It’s the Little Things

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings

Before Madelyn, simple pleasures were just that. Manis and pedis were scheduled without any regard to anyone’s schedule other than my own. A massage was definitely a treat, but never an inconvenience. Even going to get my hair done was nice, simply because it meant I didn’t have to take the time (because, ya know, I had, omg, NO time back when I was un-mommyfied) to blow out my curls myself.

I’ve managed to make “me” time since Madelyn came into my life, and I’ll admit I’ve probably had more “me” time than most other moms. I’m lucky to have two sets of amazing grandparents close by and a husband who runs a great Daddy Daycare should I need to schedule some fancies after he gets home from work. I am not “woe is me-ing” that I never get time to relax and focus on me because I get to, and I appreciate my support system every day.

Because it takes a little more work to make these luxuries happen, I savor them so! Recently, I’ve started an addiction to blow out salons for a quick, relaxing, and fairly cheap solution to the rat’s nest that is my hair. I have curly hair, but the curls have changed and don’t look as bouncy as they once did. And when I blow out my hair myself, I end up frying it and it doesn’t hold up past a day. There’s just nothing like a professional blow out and more importantly, it’s nice to enjoy a blow out that has nothing to do with an altercation between one of Madelyn’s diapers and a onesie.

Spa time and a good hair day. Happy mama.

Thirty-five dollars later, most women will probably agree that it’s a challenge and a goal to “keep” the salon hair as long as possible. I’m not saying I go all Nell-girl-of-the-forest and run around like a greasy banshee for weeks after a trip to the blow dry salon. But, I’m not washing my hair the next day. No, ma’am. Having naturally curly hair means I also don’t need/should not wash my hair on a daily basis and can go a handful of days without shampooing. That’s one plus to my hair type. So, you can imagine, after a good five-day run during which I superficially feel confident and a little prettier, it saddens me to get my hair wet, shampoo, and start from scratch.

This is why, then, that I savor my hair and don’t want anything to ruin it. If the skies were to open up, I’d probably do anything to avoid rain ruining my sleek and straight locks. This is also one of the reasons why I’ve hated exercising. I’m a beast when I work out, and sweat is a good hair day’s worst enemy. Oh, and I also don’t really like working out.

I’ve been reluctantly doing it since January. I gained 35 pounds with my pregnancy, which isn’t an extreme amount, but with my figure and height, I definitely looked a little, um, swollen. With a c-section, things kind of changed places, direction, and shape, and I was not happy about my non-existent future as a swimsuit model (because, ya know, I was bursting off covers of Maxim before I had a baby…). With a c-section in August and complications until November, I wasn’t ready to start taking control of my body until January. I started boot camp and paying close attention to my diet, so I began noticing a positive difference shortly after.

It takes a lot to get me to boot camp every morning. I go to a class that starts at 6:45 a.m. so that Bryan is still home while Madelyn sleeps. My alarm goes off three times between 6:00 and 6:30 and thankfully I only live six minutes away from the facility. With each buzz and bell of the alarm, I curse the Skinny Gods for making me get up so early, especially after long days with a toddler. But I do it. And I hate it. And on the days when my hair looks good, I hate it even more.

I’ve lost weight. Not as much as I’d like the scale to say and not even as much as I think I should have considering the way my clothes fit. But, I know I’ve also built muscle and I feel stronger and healthier, so that counts. I don’t pay too much attention to the number on the scale, but I feel better knowing it’s in the right direction.

Some mornings I skip class. I just can’t make it. Either I was up late the night before or I know I have an appointment at 9:00 and there’s not enough time to get cleaned up, conduct Madelyn’s morning routine, and get out of the house. Those days I don’t go, I love that I get to sleep in, but I don’t love the way I feel the rest of the day: sluggish, fat, and hungry. But, hey, at least I have great hair.

I give myself props for exercising at all and especially for going so early. I was never athletic and I never enjoyed working out. I still actually feel the same way, but I see that I have no choice if I want to be healthy for my baby and have some MILF-inspired confidence. So when I do make it to boot camp, which is usually four days a week, I pat myself on the back and make the most of my time and my abilities while I’m there.

So here’s the thing. I’ve been getting in trouble for being late and I am not putting up with being treated like a child. I am an adult woman, a mom, and I’m making a huge effort to be there considering the schedule I maintain with a toddler and, let’s face it, hair that does not tolerate sweat. Showing up at 6:50 instead of 6:45 is, in my opinion, better than nothing. How I choose to spend my boot camp time should be my choice. It is, after all, “me” time and even though I don’t like it nearly as much as I like my massages or blow out appointments, for a workout program, I like it enough (which isn’t saying much since I hate working out, but it’s the only exercise regimen I’ve ever followed longer than two weeks!).

Today I was late and completely lost it when the trainer gave me a hard time. If there’s one thing being a mom has taught me, it’s how to stand up for myself and my family. Even though Madelyn wasn’t with me, Mama Bear came out to party! No, I will not do 100 burpees for being late. No, I will not be scolded in front of the class for being late. I really actually like the trainer and after I get over my wake-up at the ungodly hour and the fact that I’m T-5 minutes away from looking like sweaty crap, I really actually have fun when I’m there. Sometimes, though, things happen! In a household such as mine with a toddler, chaos shows up at all times of the day. Madelyn being up late makes me tardy for boot camp the next morning. My contact lenses not going in my eyeballs that don’t want to open at 6:30 a.m. make me late for boot camp. My car keys that somehow fell out of my diaper bag and are nowhere to be found make arriving at boot camp on time impossible. But I solve my problems, and I get there.

This morning, my two friends, also moms, reassured me there’s no way the trainer can understand what being a mom is like and how much it takes to get up and go work out. I put so much on the line to create this less-than-pleasurable-but-necessary “me” time in the morning. Since I began boot camp in January, the trainer has become a friend, but like so many friends who are not mothers, it’s impossible to know a mother’s life without walking in her shoes. After the honest, heated exchange between the trainer and me where I told him I won’t be picked on because he can’t understand what I go through just to make it to boot camp at all, I was able to continue my workout with even more gusto and power thanks to the support from the other moms next to me. That’s the special bond that moms have. They get it.

I think it’s important that moms take time to see the value in all they do. We put pressure on ourselves; we feel like we’re being judged by others; we constantly run out of time because there are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done. And even though the same load of laundry gets rewashed sometimes, I am doing my best to keep myself in line. Those manicures I schedule, the blow outs I love so much, and those workouts I loathe with every jiggle of my belly where my baby used to live — they are making me a happier mom and person, and happiness should come first at any time of day.

THIS is what happy time looks like.

  1. 11/9/2012 11:18 PM

    Oh Alison. I always love everything you write, but I’m not sure I’ve ever empathized with anything as much as I do this! Instead of boot camp, I do stroller strides, but for someone who hates working out (!), getting sweaty (!!), and therefore setting the stage to take what would’ve otherwise been an unnecessary shower (!!!), I TOTALLY get it. Also, it’s an early morning class and I HATE being cold, especially if it involves moving my body in an organized fashion while freezing.

    I’m sooo glad you stood up for yourself to your instructor. I get they he has a job to do, but he has NO clue the prep that goes in (physical and mental) to be in that class every morning. I applaud you! Sisters are doing it for themselves!!!