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Embracing the Selfish Mom

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I love my children. I do. But when you are a stay-at-home mom, the days can be long. As much as I adore my kids, there is no privacy, no watching "Real Housewives," no quiet time. And you better believe, you share ALL of your chocolate.

Around here, bedtimes are sacred. Not for the kiddos, mind you. My toddler would stay up all night if I let her and my son tries to reason his way out of bed every night. At 9 (almost 10) years old, his bedtime is 8:30. Many of his friends stay up much later than that, chatting on their iPods and playing video games.

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Sometimes the guilt trips almost work. They nag at the back of my head, telling me that I'm the "mean mom," that if I really loved my kids, I'd be happy to be with them from sun up to sun down and that I'm being selfish. I think of other parents I know and wonder if I'm too strict and start to doubt myself.

I think it's funny that we have created such an unsupportive society than even kids can pick up on the opportunity to seize the mom guilt and run with it. The Internet has made it so easy to be opinionated, critical and insulting that it slowly chips away at our confidence as parents. And don't think for a second that our kids don't sense our hesitation as an opportunity to bargain.

We all have needs, and this mama needs a break.

Those moments are when I remind myself that my kids aren't the only people in my home who need to be cared for. There is also my husband and myself. My husband and I need time to talk without the presence of little, impressionable ears. We need time to relax and not worry about anyone but ourselves. And we need time to watch "Game of Thrones." For the love, that show is so addicting and so NOT child friendly.

Remembering that, and the wine chilling in the fridge, calling to me after a long day full of diapers, homework and grocery shopping motivates me to stand my ground. I remind my son that he needs his sleep and his dad and I need time alone to be together and talk in privacy. Because while I love my son, he needs to understand that the universe doesn't revolve around him. That he and his sister, while cherished and loved with my whole heart, are not the only people of importance in my family. We all have needs, and this mama needs a break. And that my relationship with my husband will always come before his desire to have one more hour on his video game.

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Does that make me a selfish mom? Are there other parents shaking their heads over me drinking my glass of wine and relaxing in front of trashy reality television while my sweet babies are forced to go to bed against their will? Maybe.

Haters gonna hate, but I've got my sanity, and my kiddos are learning an important lesson. Clearly, I am winning, and I'm not sad about it.

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