The term guilty pleasure should be banned from our vocabulary. As a working mother with three kids, I take pride in my indulgence in a number of so-called guilty pleasures that can bring me an hour, or even just five minutes, of calm.
Mornings in our house resemble the twister scene from “Wizard of Oz.” With any luck, all three kids are dressed (perhaps not matching), fed and out the door to school and daycare by 7:28 a.m. As soon as that happens, I breathe a sigh of relief and make an immediate beeline to the nearest Starbucks.
They know me by name, and often have my venti non-fat latte waiting for me. It costs me $4.52 every single day. That adds up to more than 30 bucks a week, and nearly $1,650 a year. On coffee.
I realize how insane this is, especially when there are months we’re fighting to make ends meet. I tried once to ditch the habit. Three days later, I found myself right back in line ready for my fix. I suppose I could buy a coffee pot or espresso machine – but that is one more thing for me to remember to do, and even worse, another thing for me to clean.
Girls’ night out
It’s circled on my calendar in red and highlighted with exclamation points – girls night. Usually on a Thursday, I feed the kids fast food and race out the door like my house is on fire to meet up for drinks, a movie or dinner with some of my friends. Yes, it means my husband has to wrangle all three kids to bed by himself. And yes, we usually spend our night talking about our kids and our spouses. But I still cherish these nights, look forward to them all week long, and can’t wait to plan for the next one.
Girls’ weekend away
Even better than girls’ night is a whole weekend dedicated to a trip with friends and NO KIDS. I have one coming up in a few weeks, and I can’t contain my excitement.
Sleeping in? Check. Room service? Check. Three days and two nights with no responsibilities, no diapers to change, no bottles to make, and no birthday parties? Check, check and check.
The UPS delivery man is a regular at my house – so much so that my husband once offered him $100 to never drop off another package.
I don’t have time to drive to the mall and browse the aisles. Nor do I care to try on clothes in a fitting room with mirrors surrounding me. Instead, I order everything online and use the privacy of my own home as my dressing room.
I may or may not be guilty of ordering multiple sizes of the same item because I’m not quite sure how it will fit. And I may or may not return more things than I can count because they don’t work out. But with free shipping, the luxury of never having to leave my house to find the perfect outfit is worth it all.
I am not a runner. In fact, I hate running. But, I do it because it’s a good workout and it offers me anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of peace.
I recently ran my first half -marathon (it was excruciating), and training for it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But even as I was dreading the pain of those long weekend runs, I relished the time. I was able to clear my head, listen to my music and be alone.
I love TV, and reality TV is my absolute favorite. The cheesier the better. If anything from “Real Housewives” to “Ladies of London” to “The Bachelor” is on, I’m watching.
And thank God for DVR. Once the kids are in bed (usually by 8:30), I sprint for the bedroom and cozy up to an hour or two of mindless television. I get invested in the characters and follow them on social media.
Secret dessert stash hidden in my nightstand
I love candy. The problem is, so do my kids. If I buy any sort of treat for myself, my kids instantly spot it, claim it as their own, and even get angry with me if I eat any.
To solve this problem, I have a secret stash of treats hidden in my nightstand drawer. There is nothing better than sitting in bed, watching my reality TV show, and opening up my very own, never been touched by sticky, dirty kid fingers, bag of Starbust minis.
Daycare drop-off … on my days off
Yep, I said it. And yes, I do it. Every once in awhile, the stars align and I have a day off of work when the kids’ daycare is open. I used to feel bad about dropping my kids off while I got a pedicure, had a long lunch with a friend, or just stayed at home eating my secret stash of candy watching TV. But I’ve quickly gotten over it. It’s heaven.
An entire day with no conference calls AND no kids at home? Sign me up.
Fast-food dinners when hubs is away
I try hard to have my kids eat healthy 90 percent of the time. I sometimes even cook. But when my husband is away on business, all bets are off.
Dinner for them consists of whatever drive-through is nearest, and dinner for me is usually a bag of microwave popcorn. The kids love the special treat, and I have no dishes to clean up.
Room service while on work travel
Nothing beats eating a club sandwich delivered to your door on a silver cart. Even in a mediocre hotel, they decorate your tray with white linens, those cute tiny salt and pepper shakers, and a single rose. I dine alone, without anyone saying a word, wearing the provided plush robe, sitting in a comfy bed that I don’t have to make the next morning. I travel about once a month for work, and ordering room service for dinner is by far one of my favorite things about it.
Kristen Hellmer is a Scottsdale mother of three, a wife, and a full-time public relations professional, not necessarily in that order.