If you had asked me two months ago, “When was the last time you had a drink?”, my answer would have been 5 and a half years. I’d never cared too much for drinking alcohol; I rarely drank in excess. But during the past weekend, I let loose for the first time in a long time. And despite being a mother of 3, I didn’t feel guilty. I’ll tell you why.
Putting my children first
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For the past 5 years, I’ve been a dedicated and loving mother to my children. I put my career on hold to be at home, seldom bought anything so I could buy for them, and spent every day and night with my children. I never wanted to go out partying or to see my friends; I was happy enough having family time with my husband and kids.
I was so adamant about being a good role model for my children, that I even chose to stop drinking altogether.
But what I didn’t realise was, I was restricting myself more than I needed to. I’d been really hard on myself, believing that I had to cut myself off completely to be a ‘good mother’; that I wasn’t allowed to enjoy myself once in a while. That I had to be there for my children 24/7 and never do anything for myself.
Although my intentions were in the right place, they weren’t necessary.
It’s OK to be ‘bad’ sometimes
As human beings, we have a tendency to strive for ‘perfection’ as opposed to ‘moderation’. We believe if we want to lose weight, we have to stop eating bad foods altogether. We believe if we want to do well in our exams, we have to cut off all social contact.
But truth is, we actually don’t need to be that hard on ourselves.
It is okay for you to want to have a drink every now and again. It is okay for you to eat junk food sometimes. It is okay for you have some time out from your studies or from work.
Moderation is the key
But it’s about learning to set limits for yourself.
Don’t let alcohol, junk food, socialising, or partying rule your life; let it be a part of it.
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My good friend always asks me how I lost 25kg (55 pounds) in 3 and a half years; whether I eat any junk food. I laugh with her about it, because I actually eat it a few times a week. And she looks at me stunned, joking, “It’s not fair! How do you get to eat junk food and look like that?”
Well, it’s because I don’t restrict myself completely. I let myself have the ‘bad’ things, as well as the ‘good’ things. I incorporate both aspects into my life.
When a person cuts themselves off from all the ‘bad’ things, they don’t have the motivation to do the ‘good’ things.
- Why would you want to eat a healthy sandwich every single day, if you knew you could never eat a chocolate bar again?
- Why would you study hard for your exams, if you knew you couldn’t take a break?
- Why would you go to work every day, if you are overtired and overworked?
Strive for ‘moderation’ not ‘perfection’
All of us deserve a break once in a while; all of us deserve to live a little.
But it’s about knowing when we’ve had enough.
Whether you are a parent who doesn’t do much for themselves, someone who studies or works religiously, or a person who trains hard at the gym; give yourself the break that you deserve. Go out with your friends, have a few drinks, or eat a chocolate bar once in a while.
You don’t need to be perfect all the time to lead a happy life.
You just need to live it in moderation.
Thuy Le (formerly known as Thuy Yau) is a freelance writer and Youth Work graduate living in Perth, Australia. She loves to share her own personal experiences about overcoming adversity, as she believes that human beings are more capable than they realise. She writes to make a positive difference in the world and to inspire others to learn from themselves and their own experiences. Her writing has been discussed on radio, won writing contests, appeared on The Huffington Post UK and major Australian sites such as news.com.au, SMH, Kidspot and Essential Kids. She is currently writing her first book.