Picture of a woman relaxing in a chair

It’s Wednesday. It’s a gorgeously sunny day. The whole country is on a mission to enjoy it to the MAX before the torrential downpour scheduled for tomorrow.

What am I doing?

I’m in my office typing this and frantically preparing for my style masterclass on Saturday…

By the time you read this, my masterclass will be all over but, as excited as I am about it, to say I’m not getting the best out of the weather is a huge understatement.

At lunchtime I decided to squeeze in a bit of outdoor time, so I popped outside to eat my salad for ten minutes when this thought crossed my mind:

I won’t bother to get the chair cushions out, it’s not worth it just for me.’

Do you have thoughts like that too?

The majority of women, at least among my friends and clients, have this peculiar idea that any standard of living above what is routinely offered when detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure is somehow too much of a ‘luxury’, or that we are ‘spoilt’ if we look after ourselves.

So, you get into situations where you think:

Oh, just me for dinner tonight, I won’t bother to cook anything. I’ll just have toast.” And: “I don’t have anything nice to wear, but it doesn’t matter because the kids look cute. No one’s looking at me anyway.”

This is wrong. It may seem superficial, but we need to factor little ‘treats’ into our daily routine. If we don’t, it can have a massive impact on self-esteem. Many of my clients are really suffering from this by the time they get into my studio, and the results can be debilitating. Women turning down invitations because they’ve got nothing to wear, or resorting to wearing ancient tracksuit bottoms and hoodies (like prisoners) because ‘at least they fit’.

By constantly putting your (often quite basic) needs last, you are doing yourself a disservice. If you have kids, it’s even more important to do things for yourself. Your children need to know that their mother is a human being with the same rights as everyone else! What sort of an adult are they going to be if they don’t realise that now?

In the morning when I drop my sons off at school, we mums get together while waiting for the bell to go, as mums do across the country, and discuss what we might have planned for the day. So many women are mortally embarrassed if they are forced to admit that they are off to have their hair cut or that they are popping into town to get some shoes. As if taking two hours off work or housework is something to be ashamed of.

What is the alternative? Walk around barefoot? Grow hair so long it’s impossible to see out?

Please don’t worry that you might be judged if you spoil yourself a little. Trust me, most people will hardly notice! Having a pedicure once a month will not lead everyone you meet in your local shop to assume that you are turning into J-Lo.

So, in the interest of openness and female solidarity, here are the things that I enjoy doing when I take a little time for myself:

  • Regular haircuts and colour – I ALWAYS rebook when I leave the salon, otherwise I struggle to make time to ring for another appointment
  • Gym time – I’m not really ‘driven’ about exercising, but I know that my mood always lifts when I’ve done something active. If I can’t get there three times a week, I’ll prioritise a walk around the block.
  • Wardrobe management – (I know, it’s my job, but I still love it!!!) I spend time thinking about what’s in my wardrobe, where the holes are and identifying what I need to get to make outfits complete.
  • Watching TV – I watch a lot of ‘non-intellectual’ TV programmes. I LOVE them. Some of them are woefully dreadful but they help me to wind down. Sue me.
  • Massage – I’m not talking about spa massage, but I regularly visit my local professional masseuse. Otherwise stress goes straight to my shoulder and it starts to hurt.

Having these things as my ‘go-to’ activities, just for me, mean that I am a much better mum, wife, daughter and friend. When I’ve made time in my schedule for what is important to me I’m really happy to spend the rest of my time doing the things that are important to my family and friends, like visiting Homebase or sticking cardboard boxes together. I am more available for everyone else without that nagging feeling that I’d prefer to be watching X Factor or sorting through my vest tops.

So, let’s hear your thoughts. How do you spoil yourself? I’d love to open the debate here. Let’s all come out of the closet on this one – without shame! Add your comments below.


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