Does Taking Care of Kids Mean You Can’t Take Care of Yourself?

When I was in my 20’s, I took very good care of myself. I had a five step facial cleansing routine with an extra step for the weekends for “deep cleaning.” I got manicures and pedicures on a twice a month basis. I got regular massages. Well, regular enough that I had a favorite masseuse and knew when she’d be working at the spa. I woke up every morning and did my Billy Blanks Tai Bo work out before jumping in the shower. Even in the middle of winter, my legs were clean shaven and moisturized. I got my eyebrows waxed, my hair colored and trimmed, and made sure I took enough time away from my social calendar to have a relaxing bath on occasion.

Even at the time, I knew the anti-aging creams I spread across a forehead free of creases was unnecessary. Still, I liked to pamper myself. I liked to play with new hair styles, trying out cute braids or twisting my nearly waist length locks into elaborate up do’s. Whenever I wonder, for a moment, what I did with all the spare time I had before kids, I think back to those little rituals.

This year, one of my resolutions was to take time for myself. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to make this a resolution every year since my son was a baby. He’s nearly eight now.

Last night, I decided to take a long shower after I put the kids to bed. I turned my iPhone to mellow music and took my time (even shaving above the knee!). I got out of the shower and wrapped myself in a new towel. As I hummed along to the songs and got out my lotion, I heard cries for “Mommy” coming through the bathroom door. I sighed, and poked my head out to listen to two children who should have been long asleep.

“My thumb hurts.”

“My lip hurts.”

I sighed and tried to find the peaceful place I had occupied moments before. “I’ll come check on you in a couple minutes.”

I closed the door and put on my robe, still convinced I might be able to use the rejuvenating serum collecting dust next to the bathroom sink before they’d call for me again.

I was wrong.

“What is this time, guys?”

“My lip still hurts.”

“So does my thumb!”

I tightened the belt on my robe and walked into their room where I kissed lips and thumbs and sternly informed them they were supposed to be asleep. I left their room and decided to turn on the tea kettle to make myself a cup of herbal tea, one of the “magical blends” a local tea shop mixes each day. I thought happily of the peppermint, licorice root, and chamomile.


I sighed and walked back to the bedroom.

“What now?”

“I’m worried there’s going to be a war.”

I sighed and climbed up to the top bunk. I put the thoughts of tea and serums and music behind me. I snuggled next to my son, my towel covered head making a damp spot on the pillow. I rubbed his back until I heard his breathing soften and he fell asleep.

I’m still trying to make time for myself, but I think, perhaps, this resolutions will have to be done in bits and pieces rather than one lovely night.