I've always been the kind of person who functions best when there is some kind of reward at the end of things to spur me on. Throughout my adult life, I've always tried hard to find little ways to reward myself for doing things that needed to be done. I went to work today; ergo, I totally deserve this $89 pair of shoes!
Yesterday I cleaned my entire house, did three loads of laundry, pureed, steamed, and froze a huge batch of dollar-apiece locally grown organic carrots, stripped and washed and dried and stuffed cloth diapers, fed the baby carefully mashed worth-their-weight-in-gold farmer's market blueberries, cleaned blueberries off baby and floor, wrote six thank-you notes, did the grocery shop, and edited a 15-page article on glass fiber-reinforced polymer composite.
"Good job, self," I thought, tuckered out at the end of the day. "You have accomplished a lot in a little amount of time. I am so proud of you. As a special treat to honor all you've done, I will carve out a half-hour this evening so that you can PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS."
Motherhood brings with it all sorts of adjusted expectations. This is one of them. There's less time, less opportunity to treat myself. But it's important to try to fit these things in. And so I look forward to Tuesday because it's the day the Savage Love podcast comes out, and I allow myself an hour in the middle of the day to clean the kitchen and listen to other people talk about their sex lives in amusing detail. Every Friday night, the call goes up around the house: We're changing the sheets! It's New Sheet Day! The promise of slipping into bed between those fresh, smooth sheets is almost too much excitement to bear. A Starbucks latte, once a many-times-a-day, taken-for-granted necessity, becomes a special, once-a-week treat, a genuine outing, a reason for putting on makeup, blowdrying my hair.
I think my pre-baby self would have thought this was a sad way to live. Post-baby me feels sorry for her. There's so much she didn't see, so many tiny joys she missed.
I know one day the harried baby stage will end and I'll have more time for myself.
I hope I remember to be grateful for it.