THE BLOG
08/11/2014 03:09 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2014

You Get What You Pay For and Other Life Lessons of Rarely Putting Yourself First

"Dang it! Every time," I said, not as angry as it might read, more resigned than anything.

"Are those new?" Sean asked nodding toward my newly-spattered-with-pasta-sauce pants.

"Yes," I sighed looking down at the cloud blue colored sweat pants. They have a light line down the side and go to just past my knees. "They were an add-on to the Gap order I made for the girls."

He rolled his eyes.

"What? Do you not like them? I wanted them to be something for the colder weather that would look kind of easy, but sexy," I said with a chagrined pout.

"Yes, I like them. They are everything you wanted, but you'll wash them once and they'll lose their shape. It happens every single time."

I blinked at him. "I just thought..."

He titled his head to the side and mimicked me, "Ah, I hate these pants. They're saggy and I look frumpy." Then he aped tugging at the side of my pants and motioning toward my butt.

I cracked up. "You're right, but where am I supposed to shop that won't do that?" I asked.

"I don't know, but I guarantee it's not as an afterthought to a shop for the girls. Lululemon? Nordstrom? Somewhere intended for a woman who wants to look a certain way and knows it, and she, are worth paying for quality?"

I pursed my lip, snorted, and playfully scoffed, "I hate it when you're right."

"What?" he needled. "What did you say?" I threw my head back, hopped across the kitchen and said, "It annoys me when you are so right."

"Look, the things is we've made decisions and we've worked hard. When you really want something it's ok to get it." I'm paraphrasing because he actually said a lot more about our values and the importance of affording ourselves time and priority in the greater scheme of our responsibilities and commitments. I don't want to make broad, sweeping statements about men and women and patterns, but I will with regard to our family.

I don't always say what I want and I rarely, if ever, act on something entirely for myself without great deliberation, shame, and resentment. Sometimes I let the resentment be toward Sean or life, when really it's about me. It's about saying yes to crap toys at the check out and about buying clothes or things for the house because they are on clearance, not because I know that we need them or that I will cherish them.

Every time I buy something that doesn't make our lives easier or make one of us experience a lasting sense of pleasure or contentment, I'm wasting and socking away fuel for future resentment. I am ready to end the cycle. I don't want the girls to develop a reflexive tendency to grab at things just to have things. Hollow is hollow, even if it comes cloaked in pretty shopping bags. I want us to learn to hear ourselves--do we need the hoodie or are we actually sad about something?

I don't know if I really need lounge pants. I want to smell the fall air, witness the day being swallowed earlier and earlier by the night while cuddling with my girls. I want to be sautéing shallots and flirting with Sean. Yes, cute pants would be nice, but the thing I was trying to buy was the promise of nights at home. I can't get that at Gap or Lululemon. It's a shame we don't get glittery emails from ourselves with subject lines about Flash Sales on Happiness or Limited Time Opportunities to Spend Quality Time Together. I understand that for me the only way I can build the life that I want is by making deliberate decisions about what I do, what I buy, and what I have the courage to say aloud.

I think my subject line for this new approach will be, Fall In Love With Your Life Again.

Sound ok?

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