Spending on Yourself- And Feeling Guilty. A Mom’s Tale of Style Snags

Have you ever bought something for yourself or pampered yourself and then felt badly immediately after you paid? That’s me.

Ever since I became a mom, I think of money in terms of what I can use it for to benefit my children and our family’s future. I’ll see something I want to enjoy for myself and think, “that amount of money could be one season of clothes for one child.” Or, if I have this money, then it should be put into my kids’ savings accounts. Or, our retirement fund.” Even more common lately, I say, “If I buy this, then it’s money I’m not saving for the new house we are hoping to buy next year. ” And the other day I thought, “I should be donating to the animal shelter instead of buying something for myself.”

The guilt is enormous.

But then I have to tell myself that I am a person, too and I work hard and want to enjoy things that make me happy. And I deserve it because I’m more than just some machine that works to generate money and put it towards the future. We need to pay attention to the present, too. It’s just hard when our brains are in planning mode and we have vision boards hanging above the same desks we sit in while we online shop.

I’m not very materialistic. I don’t like labels. But I do have a fetish for some luxury items– mostly statement pieces. Nothing crazy expensive or high-end designer like Gucci or whatever. I’m talking mid-priced splurges like a nice, quality bag, coat or dress. I consider them investment pieces that will transcend years and I therefore won’t have to purchase those things years down the line.

I buy $8 shirts at Target and Marshalls, shop Macy’s clearance online, and aim to buy timeless items that can be worn multiple seasons and aren’t fads. I like to think I shop smart. And for so long, I didn’t shop for things that I would personally enjoy- only necessities- because I had so much anxiety about my health after my post-pregnancy fatty liver scare. Now, I’m conquering the effects of that experience and feeling really great and I want to get back to the woman I was before I became consumed with worry about my future and celebrate who I am today!

For at least the past two years, I wore things that were cheap to save money and get through each season. And I didn’t feel my best. As moms we go through so many sacrifices to personal style. We gain weight when pregnant and wear clothes we don’t love. When we have a baby, we buy new clothes to cover up the baby weight and hope we can drop pounds to buy new, nicer clothes. Then we get pregnant again. And our bodies change again. We sacrifice our personal style. Again.

There’s so much I DON’T spend money on because I think it’s a waste. For instance, getting my nails done every week. I don’t color my hair black anymore even though I feel most confident with it because when we bought our house six years ago, the black at-home color started to stain the bathroom. And I don’t want to pay money or spend time at the salon to professionally maintain it. So now I’m rockin’ my natural, basic brown even though my heart is so beyond basic and pumping with edgy style. I dream of the perfect baylage, but I’ll keep it on my Pinterest boards.

When our focus is on our kids and being a mom, we can easily lose our own identity.

Now that I’m working for myself as a consultant and not on a consistent salary, I particularly worry about money. I’m trying to find the perfect balance of self-care and spending. I’ll look at a bag for months online, search e-Bay, wait for sales and then buy it– but feel guilty.

So moms, what do you splurge on for yourself and not feel guilty about? And how do you avoid those feelings of guilt?

Lesson learned from this post: Spend on yourself, but choose where you swipe your credit card wisely. Don’t feel guilty about investing in yourself- because you are your future! We shouldn’t treat ourselves like last season’s clearance items, but rather fresh new in-stock items ready to be scooped up!

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