Motherhood often feels like a 24-hour gig in which
you're lucky to have time to wash your hair, much less treat yourself to
something nice. You don't have to wait for the one Hallmark day of the year to practice self-care on the sly; you can slot in rewards to your
day in small increments, which add up to feeling treated and nurtured. Here
are 10 ways to treat yourself when nobody's looking. You'll want to steal every slice of time for yourself that you can.
While this may not sound like the
combo you had in mind for your evening, when you pair something you enjoy with
a task that can be tedious, you can take some of the chore out of the effort. Set
your glass of vino on the edge of the sink (it could also simply be your
favorite non-alcoholic beverage), and take sips between scrubbing.
2. Sweet pocket
Sometimes a little treat ... can go a long way.
Several moms I know keep little
bags of their favorite sweet treat—jelly beans, chocolate-covered espresso
beans, etc.—in their pocket or purse for quick pleasure. Since sugar stimulates
endorphins, sometimes a little treat during your toddler's tantrum or teenager's
moody fit can give you a moment's relief that can go a long way.
3. Audiobook getaway
I used to hate going to the
grocery store until I downloaded the Audible app on my phone. Now, I pop in my
earbuds when shopping, and if I can leave my son at home with my husband, it's
actually like a little getaway with the lovely voice of an actor reading me
words. It also makes me feel less guilty for having no time to read. The audio
books come in handy for so many occasions: when it's taking a long time to put
my son to sleep, when I'm chauffeuring kids around to activities, waiting in
line at the post office or trying to tune out an annoying coworker.
4. Play footsie
As a mom, your feet work overtime,
but how often do you take time to treat them? When your kids take a bath,
either pull up a stool and dip your own weary tootsies into the bubbles, or
fill a bucket and soak beside them while your kiddos play. Put on some nice
music, get some swanky smelly bath salts. Don't know what it is about essential
oils plus salt that makes me feel like I've spent a ton of money on myself, but
it works. This way, you can stay in the room while doing something nice for your body.
5. Instant spa
The other day while waiting with a
fellow mom at our sons' taekwondo class, she pulled out some delicious lavender
hand lotion. I'm a sucker for the scent and asked if I could use some. In the
two minutes I spent rubbing the stuff on my startlingly dry hands, I felt a
little air of rejuvenation come over me. I thought: Add in a hot towel and this
would feel like a few minutes at the spa. You can keep a tube of lotion, or
some of that fancy French facial mist in your purse or car for an anytime
6. The long walk
I can literally stop and smell the roses.
If you have a mailbox at the end
of your driveway, a newspaper delivery or need to put out the garbage, extend
your time. Stand and sniff the air. My next door neighbor grows amazing roses
so I can literally stop and smell the roses. Sometimes I'll call out, "Putting
out the garbage and then I'm taking a walk around the block" right as I'm
running out the door so no one can stop me.
7. Screen time
Face it—we now carry in our pockets
and purses computers so intelligent they used to require entire rooms to house
back in the '80s. I binged every episode of "Breaking Bad" using the Netflix app
on my phone in the 20-minute windows every day waiting for my son to get out of
school. No excuse not to indulge in your favorite show, magazine or game of "Words With Friends."
8. Naughty pleasures
Several moms I know have a "naughty
pleasure"—indulging in something they wouldn't let their children have, such as
sodas or doughnuts for breakfast. One mom treats herself right after she drops
her kids at school, another right after her kids get home and are ensconced in
their homework. I always let myself have a latte on Fridays between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. when my son is in his art class—it's late for coffee, but at only one day a week and when I don't have to wake up early the next day, it feels
9. Reclaim the bathroom
Whether at work or at
home, the bathroom is a mighty place of power-mom time if you remember to lock
the door. While little hands may pound on the door or coworkers may wonder
what's taking you so long, the fact is, nobody can argue with the call of
nature, and nobody has to know that you've really snuck in to enjoy a few pages
of People magazine, a square of salted caramel chocolate or simply three extra
minutes to breathe quietly without people hassling you.
10. Steal time
Many moms I know, already used to
being a little sleep-deprived, rise just an hour or so earlier than their
children to capture that particular deep silence of the early morning. I use
that hour to prepare myself a cup of coffee and write in my journal without
anyone asking me a hundred rapid-fire questions or needing me to urge him to
pick up the pace. Sometimes, there is no better treat than time to oneself.
I'm sure you can think of dozens of others
small ways to treat yourself in a day. Buy yourself flowers, save yourself a
special cut of meat for dinner and many more. Since motherhood rarely comes
with a paycheck, these small rewards can add up.