It used to be one of my favorite things about Christmas. Every year, I would sit down with a pencil and paper and make my list. When I was three years old, I asked my grandparents for “an alligator with leg irons.” No one knew what I meant (myself included), so they got me a toy alligator accordion. Close enough, I guess?

One year I asked for a Dream Dancer doll—a mechanical ballerina doll that twirled and spun on a platform that looked like a shimmering stage. (Shout-out to any other ’80s babies out there—if you know, you know.) When I got older, I asked for sketchbooks and colored pencils, books by my favorite authors, or the clothes I had been pining for at Nordstrom’s. It wasn’t hard to come up with things I wanted—and I had the great privilege of having two sets of grandparents who were happy to buy me things like art supplies, books, and new clothes.

Somewhere along the line, though, all that changed. Sure, I would sometimes drop a hint to my mom or my sister about something I could really use (thanks for the warm gloves and the Zappos gift card!). But once I became a mom, the locus of Christmas became solidly fixed on our only child, the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family.

The only list now was hers—what did she want for Christmas? It was almost as fun, really, to add items to this new list: toys she would like to play with, cute new PJs, a nice winter coat, or a sled. And it was easy, if someone asked, to say, “Oh, I don’t need anything this year” and look forward to unwrapping a new bathrobe or whatever, while the rest of the family enjoyed their gifts.

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Putting my kid first was one of the ways I was initiated into being a mom. In much the same way that I often convinced myself that, no, I didn’t really need to pee while I was nursing my daughter or waiting for her to finally fall asleep, I had convinced myself that I really didn’t need… well, anything. That last piece of bread? Go ahead and have it. Are you cold? You can wear my coat; I’ll be fine. It became automatic, until after a while, it got hard to know where my needs ended and hers began—or if I even had any needs left.

But you know what? My daughter doesn’t need any new LEGOs; she wants them. And maybe, just maybe, there are things that I want, too. So this year, I’m breaking the tradition of being the mom who says that all she wants is “just a nice Christmas with my family.” I mean, yes, I absolutely do want that. But you know what else I want? A new pair of joggers. Nice ones. Ones I can actually wear in public and look kind of cute in, that aren’t stained or stretched out or secondhand.

And you know what else? I want a cute hanging planter for my sad houseplant that’s been living less than its best life in an old Mason jar behind the kitchen sink. I want to put my cute little houseplant in a cute little planter and I want to hang it in my home office so that everyone can see it in my Zoom background, because while my room will never rate anywhere close to a 10 out of 10, I am not above striving to do better.

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And while we’re at it, I would absolutely love some AirPods. Why do I need AirPods when I have perfectly good corded headphones and literally never leave my desk? Guess what, I don’t need them. I just want them. Other people have them, and they come in a cute little case, and yes, I will almost certainly lose them and/or put them through the laundry, but you know what? I still want them.

It feels a bit daring, a bit risky, a bit selfish to even express these wants to myself—to just have desires that are only for me. It was even scarier to say them out loud to my family. But it also felt kind of amazing. And I’m not mad that my daughter will grow up knowing that moms have wants, and needs, and aren’t afraid to express them. Well, maybe a little bit afraid—but at least I’m trying.

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