When the weather perks up and there’s a very real threat of having to put on summer clothing, I find myself considering the level of self-care I apply to myself. It’s not just having to get the old legs out. Sunshine seems to make us all want to feel happier – and then wonder why we’re not. Self-care for mums tends to come at the bottom of the list of chores, doesn’t it?
Now I’m not blaming anybody and this isn’t a ‘poor me’ post, rather a reminder to myself that I need to make more of an effort to make myself feel good – in ways that are healthy, nurturing and preferably inexpensive.
I do get the occasional lie-in, ended only by the husband’s appearance with a cuppa and a wry comment about me being still alive. I can’t complain about that but when I think about the grooming I used to do when I was a single working girl, I wonder where I found the time or energy.
I used to wear make-up every day. Foundation, powder, blusher, mascara, lippy, nail varnish – the works. Well, not in the league of the Kardashian Kontour technique but enough to look noticeably different from my just woken up self.
There have been studies which claim that women who wear make-up in the workplace earn more and are taken more seriously. (Here’s one). Working in a law firm, as I did for over 12 years makes you well aware of the importance of looking the part and fitting into the corporate environment. When you’re selling a product which can be as expensive as legal services are, looking less than groomed is simply not an option.
I used to wear heels. Now I run about in FitFlop boots in the winter and FitFlop sandals in the summer. If I do put heels on I worry about how far I will be able to walk before my toes are mangled and the soles of my feet are burning.
Underwear is functional (matching? Oh, don’t be silly). Earrings are non-existent. I wear my wedding rings and a watch but that’s usually about it.
Favourite garments? My blue fluffy dressing gown (which the Husband claims makes me look like a blue polar bear) and my black leggings which I appear unable to get out of.
When we have decent weather I will wear one of my selection of maxi dresses but that is generally for a very short period of time indeed.
Part of the problem, I think, is that it is difficult to know what a 50 something woman is supposed to look like.
There are several strong role models for 50 + glam (Helen Mirren springs immediately to mind, ditto Sharon Stone, Jane Seymour, even Lorraine) but I feel as if I’m starting from scratch.
This is not who I was and I’m not sure how it’s “who I have become”.
But it’s not as simple as slapping on a face pack and painting your toenails, is it? The most important aspect of self-care is keeping those negative thoughts in check, claiming your rights, making sure you’re heard.
It’s about saying “hey, I’m a mother, I’m a wife but I’m still the woman I always was. And she deserves respect”.
Recharging your batteries needn’t cost the earth either. Carving out some ‘me-time’ is the challenge – but one that will pay innumerable dividends for your physical and mental health.