A very beloved friend of mine and I had been talking about buying myself a gift. [We will call her C] I had been hemming and hawing about the purchase for a little while and kept reasoning that there was no justification in my buying it, despite deserving to treat myself. (Which I had not done with this particular hobby in 2 years to the day!)
She brought up an article that discussed “Imposter Syndrome” and it explained that this condition is where one who steps into a new role–typically a new parent–who despite receiving social praise on how well they are doing in their new role, feel fake and as though they’re, well, an imposter.
This fit how I had been feeling for some time, now. Like, I wasn’t who I really said I was. (A new mom) By buying such a lavish gift for myself, I was taking food or diapers from my child and “real moms” didn’t do these things and I must be an awful, selfish mother. Of course, I wasn’t really taking anything from my son. This was money that had been set aside for me to do as I wanted. So, why was I feeling like this? The sense of having to sacrifice for my child was so intense even though there was no need to. She pointed out that I tend to be an overachiever, which agitates these feelings.
C then asked me how I differentiate between Mom (me) and Sara (me). Why don’t I deserve to buy things for myself? When do these two facets of person meet and where do they separate? I ended up thinking about it so hard that more than an hour had gone by and I couldn’t come up with anything. I had never thought about it before. I had no idea! At first, I had simply answered that I didn’t know. It felt like it didn’t really apply to me.
In that time, I made my purchase, having finally, straightened myself up and going forward. (I still felt guilty after buying it.) I thought off and on about my answer for C and didn’t bring it up again until a few nights later when I thought I had a good response. [This blog post]
Sara is Sara and Mom is Mom. Sara is Mom and Mom is Sara. This means that no matter how I try to break it apart, these two people are really the same. The difference between the two is that while I am obligated to my son, I have to remember that: the rest of my time? The rest of me? It’s still obligated to me, to be able to do the things I enjoy, to buy things that I want or need. That I deserve to be able to do things that bring on the oxytocin. Mom isn’t necessarily a different person at all, but I do have to recognize that when it’s time to be mommy; it’s time to be mommy. When it’s just me alone and free during down time or while I’m at work? I’m allowed to be Sara. Mommy can sit on the back burner since she isn’t needed. I’m allowed to provide for myself the care and love I would otherwise provide for my son when it’s time to be Mommy again; I’m good enough for him, so I am good enough for me.