Yesterday, I got my hair cut. This is not a particularly remarkable statement for thousands of women, but for me? Yeah. See, what happened was I was looking in the mirror and thinking “Jeez, my hair looks terrible. I wonder why. I just had it cut…Oh my.” What I realized in that moment was that I hadn’t had a haircut since two weeks after my daughter was born. Six months ago.
As a stay at home parent, it’s very, very easy to find my life becoming all about my kids and their needs. The hours of my day pass and I spend them concerned with who needs to eat, who needs to sleep, who has pooped, and who needs to be in the car on the way to somewhere else. I put one mom foot in front of the other mom foot until it’s bedtime and then I collapse onto the couch, slack jawed and dazed. I try to take time in the evening to read or talk to my husband or contemplate the big questions of our era. Or else I zone out to bad tv and then go to bed by 9:30.
This is not to say my life is drudgery or that I don’t enjoy the shape of my days. Rather, it’s that I’m so immersed in the process of being with my kids — punctuated by snatches of intense scrambling to do my writing when the baby is napping — that I forget about the other things. The things that are only easy to schedule in when there’s another person at the ready to take over child-related duties. My personal time happens during preschool and after bedtime. It happens on the weekends if the weekends aren’t all about family time, which they often are. My time happens after other time and if I were to think about it, I’d understand that it’s not doing me any good.
The hour I spent in the stylist’s chair getting my hair trimmed and shaped felt luxurious because it was a period of time not spent in service to anyone but me. I was relieved of my duties for that short time and it was breathtakingly refreshing. No kids, no husband, no deadlines, no social media even. Just time for me.
Yesterday was a reminder that there is tremendous value in taking time to take care of myself. Even focusing on the most basic maintenance can be therapeutic, provided the focus isn’t split on the thirty other things that I’m often thinking about. A hair cut, a solo shopping trip to get new socks, heck, even an eye doctor appointment to get new contacts could do me a world of good as a break from my routine and a moment to take stock of myself. If I make one New Year’s resolution, that will be it. To give myself my undivided attention.
Photo credit: photo stock
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