As a stay-at-home mom of five, I have struggled with mommy guilt pretty much on a daily basis for 20 years. It is a constant fight to have anything that is solely mine. Even the coveted bathroom time is almost always interrupted. So what do I do? I hide chocolate candy (the good stuff) in my closet so I don’t have to share with anyone.
—Jona Kelly, Canton, Texas
Sleep! I can take better care of my family when I am well rested.
Crying every single time I hear “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Every single time.
—Catherine Decker, Amboy, Illinois
Going By My Own Last Name
Going by my own last name. My driver’s license has both, but I’ve always used my family’s name (the one I was born with). Before I even met my husband, it occurred to me that one day I might have a daughter and I would want her to know that she was fine just as herself. She didn’t need to take someone else’s name to be better. As it turns out, I have sons, and they need to know the same lesson.
—Brenda Harkins Challans, Hesston, Kansas
I’m unapologetic about my laugh. I never try to hide it, no matter which form it takes: giggle, guffaw, wheeze, or the silent, body-shaking tears-streaming-down-my-face laugh.
—Erin Dowdy, Atlanta, Georgia
Leaving Work On Time
Leaving work on time at least once a week to take my son to a parent-participation class. I’m a teacher, and it isn’t always easy.
Needing Alone Time
I’m completely unapologetic about needing alone time. As an introvert, this is how I get my energy restored. Not many people understand this—especially extroverts, who restore their energy by being with other people.
—Mary Westlie-Jones, Huntington Beach, California
Packing Too Much
Packing too much. I never forget anything.
—Danielle Equitz, Geyserville, California
My thighs. They are bigger than those of my friends and most people I know, but I am proud of them because they are strong and got me through eight years of playing water polo—four of which were at the collegiate level. They may be big, but they are my foundation!
—Corrin Wendell, St. Paul, Minnesota
Singing in the shower.
—Bonnie Sullivan, Erie, Pennsylvania
Not Having Kids
Not being married with kids. My life isn’t worthless because it doesn’t fit the traditional mold. I am a professional, own my own home, and don’t ask anyone for help. I think my life turned out just fine!
—Gina Skevofilax, Lake Grove, New York
Staying in. I’m 22, and people are always asking me to go out for drinks and dancing, which typically turns into a late night. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a quiet night in, and you’ll never catch me apologizing or regretting spending a little time on my own.
—Taylor Clyde, Oakland, Oregon
Not smiling when I don’t feel like it.
—Andrea Gardner Hudson, Riverside, California
Since college, I have been an unapologetic napper. A 20- to 30-minute nap in the afternoon energizes me for the rest of the day but isn’t long enough to keep me from sleeping at night.
—Valerie Van Kooten, Pella, Iowa
Being thrifty. I enjoy yard sales, secondhand stores, bargains, outlets, Craigslist, day-old bakeries, DIY projects, etc. I own properties with no mortgage and no debt, I’ve achieved financial stability, and I have a plan for the future. For that, I will never apologize.
—Deby Simpson, Fresno, California
Having a Lot
I own around 60 lipstick tubes and 300 shades of nail polish. Variety is the spice of life, right?
—Ceara Milligan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin