One of the pitfalls of having holidays that focus on giving gifts to others is that we become a
society of scorecard keepers. How did I do? Did I get more gifts than last year? Were the gifts given with genuine sincerity or did I sense feelings of obligation? Do I measure how others
treat me as proof of how worthy I am?
Here’s a little secret about gift giving and receiving on any occasion, moms. It’s not a competition. You are not the best mom ever if you get the most presents. You are the best mom ever if you let yourself feel good about the job you are doing every day, even on the most challenging days. And if you want a gift, whether you feel you deserve something special or simply because you think you should always feel treasured, go ahead and give yourself one. Be generous with yourself every time of year and others will follow suit dur-ing special times.
Being a great mom means putting your needs first, instead of delegating that job to others and
feeling resentful if they let you down. Here’s a little secret: other people can’t let you down if you don’t let yourself down. So pick yourself up during the mom-gifting time of year with a little reward for
yourself. You always deserve something special just for being you.
Foofy drinks. For her birthday lunch my daughter wanted a tropical drink with a tiny umbrella in it. And you deserve a tiny umbrella too, mom. Or maybe a dollop of whipped dream with a chocolate swirl or a little heart design atop your coffee foam.
Exposure to nature. The civilized world gallops at a breakneck pace. But nature helps us slow down to the incremental speed of life. The seeds we plant don’t sprout overnight. And we can regain our patience and our pacing by frequent exposure to the earth, air, sun, and stars.
Your favorite books and magazines. Few things make me cheerier than a glossy new seasonal magazine. Books inspire movies in our minds. Even the Internet with all of its diverse content cannot replace my insatiable thirst for hunkering down, one spread at a time, and escaping into artfully photographed and delightfully designed magazine pages. Don’t ever deprive yourself of your daily allotment of mental escape.
Belly laughs. I was on the phone with an old friend the other day and the laughs just came cascading out. Nothing like chuckling over old antics or sharing a giggle with someone who has known you forever. Get your kicks in whatever way works for you and the cascading endorphins are an extra, feel-good bonus. Streaming sitcoms or reading comics also works well in a pinch.
Delicious food. Keep at-home copies of your favorite take-out menus. Sometimes mom needs someone else to do the meal prep, cook-ing, and serving. Besides, sitting down to be waited on every once in a while is a great way to power up your inner chef. Bon appétit!
Self-care. A quick nap. A long bath with bath salts and bubbles. Saying no to everything that does not feel like a yes. Asking for hugs. I’d be willing to bet that moms who practice self-care live longer. For sure, they live happier.
Fresh flowers. Flowers are love. Love grows in the yard and I’m always expanding that repertoire of choices. Others come from small bouquets at the market I can mix and match. If you are feeling cynical about the gift of flowers, try a more playful approach.
Scents you love. Jasmine. Lemon. Rose. Cinnamon. Juniper. Cookies fresh from the oven! You control your environment, so make it smell wonderful to you.
Self-expression. Be your insouciant self today and every day. What does this mean to you? If you are holding your breath, biting your tongue, biding your time, or practicing any other delay tactics that prevent you from living your life with the volume cranked up, seek assistance. Get around folks who lure you out of your shell and validate all the gifts you have to offer the world.
Surprises. Don’t wait for others to catch you off guard. Delight yourself with little impulsive decisions that make you happy now. A surprise isn’t just a big, painstakingly planned party. It’s at least 20 opportunities a day to be sweeter to yourself. Go ahead, choose differently.
Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz definitely deserves more treats in her life. Luckily she never feels deprived because she gives herself enough to keep herself feeling fortunate.