It was a well deserved (if I do say so myself) afternoon of being pampered. My husband (who has been traveling a lot of late) wanted me to get out of the house for as long as possible, so I spent a long afternoon at the spa. It was awesome, but also a little strange. I never spend entire afternoons at spas. I might get the occasional massage if it’s like my birthday or something… but multiple treatments aimed at getting me to just relax is not a regular thing for me. It was needed, though, and I was glad to be out and away from my motherly duties for a while. I was just starting to get my nails done when I noticed her. A sleek, professional woman, not much younger than myself, sauntered into the spa. Her heels clicked on the wood floor as she greeted the receptionist by name and made her way to sit at the manicure table; she had a standing appointment. She knew the nail technician well and they immediately fell into comfortable conversation, like old friends. Upon observing her I immediately noticed her hair. The juxtaposition between her hair tied up in a neat, perfect bun, and my messy “mom bun” was enough to make me laugh to myself. Our hair was a perfect visual representation of our differences. Yes we were both “buns”, but the way we presented ourselves, and our purpose, were entirely different. I was there for a day of comfort in my stretchy yoga pants, a loose blouse and worn out flip flops. She had come straight from work, looking perfectly put together in her matching skirt and sweater. She told the technician she would go with her “usual” but “no two-tone this time”. I went for the sparkliest color I could find that wasn’t too ridiculous. I mean go big or go home, right? She had work to think about, a manicure was part of her professional look. I was more interested in something that would make me smile when I looked at my hands, and something that would dazzle my kids.
Still… I couldn’t help but look longingly at her perfect appearance. I love being a stay at home mom, but on some level don’t we all sometimes wish we could be the sleek professional chick getting her weekly manicure? It seems nice. The freedom, both time and money, to spend on nails. It’s a whole different world, and one that I am curious about, since I never really was the weekly-manicured-professional type.
I got into a conversation with my nail tech that followed the lines of most nail appointment chatter. We talked of my husband and our story, our kids and their funny little personalities as well as the need for an afternoon off. I couldn’t help but notice the professional-chick looking over when I spoke. Was she looking over in interest or bewilderment ? It’s hard to tell when people listen in when you are talking about the mom-gig. Did she eaves drop with a smile, hoping to have that too someday? Or was she just thinking I am the stereotype of the stay-at-home mom? I was, after all, here in my mom uniform: messy hair, make-up free face, comfy clothes, and chatting about the crazy things my kids do (with a wonderfully empathetic nail tech by the way, with grown kids of her own). It seems like such a normal conversation to have among mothers, but when someone, clearly not there yet in life eaves drops I can’t help but wonder what she’s thinking.
I never found out, of course, and as I paid and started to leave the receptionist told me to have a good rest of the day. It was 8:00pm at that point. I laughed and said “you too” but I knew full well, while the other non-mothers in this spa probably had a fun night ahead I would be sound asleep soon, probably with at least one kid in our bed. Would it be nice to look a bit more put together? Sure. But for now I’ll take the cuddles and the mess and the mom-bun. Because that won’t last forever. So I’ll embrace it while I can!