If you’re anything like me, you’re busy.
You change diapers, build science projects, forever fold laundry (the kind we have at our house where both the washer and the dryer have perpetual occupancy), memorize and maintain the schedules of everyone in your family, and yet still have a color-balanced, budget-conscious dinner on the table every night. Right?
And if you’re anything like me, you feel a little run-down sometimes.
Well, I have discovered seven things that are worth my time and money.
Seven things that make me feel beautiful and strong and empowered.
And if Mama’s happy, then everyone is happy.
1. Always shave. I have met people who only shave weekly or when there is suspected romance on the horizon, but I am a firm believer in the power of the smooth leg. Imagine a woman that you believe represents self-confidence… I’m thinking of Adele. I just don’t think that she took the stage at Royal Albert Hall in London with hairy legs! Let’s be real. It will make you feel sophisticated and beautiful, and who dares to say that you don’t deserve that feeling every day, my friend? Not this girl! I promise it will only add four minutes to your shower time, but volumes to your confidence.
2. Smell good. There are many options here. If you have another couple of minutes to spare in the shower, exfoliate! I personally prefer lotions since they hydrate my dry skin and leave a subtle fragrance behind. My daughter keeps a variety of spritzes and sprays in her bathroom, purse and locker, and she always smells like a garden in the spring! Whatever your preference, take the time to smell better than just clean. Whenever Bath & Body Works has a big sale, I buy three delicious and totally opposite creams (right now I am using Brown Sugar & Vanilla, Moonlit Path and Japanese Cherry Blossom) and every day I pick which scent fits my mood. It’s a pleasant surprise to catch a fresh scent throughout the day, and by switching lotions daily, I always notice them and it makes me feel perfectly lovely.
3. Be a fancy-pants. And by that, I mean: Invest every so often in girly panties. I don’t have time every day to dress to the nines, and I don’t even own any fancy name brands, but it’s amazing what a new pair of underlings can do for your entire outfit! It’s similar to the pink corduroy lining inside my favorite pair of jeans or the fabulous paisley fabric that lines my purse –nobody else ever sees it, but it makes me happy to know it’s there, and that’s what counts. So go out and find your own pink, lacy secret!
4. Keep your toenails painted. I know that fingernail polish has a short lifespan in the world of a busy mother, but toenails done right (base coat, two color coats, top coat) can stay put for a couple of weeks. And summer or winter, rain or shine, I always have a fun color on my toes! I only sit down to take the polish off when I know that I have the time to put another color on. And don’t tell me that you don’t have time! If you can learn to slap polish on quickly, then all you really need is the dry time, and with cuffed pants and flip flops, you can dry your toes while blow-drying your hair, checking your emails, washing dishes, flipping the burgers or reading bedtime stories. It really doesn’t require much, but it always makes me feel a little more in control of my crazy life.
5. Wear makeup. Whether it’s concealer, mascara or lip gloss, figure out what your makeup “quick fix” is and keep that secret weapon in your holster! I always apply moisturizer, foundation, and lip gloss right out of the shower, because once I come out of the bathroom, the day has a way of getting away from me. I have found myself walking into the school office to deliver a forgotten lunch with mismatched clothes, zero makeup and “night-before” hair, which means I had it in some sort of fancy updo the night before, but twenty-three bobby pins and one night’s sleep later, things got a little out of control. So now I plan ahead. And I keep a couple of bobby pins in the car, just in case.
6. Accessorize. Right now, we are in a trending season of fashion detail, so accessories are everywhere and can be bought on the cheap or easily hand-crafted: bangle bracelets, dangly earrings, chunky scarves, funky rings, vintage-y necklaces, kitschy headbands, tweed hats, knitted leg warmers, opaque tights, medallion pins, textural belts. Layer it. Match it. Mismatch it. Wear a scarf as a belt, a hairclip as a sweater pin or a tie as a headband. Pretty much anything goes, and a little bit goes a long way. You can’t go wrong, so dive in!
7. Dance to the beat of your own drum. Both figuratively and literally actually, find the music that makes your heart feel happy and then make time every day to hear it. Whether you blast the radio on the way to work or hook your iPod up to mobile speakers in your bedroom, open the creative doors within your mental space that are only accessed through music. I listen to music during my morning routine and also in the quiet of the evening, and just like every day has its own smell, I have Alison Krauss days and Brad Paisley days, Glee soundtrack days and instrumental-only days. Find your theme music and incorporate it into the life you are already rocking.
These are just seven (moderately inexpensive and efficient)things that you can do (read: should do) to pamper yourself for being amazing (and brave and patient and diligent and…you).
What are you waiting for? You could be on your second coat of toenail polish by now!