I was a selfish mother and I have no regret and certainly no guilt about it. Practically everything I did as a mother was because it was what I wanted or needed.
When my girls were growing up I gave them no say about how they would spend their summers. We did what made me happy. I grew up spending summers at the beach and it’s how I wanted to spend my summers as an adult.
Summer wasn’t summer if I didn’t have a summer place at the shore. Maine beaches are beautiful but the ocean water was too cold. I preferred southern New England waters. I took my 4 daughters and two dogs and we would go to Breakwater Village, Point Judith, RI every weekend.
We had a 24′ camper located at a primitive campground with its own private beach. It was owned by my husband’s cousins. Except for being on the beach, it was a very modest place sans the amenities offered by most campgrounds.
Yes, it was a pretty long ride for kids and I didn’t care. If traffic cooperated it was 3 1/2 hours and I made no stops – not for food and not for the potty. I don’t like making a long ride even longer by dragging it out with a lot of stops. Being as selfish as I was, they had to learn how to deal with long car rides, get along with each other in close quarters, and “hold it” until we got to the trailer and I turned on the water.
Oh, and it gets worse. I chose the music that played in the car. I hated soft rock. As far as I’m concerned that is an oxymoron. I liked rap and R&B. My kids heard a lot of rap and R&B. Some of the rap used pretty rough language. They learned how to rap/sing along, but they knew I didn’t use nor tolerate bad words. We would stop when there was a bad part and pick back up without skipping a beat after the explicit part.
The trailer had no TV. I didn’t have a TV in the summer as a kid and I didn’t care if the kids wanted to see their favorite (rerun) shows. That’s not to say I didn’t want some form of entertainment for the evenings. I like to read and in the summer I especially like to read the fanzines.
The kids knew there was no point whining about getting a TV. It wasn’t going to happen. They took advantage of our trips to the book stores. I would happily buy a stack of magazines that we would all read cover to cover. We read Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Word Up, Bop, Teen Beat, Source, and XXL magazine. The magazine we enjoyed the most was YM and the best feature in YM was the Say Anything column. As the selfish mom, and the one who bought and paid for the magazines, I was always read YM first.
Yes, I was a selfish mom who took her kids away from their friends for the summer to stay in a trailer with no TV because that’s what I liked. I made the rules that suited me and I enforced them.
When I joined Weight Watchers I got even more selfish. I wanted this weight loss journey to work with a minimum of work on my part. I wasn’t about to be cooking separate “them” and “my” meals. We were all going to eat the same thing. I would need to weigh/measure and track what went on my plate, but that was the only difference between what I and my family ate.
I bought fruit, bags of baby carrots and ready-to-eat vegetable trays. I shared them with the kids, but they weren’t allowed to eat “the last one.” If there were only one baby carrot left or one orange, or one apple they knew they had to leave it for me, or ask if they could have it before taking it. Sometimes I said, “no!”
I was selfish, but not mean. I didn’t stop buying cookies and chips for my skinny husband and the kids. I didn’t expect them to be deprived because I needed to lose weight. If I couldn’t stop myself from eating cookies and chips because they were in the house that was my problem, not my theirs.
When I started to police the fruit and vegetables to ensure there were always some available when I wanted to snack, these foods became more appealing to my kids. My husband, who always had a “take ’em or leave ’em” attitude about food never cared that much about cookies and chips.
Cookies and chips, on the other hand, were my kids’ go-to snacks. Now, there were partially eaten bags of that stuff in the cupboard. Much of it eventually would become stale and I would toss it. I couldn’t keep enough apples, oranges, and baby carrots on hand to satisfy us.
My girls are in their 20s and 30s now. They were respectful, thoughtful, considerate children. They did well in school and their teachers all called them “a pleasure to have in my class.” They managed to do just fine in a home run by a selfish mother. I have no guilt, no regrets, no fleeting thoughts of “how I would like to go back to do things differently.”
Do I recommend that all moms be selfish moms? Yeah…. I kinda do….
I think we could use more selfish moms today!