It was a few short days away from my long anticipated weekend away with my girlfriends. We were going out East for the weekend and I was excited for many reasons. First, I was going away with one of my favorite groups of friends. Second, I hadn’t slept-in in, well, I can’t remember when the last time was over the past year. And last, I would temporarily be leaving my daily life and my family who I love so much and am eternally grateful to have, but “time outs” for any mother, especially for a whole weekend, is something of a rarity and one to celebrate.
In order to prepare for the weekend festivities of laying beach side, dining out, and night time cocktails, I did what I believed to be necessary: I got my hair and nails done which was long overdue. So much so, that the gift certificate I had for the nail salon had already been expired by six months. Disheveled and rushed as usual, I walked into a woman’s clothing boutique that I don’t often shop at, except for special occasions, and told them that I was going out East for the weekend. Like fairy godmothers, they scurried around the store helping me find suitable articles of clothing. I came home happy and walked into my house armed with shopping bags, “Pretty Woman” style.
My husband who was sitting on the couch looked up at me annoyed and rolled his eyes. He asked me who I was looking to impress and if I was looking to find another man while I was away. I’ve been married to my husband for 9 years, and together now for 15 years. I know his sarcasm and I also know that he is not the jealous type. He was likely more concerned about the amount of money and time that I spent in preparation for the weekend, rather than the possibility of me leaving him for someone else.
But I thought about the question. Who was I looking to impress? I am happily married, and I am not just writing this because my husband reads my blogs. The friends I was going with, I have known for more than half of my life. They have all lived with me at one point, whether it was in college or when we were living in the city; they have seen me look questionable many times over the years.
Most of us mothers and working women, myself included, do not lead fairytale lives or have the time to look glamorous on a daily basis. And for the few women that do, I don’t know how you do it. I am truly impressed. I have never been, nor will ever be, one of those people. The mornings in my house are total mayhem and pandemonium. Too many people need too many things and there is just no extra time to primp myself.
On my work-at-home days, I am the mother who rushes out of the house, last minute, racing my kids to the bus stop sometimes in a “get up” consisting of an aqua blue fleece robe and sweat pants. (On a side note, this happens to be one of the things that I swore I would never do.) On the days I that I go into the office, I am lucky if I am wearing matching socks, and I surely have someone’s breakfast on some part of my clothes. When I am out running errands in the evenings or on weekends, my hair is usually not blown out and pulled back in a bun. I am certainly not wearing make up of any kind. And I am totally cool with that. This is who I mostly am, at least at this point in my life.
But on the evenings when I go out or the times I am away, whether it be with my husband or with friends, there is something different and special about that. These are the times when I can leave the daily chaos of deadlines, laundry, cooking, and rushing to be at ten activities at once, and get to put on a different hat, or in this case, different clothes.
The few times when the stars align, and I am able to have my nails perfectly manicured, my hair smooth and my clothes new and shiny, I remind myself that when I try, I can still look and feel like my old self (with the exception of a few wrinkles and sags here and there).
So after a really fantastic weekend away of feeling young and chic again, and with memories that I will cherish for a very long time, I came home to the madness and the adorable faces that I missed so much.
Back in my sweats, I went back to mommyhood and all the chores that come along with it. Much later in the evening, I unpacked my weekend bag and folded away my fun clothes in my closet. I looked down and noticed that the nail polish had already chipped off some of my nails. Almost symbolically, the clock struck 12.
Maybe most of us can’t look glamorous and live the fairytale lifestyle every day, but on those few times that we can, it feels pretty damn nice to dress up and go to the ball.