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A little self-indulgence

September 12, 2009|By LEIGH HAMRICK

I had just dropped the kids off at the YMCA and was coming to the obligatory stop at a three-way when the motorist to my left caught my eye. It was a young woman, probably between the ages of 18 and 22, and she immediately gave me the impression of being someone who had both time and money to spend on herself.

Her hair was blond and nicely styled. Her nails were painted. (Dark is really the closest I can come to the color, but red is what flashed up in my imagination.) Her skin was evenly tanned and looked well-cared for. Her big sunglasses were stylish. And she was driving a new, glossy, black, Toyota SUV.

Then she was gone, and I was left driving my used Jeep Cherokee home, feeling grimy. (I'd skipped my shower in an effort to get the kids to camp almost on time) and bleary-eyed (gripped by the mild fever my summer cold had bestowed upon me)

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Has this ever happened to you? Certainly you pass people on the road every day, and blond girls are hardly a rarity. I'm blond. What I mean is, have you ever gotten a good look at someone who put an effort into their appearance, and realized how long it's been since you've done the same?

Admittedly, I'm not in as poor shape as I was right after the kids were born. I do bathe regularly and apply makeup, albeit sketchily, every day. I curl my hair a couple of times a month, and I even shave my legs.

But how long has it been since I made a priority of my appearance? How long has it been for you? How long has it been since you got your hair done? Bought an outfit that really complemented you? Splurged on a pedicure? Picked up a bottle of perfume you loved? Or bought yourself some indecently priced little jar of anti-wrinkle stuff?

Yes, we've left our teen years behind us. We have children and probably husbands, too. There are bills and doctor's appointments and dishes to wash. School's started again and there are supplies and clothes to buy in trendy stores like Walmart.

But come on, ladies, we can do better than that. We deserve more. We're women, too, not just mommies. Lavishing a little attention on ourselves is our right, and we feel so much better when we look our best.

Do you know what I did? I stopped at the nearest CVS, sniffling and sneezing, and bought myself a bottle of blood-red nail polish. With glitter in it. I love glitter. Then I gave in to one of my personal weaknesses - self-tanner! I love it, I don't care what my 9-year-old daughter has to say about it. I'll take a fake tan over sweating my carcass off in the sun any day.

I went home, luxuriated in a long, cool shower, slathered myself with self-tanning lotion, blow-dried my hair (I so rarely do that), and painted my nails. They look fabulous.

How about you? What would you do for yourself today if you had time? Sure, there's a casserole to make and somebody wants sneakers you really can't afford; but how can you take care of your family if you don't also take care of yourself?

Leigh Hamrick is a freelance writer and mother who raises a son, a daughter and a husband in Frederick County.

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