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When your guilty pleasures aren’t all that guilty…

By Shelah Miner

I was talking the other day with a group of girlfriends, all moms of school-age children, and one of them asked us each to name the guilty pleasure we wanted most at that moment. A few mentioned pedicures and massages, a chance to read a book uninterrupted, nights away at a hotel by themselves, or trips with their husbands. I guiltily copped to wishing I could send my kids back to school a few weeks early, and a few others mentioned things like hot fudge sundaes or diet cokes drunk in peace and quiet.

After everyone had said her piece, I started laughing. I was thinking about what the answers might be if a similarly-aged group of guys had been asked the question. Would they want to watch a baseball game by themselves, or would they want some action? While none of the women had mentioned sex, my guess is that it would be big on the minds of our husbands. I’m still at the phase of parenthood (especially in the summer when more kids are home) when someone always wants a piece of me. At night, until I’ve had some time to decompress, it’s often hard for me to switch from someone who doesn’t want to be touched in any way to someone who wants to be touched in that way.

So how about you? What would you name as your guilty pleasure? Is it hard for you to transition from being “the mom” or “the boss” to being a woman who welcomes physical affection? What helps you make that transition?

About Shelah Miner

(Co-Editor-in-Chief) teaches English at BYU and French at a Salt Lake City middle school. She has an addiction to her Audible account, hates making dinner, and embraces the chaos of life with a husband, six kids, a dog, a lizard and four rabbits.

20 thoughts on “When your guilty pleasures aren’t all that guilty…”

  1. I thought sex would be included during the "trip with husband" choice?

    Seriously, when we had school-aged children, we had time set apart on Sunday night and Thursday during lunch.

    So I wouldn't include that in a list of what I wanted now, because I already knew it was guaranteed in a few days.

    I know a lot of folks would find it boring that it was so scheduled, but for us it helped a lot that I knew when it was, and could count on it and perhaps be planning it.

  2. Good, fun adult conversation. If I can get mature (as in with my husband, even if it's silly) interaction on a verbal level, it allows my brain to switch off the mommy function. Temple night also works.

    My guilty pleasure is when I leave my husband with the kid, not during naptime!, and just go somewhere. Anywhere. Doing just about anything. For an hour.

  3. I am definitely not one for planning it, somehow it feels pressured, like a school assignment or something. I also have felt that if one more human being lays their hands on me they will be punched. It was the worst while nursing babies.

    My guilty pleasure would be a girlfriend weekend or what is substituting for it this year – girls camp. I really do like it! Reading fiction is a guilty pleasure that comes more often though. Another is a nap, oh, the pleasure of a good nap with no interruptions!

  4. Guilty pleasures:

    Afternoon naps when the little kids are sleeping.

    Reading blogs on the computer when they are awake instead of playing with them.

    Eating three slices of rich chocolate cake.

    Truly Something to Feel Guilty about Pleasure:

    Loosing my temper and telling someone off–especially DH.

    Complaining about my in-laws to people outside the family, and who, therefore, will always take my side.

    Sex? Not so much. I am more likely to feel guilty for NOT wanting to have sex at the end of the day..

  5. Listening to music really loud is a guilty pleasure I miss. Music that is not necessarily appropriate for little ears. It seems like I do more censoring than I want to these days (maybe I need to work on my playlist).

    Making that "transition" is easier for me when my kids have a firm and early bedtime = plenty of time for me to shift gears 🙂

  6. My guilty pleasures are taking time for myself and getting a massage and also taking time out for myself and NOT having any kid responsibilities. No bedtimes, mediating, or anything. Having time to try and be creative, listen to music, watching a movie — all by myself — are all my guilty pleasures.

    The only way for me to really make the transition between mom and "wife" is to have some one-on-one time with my husband, but frankly, that NEVER happens! Not much fun.

  7. Karaoke. My wife and I are regulars at a local joint. We tuck the little ones into bed and then sneak out to croon the night away– alarm clocks be damned.

  8. I'd just like to call in sick and sleep all day. Can't do it, but really, really want to.

    (And re: not wanting to be touched: Single people can go weeks, if not months, without being touched by another living being. I'd take being pulled in all directions by little kids if it meant I might get a hug now and then.)

  9. Guilty pleasures:

    shopping for myself

    a girly day at a craft show

    buying nice food and eating it while everyone is out

    a weekend away with my husband

    going to the theatre.

    I actually find it harder to fit in sex now the children are older because they are still awake when we go to bed, and I am very aware of that. Trying to be quiet isn't much fun.

  10. My guiltiest pleasure for the past 9+ years is working a trip (I'm a flight attendant) that has a nice layover in some fun city, instead of just working working working and getting all my hours in as fast as possible so I can get back home to my kids and husband, and whatever lineup of generous friends are covering for me in my absence.

    Because if I am having a layover somewhere, then back home someone's dealing with the homework or hormones or carpool, or mealtimes that are my responsibility. Actually, feel guilty for being gone AT ALL for work, even if it's all just strictly work…but not quite as bad as if I'm enjoying myself.

    As for the physical affection question, we are in the sweet spot that I didnt' even realize existed till we got here. Our kids (10 and 13 years old) aren't babies, but we're not dealing with dating and such yet either. It's pretty easy right now.

    So unlike most of my friends, who have little people pulling them in different directions all day long, I am pretty free these days. Hang in there young moms! Those days are fleeting and to be honest, I miss them. But I'm in a more mature place with my marriage than we have been for years. Life is beautiful. ♥

  11. A bubble bath. Oh, I miss bubble baths. But unless my kid is asleep or isn't home, it's just not going to happen. Even if her daddy is home and is supposed to be keeping her from bothering me in the tub, she's still in there every few minutes, or tries to climb in with me.

  12. My guilty pleasure? Spending money on a book for me. Just me. Not school supplies or auto parts.

    Intimate time? Fluctuates back and forth. Most of the time we are just too tired. Sometimes he's got all the energy, sometimes I do. We do our best to accomodate each other and somehow it works out over the long run.

  13. for mother's day my husband bought me a package of six massages. i have used three. i must feel guilty because last week when i went to redeem a coupon i said, "i'm off to run errands." but oh how i love getting a massage.

    i am quite sure i feel guilty when i eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's. although it happens maybe four times a year.

    i also feel a little guilt when i see who is calling and don't pick up the phone. a pleasure? yea, kind of.

    other than those three things i can't think of anything else that i do that feels like a guilty pleasure. life is sweet here.

  14. I don't know if it's coincidental or not, but my youngest is starting kindergarten this year and I have recently discovered a second wind when it comes to sex.
    I totally relate to the comments of having people need you all day and just not wanting to be needed after the kids are finally down.
    My kids still demand much of me, but I will have time alone now for the first time in thirteen years. Yeah, that might have something to do with it, now that I think about it.

    As far as my guilty pleasure, I love to stay up half the night, while everyone else is asleep, and either read or watch a movie. I don't feel guilty for long, though, because I pay for it when the alarm goes off.

  15. So it sounds like most of those that commented on the struggle of making the "transition" need a means of relaxing from (and perhaps a bit of forgetting of) being "needed" — some interval of time after child responsibilities are fulfilled. It also sounds like one way of achieving this can be by getting some chat-time with her husband.

    Might I be so bold to ask (whether it be in this thread or perhaps another post to address it) what other thins are particularly helpful to achieve this transition? It doesn't take a husband long to learn that there is no one single switch for a wife. While every woman is different, I'd love to learn more ways that could help my wife wind down from Mommy mode… even if it doesn't mean sex.

  16. My guilty pleasure – getting a sitter for the kids and going shopping all by myself at someplace that is not Walmart or the grocery.

    As for winding down from Mommy mode…. ugh. This has been so hard for me, though it's definitely been better since I weaned the youngest. Stuff that's been helpful:
    -Husband time is on my mind all day. Sometimes this works if I'm actively trying to think about it, but if he sweet talks me during the day with text messages or instant messages, that helps a lot.
    -Husband comes home and actively helps – or takes over entirely – with the kids. Yeah, I know he's had a long stressful day, but hey, I have 3 under 6! My day's been long and stressful too, if not more so.
    -Interaction. Whether we're just sitting and talking or playing card games, he needs to remind me that he likes me as a person and not just someone to get it on with after a night of playing Starcraft. :p
    -Being sensitive to my body/needs. I know it's frustrating to plan some romantic night and have me tell my husband to buzz off because I was dumb and had a bean burrito for lunch. And I know that sex can help him relax and de-stress after a hard day, but sometimes all I really want are cuddles. Knowing that he understands and respects my physical and emotional state makes it a LOT easier to see our time together as something to look forward to and enjoy instead of, "oh no, here comes someone else who wants a piece of me".

    (Yeah, I know I'm like a week late. Whatever, I was on vacation and only just saw this. :p)


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