I Manage My Stress By Shopping -- Because Retail Therapy Works, Dammit

by Joanna McClanahan
Originally Published: 
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This post is dedicated to all the mommas out there who love to spend money. These women are my soul-sisters who realize that retail therapy is alive and well… and it’s fucking expensive.

Moms have it tough. We give everything of ourselves to our families, all day, every day. By 5 p.m., our cups are empty.

You know what fills my cup? TARGET.

I dream about solo trips to Target. Yes, I will treat myself to some Starbucks. Thanks, I think I’ll take the time to look at clothes now that I don’t have kids hanging from every limb.

I even have time to try things on. In a dressing room. By myself. (I mean, it would be ridiculous not to.) And yes, I will take my sweet time.

Sometimes self-care looks like a late-night Amazon spree. And sometimes that late-night Amazon spree is a result of the box of wine you bought at Target. It’s a vicious cycle, really.

It really is cyclical though: I buy to relieve stress, which makes expenses tighter, which causes more stress, and then I feel the need to spend more money to relieve stress. Repeat times infinity.

The common sense part of my brain knows I need to set a realistic budget and stick to it. I’m aware that I should spend less money and save more. But here are some of the reasons I’ll probably go shopping anyway:

  • I just got paid.
  • It’s raining.
  • It’s sunny.
  • I feel sad and need to cheer up.
  • I am happy and need to celebrate.
  • I had to weigh myself and feel traumatized.
  • It’s the weekend.
  • It’s a weekday.
  • We could all get nuked at any moment (see: our current political climate).
  • It was on sale.
  • It just makes me happy.
  • I’m buying for other people so it’s probably fine.

To me, that last one is the ultimate reasoning. I mean, occasionally I’ll buy things for me, but mostly I spend money on stuff that’s for the kids, or for family’s greater good. (I’m looking at you, Instant Pot.)

Me splurging on something for myself is basically just me buying Pantene conditioner instead of Suave. Or buying the $7 mascara instead of the questionable $2 brand.

It’s never like, “Oh, honey, pull the limo around, would you? I’m going to peruse the Louis Vuittons.” If anything, I’m lucky if I buy myself a new pair of yoga pants before my other pairs have multiple holes in them.

Before anyone gets worked up in the comments section, I make and spend my own money. And yes, I’m aware that this is a first-world problem. But I love spending money on my kids.

I mostly buy them clothes and shoes, so I can rest knowing that at least those things are taken care of. I get them toys when I can, even though the last thing we need is more crap in our house, because the smiles on their faces are worth it.

It’s being able to do kind things for them that really makes me happy, and that’s where my addiction to overspending really stems from.

Well, that and those few priceless hours of alone time outside of the house.

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