Why Can’t I Have Nice Things? The Battle To Treat Yourself, Especially When You’re A Mom

February 17, 2016  |  

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Do you remember the episode of ‘Martin’ when Gina got that ottoman she wanted so desperately? It was the one classic looking piece of furniture that she’d been begging Martin to gift her with. Now, think of how excited she was when he actually copped it for her. We, as mothers, experience this ‘treat yourself’ urge for nice things every time we hit the mall or even glance at a Pottery Barn catalog, but these kids man, these kids won’t let us be great. Forget about having anything that isn’t dark in color, unbreakable or just too darn tempting for little hands to resist for a few years. It’s a wrap for us.

The realization that we may never see our respective ‘ottomans’ until the kids are close to grown comes in waves. The thing about it is that they don’t care in the least about your so-called ‘nice things.’ Hell, they don’t even care about their own ottomans.

I remember finding this navy blue varsity cardigan from Polo Ralph Lauren at TJ Maxx one year. There were only three on the rack and I was miles away from our neighborhood, way on the other side of the Atlanta metro area. One was my oldest daughter’s size and I thought to myself, ‘This is going to set her uniform off just right. And I’ll bet no one else at her school has it. It’s perfect.’ I grabbed it for her, she gushed over it as soon as she saw it, and promptly lost it at school that Monday, two days later. It was the first time she’d worn it.

Every once in a while when we need to vent, me and my girlfriends sit down and talk about which of our children’s items we’ve had to replace over the years.

“They’re born into it!,” I said over drinks one Saturday. Every one of my home girls nodded.

“All of them,” I continued. “Boys are no more destructive than girls. I saw these makeup brushes the other day that I wanted, then I remembered what happened the last time I had a set.”

I had a set of Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target — see? Nothing super expensive, they had only cost a few dollars. I had these brushes for years and one day they just disappeared. I didn’t even think to ask my oldest at the time because I had every confidence that she wasn’t crazy enough to go into my space and touch my things. No way, right? After some months of me thinking that I’d just misplaced them, one lonely powder brush reappeared. One.

“When I asked about the rest, this was the response: ‘I’m sorry Mommy.’ Can you believe that?” I asked, incredulously. ”’I’m sorry,’” I scoffed again, shaking my head. All my friends looked on, sympathetic to my story.

The same thing happened with a MAC eye palette that I’d had for years. The thing is that, once you have children, you’d be better off retraining yourself to either hide everything you have of worth or simply turn a blind eye to the things you really want. Whether they’re for you or for your home. We love our children but kids don’t take care of things and until they hit their teen years — and from what I hear, sometimes, not even then — you might as well forget about classing your home up.

I saw a velveteen chaise online the other day, perfect for a quiet corner in my bedroom. I yearned for it almost instantly, then I thought of my kids and closed the window. I could still cop it of course — my personal ‘ottoman’ — but I’ve never liked the idea of terrorizing your kids into staying away from your things.

We all know those parents, the ones that have a living room they don’t allow the children to actually live in. Nah, that method isn’t for us. Instead, I’m diligently working on teaching them how to have respect for my things as well as their own. Hopefully that way, I can have my chaise sooner than later. Or maybe even a pretty French ottoman like Gina.

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