I'm beginning to realise that if I want to join in with linkys I need to just write the post as soon as possible otherwise I don't seem to get around to it if it just gets added to my to-do list. So I'm quickly writing up this weeks Striking Mums post whilst the kids are having an afternoon snack.
I agree with Kate that treating ourselves every once in a while as mums is so important. I found that when my first baby came along, the family 'pecking order' changed. No longer was it just hubby and me but baby was number 1 priority, followed by hubby, then the cat and I was somewhere way down the list beyond that.
When babies are little, I firmly think that is the way it should be. Their needs are pretty urgent and immediate but as they grow up there should come a time when I'm able to say to them just wait. Wait until I finish what I'm doing, wait until I've cooked the dinner, wait until I'm out the loo. But I've always found that hard.
I don't like to let people down and that means that I end up putting everyone elses needs ahead of my own. When things got really bad last year, I needed to be told that as I was the one holding everything together, I HAD to start taking care of myself otherwise I would fall apart and then everything else would fall apart anyway.
I still struggle to do that but I do occasionally remind myself to take 5 minutes to sit down with a hot drink (it still only happens once in a blue moon but that's better than never!), I will ask Richard to take the kids to church without me on Sundays so I can catch up on a bit of housework, and I do now occasionally treat myself to the odd piece of new clothing (before that I'd regularly go years, and I mean 10 years or more in some cases, before replacing an item of clothing).
I think it boiled down to the fact that I didn't feel I deserved to treat myself. Without meaning to dwell on the past or blame my childhood experiences, I'd never had anyone to believe in me and I'm not the sort of person that believes in myself very much.
I hate myself even writing that because it is not the kind of role model I want to be for my kids. I believe in them 110% and I believe that they can do and achieve anything and everything they want to and yet I don't believe that same fact about myself.
But I am gradually getting better at it...So here are this week's questions from Kate:
When did you last treat yourself?
I very nearly did yesterday when I saw a new mixing bowl (which I kind of need so it is not technically a treat) but I still didn't buy it for myself.
I treated myself to some new slippers (which again I needed) and they are going to be given from the kids to me at Christmas.
Oh dear - I'm not very good at this am I. I sat down with a cup of Ovaltine a few nights ago. But that's not that much of a treat.
I got some lovely chocolates for my birthday in October so I'm sure that counts. I also like to eat out and we got to eat out lots when we were on our road trip in the summer so that felt like being treated.
What is the balance between you treating others and you treating yourself?
I've treated the kids to onesies this week and even though I saw lots of lovely Christmas jumpers and snuggly onesies in my size, I didn't get myself anything. So I am well aware that I'm not good at treating myself.
Again I think it comes down to feeling unworthy and undeserving of being treated and that is a big stumbling block I need to get over.
It's probably apparent from my online life (my poor friends on facebook that have to put up with my spammy timeline!!!) that I really enjoy entering competitions. Its something that I only really got into over the past couple of years (I think it was the boredom of those night feeds when Miss T was born that I started to enter a few and then couldn't stop). I work hard at it some weeks spending 5 or more hours each evening (and yes I know that is longer than someone would ordinarily spend in a full time job). But it gives me a bit of 'me time' which is a treat in itself and then if I get any prize wins then that feels like a real treat too.
One of the things that remains one of my best ever prizes was my Pink Lining bag that I won. It is not something that I would have had the spare budget to buy at the time and I'd used freebie changing bags before that when the boys were younger so it really felt like a treat to win such a fabulous bag for me and Miss T.
I think one of the reasons that I've become so attached to entering competitions is because it is a way of treating myself without feeling guilty. There are always competing priorities with things the kids need or things for the house and so I feel guilty when buying things for myself but if I've managed to win myself something then that lessens the guilt.
Having said that I find I will often share my prizes with others - more about that on the next question.
What joy do you get when you treat another person?
I love it if I'm able to treat another person to something they really need or want. Whether it is helping out when they are stuck for a last minute babysitter or being able to give them a gift that they've been wishing for.
But I don't enjoy giving gifts when I'm stuck for ideas - That's one of the reasons I dislike Christmas so much. I hate buying things for people who can and do buy everything they need themselves and so there is nothing you can buy that will truly please them.
I used to make my mum handmade gifts and she would really appreciate that but some people think that you've gone down the handmade route to be scrimpy and stingy and don't realise that by the time you've bought the materials you need plus the hours that go into a handmade gift, it is not the easiest or cheapest route at all. So I don't particularly enjoy making gifts for people these days for that reason.
I've got a very recent example of being able to treat a friend and it has brought me lots of joy. Because of D getting his amazing Kenwood K Mix stand mixer recently, I no longer had the space to keep my Kenwood Chef Classic. It was something that my friend had been wishing for and so it was a delight to be able to pass it on to her.
I've also been able to giveaway ipads, a kurio tablet, and share my voucher wins with others. Whilst I am really happy to be able to do this and I do it because I want to treat my friends, I also do it partly because I feel undeserving of the prize myself.
What treats would you buy with...£100, £1000, £10000?
In reality a spare lump of cash like that would go towards the mortgage but if I had to spend it on a treat I think it would be...
£100 for a relaxing facial and perhaps a massage too.
£1000 A weekend in Paris perhaps.
£10000 for a new car as hubby's is coming towards the end of its useful life.
What free or affordable treats do you indulge in?
I've recently discovered that I enjoy cooking and baking when I find the time to do so. It is something that I've historically been rubbish at doing but because of my kid's enjoying cooking so much, I now have a new found enjoyment of it. So for me being able to spend time trying out a new recipe is a treat.
As long as there is no pressure for it to turn out right as that would make it stressful. That's why when we have friends over, I use shop bought desserts as it is too risky to rely on things going right if I'm cooking something myself!
I love to learn new things - So again it boils down to time - but if I find enough time to have a browse on pinterest or be inspired by some craft or cooking ideas online then that is a treat for me.
Picking up a free magazine from the supermarket and getting the chance to read it is a treat.
Going to the hairdressers is an affordable treat as I don't go very often and don't have anything fancy done - just a basic cut - and my hairdresser really makes me laugh with stories about his kids and grandkids - it really brightens up my day!
I enjoy looking through photo albums. I love having a sort out of cupboards. Just little things like that feel like a treat if I find time to do it.
I was also enjoying the Britmums bookclub (is that still going?) as it meant that I would force myself to make time to read and I loved having a book pre-chosen for me to read as it meant I read things that I would not necessarily have read otherwise.