Pink Lady or Pink Ashley

Let’s face it.  If you’re a mom, you’re busy.  It doesn’t matter what you do with your time: whether you work or stay home, volunteer or home school, cook up a storm or craft, not to mention driving the kids from activity to activity.  Being a mom is the definition of being busy.

That means you need a little pampering here and there.  But who has the time?  If you have a free moment, an extra load of laundry could get done.  You could finally repair the tear in Johnny’s soccer uniform.  Or you could even, you know, spend some time with your husband.

Plus, it’s so expensive.  $20 for a dinner out with the girls?  You could feed your entire family for two days – all three meals – on that.  For these reasons (and more), mom-pampering-time often gets overlooked.

But what if there were ways to pamper yourself that were truly simple? Ways that were very cheap or even free, which did not require large amounts of time or advance planning?  Would you do it then?

I’m betting yes.  And if your answer is, “Well, maybe…” then you need to think harder about this.  If you’re busy trying to be Super Mom, you need a break.  You deserve a break.  You’ll feel happier and saner and bring that positive energy back to your family.

So let’s get to the good stuff!  Here are ten ways to pamper yourself that are cheap and easy.

1.   Call a friend to catch up.

Is there someone you haven’t talked to in awhile?  Put the kids down for a nap (or “quiet time”) and give her a call.  Save it for the weekend if you have to and make your husband take the kids out to play for awhile.  Enjoy a nice, long chat that’s mostly about your friendship, not your kids. Feel happy because you’ve remembered old parts of yourself and gotten a verbal hug from a friend.

2.  Have a cup of tea (or coffee).

Photo by Kay Yuen

You might do this every morning, but do you really enjoy it?  Set out to enjoy it this time. Choose a nice-flavored beverage instead of the plain-old usual stuff.  Take it to a comfortable spot and just sip it and enjoy it.  It’s not about waking up, getting your caffeine fix, or simple hydration.  No, it’s about a quiet moment with a soothing, delicious drink.  Variation: wait till the kids are in bed and make it an “adult” beverage.

3.  Take a warm bath alone.

When was the last time you took any form of bath or shower alone?  I know if I take a shower when my kids are awake that at least one of them will undoubtedly join me.  This time, it’s just for you. Do it after the kids are in bed, or while your husband promises his very best to keep them occupied elsewhere.  Make the bath warm, add some bubbles or herbs to make it fancy, light a candle, turn on some music, bring a book.  Or just take a nap.  But enjoy your bath and remember: no kids allowed!

4.  Have tea and cookies with a friend.

Remember those days of long, uninterrupted face-to-face conversations over tea or coffee?  And how they’re so far gone now?  Well, find an afternoon where you can join your friend – at your place or hers, or at a local coffee house if you prefer – alone to talk and share a snack.  Catch up and enjoy the silence and ability to remember what you’re saying because you’re not worried that Johnny is going to climb on the nearby table to get that oh-so-interesting house plant.

5.  Wear a fancy outfit on a regular day.

A lot of moms get to the point where they just wear sweat pants and t-shirts all the time.  Make-up?  Who has time?  And fancy clothes seem impractical.  Maybe they are, but don’t you feel pretty and happy in them?  So choose a day when you’re not going to be making too much mess (read: the day you start the garden or finger painting during playgroup are not good days) to dress in a pretty outfit.  Do your hair, put on make up, wear earrings.  Who cares if you, your husband, and your children are the only ones who see you? You’ll feel happy and confident just knowing that you look good, and that you have beaten that silly stereotype about moms who “let themselves go.” At least for today.

6.  Buy a treat just for you at the grocery store.

Photo by Martin L

At the store, you probably spend a lot of time buying treats for your kids – or saying, “No, we are not buying that package of cookies!”  But when the kids aren’t looking, sneak a special treat into the cart, just for you.  It could be ice cream, or your favorite fancy cheese, or some lox for your Sunday bagels.  It doesn’t matter; choose whatever you like the best but never buy for yourself.  Then enjoy it before the kids get up or after they go to bed. I used to love doing this when my husband had guy’s nights and my kids were asleep!

7.  Watch your favorite show in peace.

This was my other favorite thing to do on my husband’s guy’s nights.  I get the remote to myself?  Get comfortable, grab your favorite snack, and settle in to watch whatever you love best, alone. And if it’s a love story, it might just make you sappy and sighing and excited about how much you love your husband and your children.  That can only be good, right?

8.  Read a good book (or magazine).

Who has time to read? But make the time. Take it in that bath with you, or just read during nap time or after your kids are in bed for the night.  Sit back and get lost in the fantasy world of a novel, or just someone else’s life (like in a magazine).  Make it a fun read, though — parenting tomes don’t count.  I read a chapter a night of my current favorite book and it helps me relax and sleep.

9.  Have an at-home date night.

Okay, this isn’t completely about you.  But most women complain they don’t spend enough time with their husbands, so this will totally fix that.  Fix the kids a simple, easy dinner (boxed mac’n’cheese, carrot sticks, and a banana – done) and put them to bed early.  Then cook a special dinner just for you two (or, if you’re not the cooking type, ask hubby to step up, or just call your favorite take out place).  Eat by candle light, enjoy your favorite movie, or just have a real conversation that isn’t about who is going to pick up the kids at soccer practice or do the grocery shopping.  Talk about your hopes and dreams!  Bonus?  You don’t have to pay a babysitter.

10.  Get a massage.

Okay, this one’s not free.  And maybe not even that cheap.  Of course, if you can talk your husband into giving you the massage — maybe at the end of the at-home date night?  But if not, maybe your husband will gift you a massage for Mother’s Day — or just a, “Hey honey, you work really hard and I love you” day. Either way, it will be soooooo relaxing and worth it.

11.  Bonus!

Buy yourself a pretty smelling candle and light it whenever you’re feeling stressed. The happy smell and cheerful flicker will lift your mood instantly.

Is pampering yourself doable?  Yes — you just have to make time for it. Ask your husband to put the kids to bed tonight, or take them out on a special Dad-and-kids afternoon and steal a bit of time for yourself.  And since most of these include frugal items which you probably already have at home, you don’t have to plan in advance.  How awesome is that?

What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself?