How I Finally Started Spending More Time On Myself After Having Kids

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Before I became a mom, I solemnly swore I’d never let self-care fall by the wayside. Ha. Hahaha. If only you could see me shaking my head right now. I have since learned that there is no preparing for those early days of motherhood, where you’re full of love but running on empty and, in my case, hanging on by a thread some days.

Getting my hair highlighted or a fresh wax became a sweet, sweet dream from another lifetime. To add insult to injury, I’d pretty much given up on shaving anything but my armpits regularly with a 10-lb. baby in my belly, since I couldn’t even see my toes (let alone anything else).

I don’t think I realized how au naturel I’d become, literally from head to toe, until I attended a childhood friend’s wedding just a few weeks after delivering my second son. And that was two years after my first baby arrived, so my self-care regime had been rough at best for that long. The only thing I kept up with was my go-to overnight face mask, which gave this delicious rested illusion I needed on the rare occasions where I did leave the house.

I wore a floor-length maxi dress that made me feel relatively confident for someone who was still healing from her second C-section and adjusting to her postpartum body (again). I upped my skin care and used a hydrogel mask to brighten and smooth my complexion, slapped a clear coat on my nails, and even added a little curl to my hair — which I wore down for the first time in ages.

I realized going through the motions that getting myself ready — not for my husband, colleagues, family, or general public — made me feel more like myself than I had in months. Years, even. I had dreaded it so much that the very thought of it exhausted me. But there I was, enjoying myself.

I had grown so used to tending to my littles that I never felt I had the time or energy to invest much in me. I had forgotten that doing those things — the hair, the nails, the makeup, the waxing — were part of a ritual I’d started years before, for proms, girls' nights, dates, and everything in between.

And they weren’t necessarily something I did to pamper myself or keep up with appearances. They were things I did just for me, to take time away from the world and help make me feel like the best, most confident version of myself.

Fast forward a few more months to a mini-getaway I had planned and my first time spending a few nights away from both of my children. I promptly made a reservation at European Wax Center for the works — and I do mean the works — because come hell or high water, I wasn’t about to be confined to floor-length dresses for the rest of my life.

And beyond that, I was determined to be smooth and bathing-suit-ready, because I wasn’t about to sit on the sidelines in a beach cover and call it a day. Why should I have to miss out?

Because EWC has about a zillion locations and quick, clean, friendly service, I was in and out in enough time to have my nails done — and with the added insurance of an ingrown-hair-proof wax, thanks to some travel-friendly Smooth Me Ingrown Hair Wipes. Feeling like I’d invested in myself made me all the more ready to keep it up moving forward.

It’s been seven years since I had my first son and nearly five since my second. I still think about that “a-ha” moment I had years ago, realizing that self-care isn’t selfish.

Now, even a global pandemic can’t stop me from finding salons and centers that are respecting social guidelines, upping their safety measures, and helping me feel more like myself. Whatever helps you feel like your best, most supported self and the “you” that you were before you were a mom — I vote we all do more of that.

Photos courtesy of writer.

This post is sponsored by European Wax Center.