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

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.

“Mama!”

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.