I’ve been a Birchbox subscriber for about a year now. It’s been a lot of fun seeing what surprises come in the mail each month. I have never been into makeup, lotions, or hair care products, so I was really surprised when I found myself enjoying most of the deluxe samples that show up in the mail. I think it’s been fun to not only try new products, but to get instruction on how to use them though their website and Facebook pages (they do Instagram too, but I don’t… too much for me to handle!). When I get a product I know I won’t use or have too much of, it brings me happiness to pass them on to people whom I think might like them.
I wrote about the excitement of subscription boxes back in December. And Dunn and Norton write specifically about the happiness of Birchbox in particular in this book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.
But one unexpected delight I’ve received is a self-pampering bath-time routine for me. I say “for me” because this is during my 3-year-old son’s bath-time which has never been my favorite task. When he was an infant up until he was about 18 months old, I was downright scared of giving him a bath. I was pretty sure he’d be slippery and squirmy and that those things would result in death. I had all sorts of postpartum apocalyptic-style-thinking going on when he first needed a bath, and to complicate the matter, my left wrist and arm have had some major tendon repair done which leaves me uneasy of holding much of anything (including a gallon of milk or a dog leash) with my left hand… LET ALONE A HELPLESS TINY BABY I PRODUCED AND AM RESPONSIBLE FOR! Thus, my husband had the lone job of bathing our son for quite some time, for which I remain grateful.
At some point, my son turned from a helpless, squirming, ready-to-drown-if-I-blink infant into a hearty, strong, independent twaddler (is that what they are when they act like a teen but are a toddler?). At that point, my bath-time fear level declined and my bathing duties increased, but I also realized that I was a bit bored too. I know, I know. I should probably love watching him play in the suds, talking in cute little voices of pretend squirty fish conversations, drawing on the walls with washable crayons… but although I do think it’s beyond cute watching him do these things, and it makes me so happy when he’s having fun, there’s something about this task that leaves me feeling like I’m just waiting for it to be done and thus rushing him to pull the plug on the drain so we can have REAL fun reading stories before bed.
I’ve never been good at playing make believe with action figures, cars, Barbies, or dolls. When I was little my sister could play Barbies and She-Ra Princess of Power for hours until her eyes bled and I wanted nothing to do with it. I just get bored. I was outside finding toads and turtles and snakes. I was making potions out of olive oil, vinegar, glitter and salt. I was putting on plays with the neighbors. I was riding my bike around the block. I was talking to my imaginary friend, Casper. I was singing along with my Annie Soundtrack and Michael Jackson Thriller records. I just couldn’t find the fun in holding a figurine and making it talk to another figurine. I still struggle with this.
After getting Birchbox delivered for several months, I began to realize that I have a small arsenal of spa-like, self-pampering beauty products and no time to actually use them. I kept thinking, “When the heck do I have 10 minutes to sit with a clay mask on my face?” or “Great, I’ve got these Icelandic gel eyepads, but don’t have 10 minutes to take my glasses off in order to use them.” Then something clicked one night! The puzzle pieces fell in place. I had:
- One son who was actually entertaining himself independently in the bath tub and just wanted me there to be with him to chit chat.
- 10 – 15 minutes of time in which I was doing not much.
- A pile of unused beauty products that were calling my name.
- A hidden memory of some yoga poses I recall doing on the floor, like legs up the wall and some leg stretching/back stretching stuff.
Life. Changing. Moment.
Now, every other night when I put him to bed, I actually find myself looking forward to bath time. I get to try out that new scrub/clay mask/cooling eye gel pad/activated charcoal powder/face wash with rose petals in it. Then I get to do some gentle yoga stretches while chatting with my son about his day while the product works. Then I get to wash it all off and put on some new, fabulous face cream that I’d never spend the actual money on, all the while talking to my son and listening to him do his own thing. When we are both done, we get to go read and talk about the day and look forward to the next one together. He usually gets a little extra bath time which was previously unheard of on my bath nights, and I get to do some relaxing.
Have you ever “played spa” at home? What tasks have you made easier for yourself? When do you make time for yourself to do a little self care? And how do you best connect with your child or an important kid in your life?