Several kind souls gave me prezzies for Olive’s birthday, recognizing that it was also the anniversary of my becoming a mother. One friend gave me a book called The Art of Eating, another a package of yummy French macaroons, a third a check to have dinner with my husband with a promise to babysit that night. See a theme here? They know Mama likes to eat.
Today I gave myself a (surprisingly non-edible) gift by dropping Olive off with Brenda for the afternoon and going to get a pedicure. Sitting there in that massage chair, getting my toes lacquered pink and gold, reading Vogue magazine, I felt luxurious right on the very edge of guilt. Taking the time to do things that truly only benefit me, aka “self-care”, is a non-negotiable as a therapist and as a mother, but I still struggle with it.
I sat with a friend at a cafe and we talked about the dreaded family-finance-career balance, depressing ourselves with the models we could think of and also trying to find hope. I brought up one woman, a professor we both loved, who is also a mother a two. “Yeah, but she always looks awful,” my friend reminded me. This friend I speak of is not at all vain, and was not being catty. She literally meant that whatever this gal is doing can’t be working for her as great as it seems because she does indeed always look like she just got run over by a truck. I do not mean to imply that one must have EVERYthing — kids, career, and be sexy and glamorous 24/7. Sometimes I get really mad thinking about the age of MILFS – now we must also be hot?! With nursing boobs and baby gut, reeking of spit-up? Forget it. But then I look down at my toes, and it feels like a step in the right direction to take the time to add a touch of beauty to the chaos.