus us. If I concentrate on finding the right things for the kids, there is no time left to shop for myself and vice versa. This time around though, hubby insisted we shop for me first and so we settled on the first floor of this huge departmental store starting with the shoes. I immediately liked a color and style so we asked for the shop assistant to get the correct size.
While waiting for the pair to arrive my eyes fell on a gorgeous pair of aqua heels. Before I could take my eyes off them, hubby brought them closer for me try them on. “Are you kidding me? I couldn’t possibly walk even a step in them!” was my response and he goes “Atleast try them on.” Highly unsure, I slipped my feet into them and stood a few inches taller, feeling beautiful. Trotting before the mirror I wondered how long had it passed since I wore such high heels, was it 8 years or even more? The pregnancies, subsequent backaches and clinging kids who refused to settle any place other than my hip, when in the world was there an occasion to prance around in heels?
Before I could dwell too much on it, the sneakers arrived and I reluctantly slipped out of the heels. The sneakers fit well and I walked a couple of steps to check out the comfort but my heart was already lost to those pretty sandals. Flat and robust, taupe colored sneakers felt dull on my feet in comparison to their previous counterpart which were delicate and fashionable. “Why don’t you buy both?” hubby interrupted on my thoughts gently, perhaps I had a look on my face similar to that of a child who can’t have a forbidden candy. “No, no” I quickly said, “I don’t need the heels, I will hardly even wear them and we have come to buy walking shoes because that’s what I require for the summer.” I blurted out, maybe too much, too fast.
And while I was saying this, I had taken the taupe shoes off and slipped on the high heels one more time, to revel in the feeling of being “non-motherly” for a moment. “I can’t decide, I am confused.” I begged hubby for help. There was actually no confusion; the decision was simple enough to be made. Flat was what was going to work for me most days of the year, the heels would be worn once or twice if I got lucky, the rest of the year they would lie in the closet giving me the pleasure of having bought something I set my heart on.
Now comes the stranger and the perspective part. And mind you, her opinion proved to be very vital, similar to that guest appearance in a movie that plays a small but an important role. A well dressed lady sitting in a corner, probably waiting for her shopping companions, was watching me go to and fro between choices. At one point our eyes met and she said out loud “Buy those Aqua sandals, they look good on you.”
“I am probably gonna use the sneakers more, I hardly wear heels these days” here I was, confiding in total strangers.
“Doesn’t matter. Don’t think about which one you are going to use more, buy what you love, just go for the heels, they are awesome!” she said it so decisively and clearly, it was as if she knew I needed that small push to indulge myself. And I will always be thankful to her for giving me a perspective that went out of sight long time ago.