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Dear Mom, Spend Some Damn Money on Yourself For Once

Photograph by Twenty20

Dear Mom,

I see you over there clutching your coupon for that lipstick you can't seem to find. But you're determined to only allow yourself to buy that certain brand because you can save a dollar.

I heard you say you are wearing rags as underwear because you have not bought yourself a new pair in years. Maybe it has been a decade, you can't remember.

Your hands are constantly full of new, shiny things for your kids. You drop a lot of money on their school pictures, and you make sure they always have the latest gear for each sport or the trendy toys all the other kids have.

But when was the last time you went out and bought yourself something because you wanted to? Not because it was planned, not because it was on sale, but because you saw it and wanted it. And then you thought to yourself, "I deserve this, dammit. I work hard," instead of, "I really shouldn't have done that, maybe I will return it."

Whether you stay at home with your children, work full or part-time, you deserve to go get a cut and a blow out, maybe even some highlights, without feeling like you are being lavish and then being sick with remorse afterwards. Why do we treat ourselves to those new earrings, or buy the basic necessities like underwear because all we are left with is scraps hanging from an elastic circle, if we are going to crucify ourselves and feel like the money should be going toward a new ski jacket for Tommy or new tap shoes for Jane?

Yes, we make sacrifices for our family. We save, we trim, we budget, we make lists, cut coupons and say, "No, I can't spend money on this because we need it for that." It's part of the job and moms are damn good at spreading a dollar. But there comes a point when we need to treat ourselves once in a while without looking back.

You can be a good mom and still allow yourself a few pleasures here and there. Stop putting yourself on the back burner.

I made an appointment to get a tattoo in two days. TWO DAYS! I woke up this morning and decided I wanted to do it and I wanted it now. Usually I would have thought about it. I would have over-analyzed the reason I felt I needed it. And then guess what? I would have talked myself out of it and put the money in the kids' college fund or into savings.

Shit, I've been known to talk myself out of a purchase in July because I think, I really should save this money for the big, huge, over-priced thing my child wants for Christmas. That, my fellow mom, is guilt at its finest. And I call bullshit. You can be a good mom and still allow yourself a few pleasures here and there. Stop putting yourself on the back burner. Get rid of the voice in your head that says, "You can go without (again), you really don't need that."

Because sometimes you do need a nice dinner out with your friends. You deserve to get the manicure AND the pedicure. You are worthy of buying the damn bra that is not hanging on the clearance rack, and for the love of all things holy, if you look like a smoke show in the dress but have no place to wear the dress, YOU NEED TO BUY THE DRESS ANYWAY. And while you are at it, go get some shoes to match.

You only live once, mama. Those kids don't just need you to make sure they have material things, they need you to feel happy and fulfilled. And while a new outfit or a night out isn't 100 percent responsible for providing that, it certainly does help.

Now, stop treating yourself like an afterthought.

Signed,

The fellow mom who thinks you deserve nice things, too.

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