Maybe you need a cup of coffee like my dying plants need water, but you don’t think you have time. Maybe you’d like that new book in that store window, or that cheugy round lip gloss that Gen Z can laugh about in their ugly-ass mom jeans. Maybe you need to hide in your bathroom scrolling #thirsttrap on TikTok while your children scream.
But whatever it is, every day, give yourself a present.
Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it. As Dale Cooper says on “Twin Peaks,” just let it happen.
You’re a parent. You spent your day corralling small or not-so-small people who are resistant to said corralling. Basically, you herd angry, spitting cats who occasionally do sweet things like hug your leg and say “I love you [insert parental title].” There are lost shoes. There are lost lunches. There are lost minds because the school board has got to be kidding, they did what?!
Give yourself a present. Take a long way home and sing along to your Spotify playlist. Buy a trashy-ass tabloid and read it while your kid stares mindlessly at “Paw Patrol.” Break out that new bar of hand soap.
New Parents Deserve A Present
Maybe you’re a new parent. Maybe you’re in the mess of breast-or-bottle, carrier-or-stroller. Maybe you’re still fucking gobsmacked that a bunch of nurses let you walk through the hospital doors with sole charge of a human infant, which won’t let you put it down, ever, or it does some kind of demon-screaming thing. On an evolutionary level, this screws with your head, so you’re forced to tote this creature everywhere. With your three-day-old leggings, ratty shirt, and messy bun, you look like everyone circa July 2020, except it’s now and COVID’s no longer a viable excuse for lacking all standards whatsoever.
Give yourself a present.
Put down your screaming doomspawn, rock that bouncer with your foot, and paint your nails black. Make your partner/random relative/neighbor hold your improbable infant, who will be mildly pacified, and take a goddamn shower. Shave your legs if you’re of that persuasion that shaves them. Tie your child to your back, bounce on an exercise ball while praying your stitches don’t break, and order some shit you don’t need off Amazon. No, you have to not really need it. Paper towels do not fucking count.
Warm up that cold coffee, bitch.
You deserve a present. Why? Because you’re a person walking on this Earth, and peopleing is hard. This Earth is hard. Parenting is even harder, because you’re in charge of another human life; Christ, when you break it down like that we all deserve a cookie and the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a personal shout-out from Oprah.
Older Kid Parents Deserve One, Too
And when your kids get bigger, it doesn’t get easier. Sorry, moms of babies. It’s always just as hard as you think it will be. It’s just a different kind of hard. Your sweet little spawn will dump their sensory bin full of rice, which Pinterest swore was essential to their cranial development or some shit, all over your goddamn living room. Then they will pee everywhere in your bathroom except your toilet. They will become larger and lose their goddamn shoes, refuse to perform basic hygiene, and whine, whine, whine. Then they will whine again.
Give yourself a present. Spend twenty minutes ignoring them while you scroll YouTube for cat videos. Drag them all to a thrift store, drop them in the toy section, and cruise for used jeans. Or shirts. But your present cannot be an essential item, so don’t buy something you need. Buy that wild-colored fur vest you may or may not ever wear in public. You want it so bad. You’d feel sort of guilty spending money on it.
Drop that $3.99.
Make your children warm up your coffee. Take your dog for a walk, alone. Take yourself for a walk, alone. Snag that lip gloss, stare mindlessly out your window for ten minutes, dump your laundry into baskets instead of folding it. You deserve a present. Give yourself one, every damn day. Life is short, and we spend so much of ourselves on other people, on the busy grind of going-going-going.
Watch a David Bowie video. Dress fancy. Get that blank journal you don’t need. Give yourself something. Give yourself something you’d look back on and think, I was grateful for that. I want to thank me for that. The world can be hard, and we can lose ourselves in its shuffle. Stop and remember, once a day. You are enough. You are present-worthy. You are deserving.
We’re All Deserving
We all deserve a goddamn present. Why? Click on a major news outlet. That’s why. Look at the mess your kids made. That’s why. Zen-like, contemplate your pile of laundry. Another reason why. We deserve a present as a shield against the slings and arrows of this outrageous world, from the douchebags who cut us off in traffic to the period we really didn’t need today.
It can be hard to love ourselves. Whole industries manipulate us into inadequacy for their own profit. We drown in guilt, manufactured or otherwise: I should have played with the kids more. I should have done another load of dishes. I should have cleaned out the car. We compare ourselves to others: But she does this. But she does that. But she manages to…
Fuck that. She feels just as guilty and inadequate as you do.
You both deserve a present. It doesn’t have to cost money. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of time. But it has to be something solely for you. Don’t plan it. Don’t look for it.
But every day, please, give yourself a present.