Before I had children my idea of ‘down time’ was a quiet stroll in the park, a nice meal with friends, a massage (Oh a massage! I remember those!) a glass of wine (or two…) a movie, or even a quiet night in front of the telly. I worked hard, but I really knew how to relax. Some people say that they’re not very good at doing nothing. I am not one of those people. I excel at doing nothing. The trouble is, since having children… there isn’t time for nothing…because there is always …something.
Every weekend my husband and I negotiate. We both deserve a break, we both need quiet time. But somehow, with all the something the weekend disappears, suddenly its Sunday evening and its time to prepare for the week ahead. But not this weekend! This weekend I was adamant that the housework could wait. I needed a break. And more than that…I needed a hair cut!
So on Saturday afternoon I left my husband in charge of the girls and disappeared into town. I was ridiculously excited about my outing, I love getting my hair done. I love reading the glossy magazines that I wouldn’t waste money actually buying, I love having a coffee served with guilt free chocolate tiny teddy’s (they’re guilt free because I haven’t pinched them off G), I love the smell of the fancy salon shampoo and I love chatting inane bollox to the hairdresser. It’s bliss. Normally.
When I stepped into the salon I immediately felt old. Old and frumpy. The 15 year old receptionist smiled enigmatically and ushered me into a chair.
“Can I get you a coffee?” she bellowed over thumping drum and bass.
I ordered my coffee and started flicking through a magazine. The receptionist came back to double check my order, which was just as well as she ended up only getting it slightly wrong instead of totally wrong.
The hairdresser was a pretty young girl called Rose. That’s pretty and young. Not pretty young, although she was that too. She started asking me worrying questions about my hair and my ‘styling regime’ and the sort of style I was looking for. I explained that as a busy mum with barely enough time to fart I was looking for something ‘low maintenance’. She started cutting and chatting away.
“I’m sorry” I said, struggling to hear her, “could you possibly turn the music down?”
I saw the words as they floated past me and hung in the air. They troubled me for a moment. And then it hit me. I’d turned into my mother. I gulped back my coffee and nibbled anxiously on a tiny teddy.
My phone lit up. It was a notification from Twitter! I clicked into it and started to respond.
“Oh you’re on Twitter!” observed Rose, peering over my shoulder.
“Yeah” I replied, “although I don’t really get it yet. It’s still new to me,”
She laughed. At me. Then said;
“You sound like my mum!”
Rose continued to snip away and I played with my phone. She asked questions about my life, and I replied, feeling older and older by the minute. I am well aware that my life revolves around my girls, but I wasn’t aware how boring it sounded.
“So you don’t work at all then?” Rose enquired…
I hate this question. I do work! I work bloody hard. Motherhood is the toughest job I’ve ever had. I tried to explain this to Rose… then, almost as an afterthought I added…
“…Oh, and I write a blog!”
Rose looks bemused.
“Wow!” she says with about as much enthusiasm as someone who has just been offered root canal treatment…
“What’s it about?”
“Motherhood” I admitted.
Her eyes glazed over.
Rose continues ‘styling’ my hair, she uses a variety of over priced products and explained them too me as she vigorously applied them to my aching head.
“This is sea salt spray! If you use this before blow drying it will give you that really great messy look!”
Eh? You want me to pay $40 for a product that will make my hair look messy? If it’s the messy look we’re going for I think I’ll do just fine on my own.
“This is sculpting wax..” she continued..
My eyes glazed over.
Ten minutes later and we were done. I looked at myself in the mirror. I loved my new hair! Even if it did draw attention to the worrying amount of grey I have. Rose noticed this too, and asked if I’d like to make an appointment with the colourist. Hurumph.
I paid up and left. I walked down the street grateful to be back in the fresh air and away from the ‘music’. I browsed in the shops and then headed to the park for some quiet time. I found a bench and plonked myself down. But, as much as I relished the chance to sit and do nothing I had a nagging feeling… I was missing something.. or someone.. or some… three..
And so, I found my way back home, to the waiting arms of my family. We played trains (that’s the one where I’m the train…), we tickled baby C, we laughed.. And as boring as it might have sounded to Rose, I was happy.