There was this girl on my morning commuter train the other day chatting to her co-worker. Usually, when I’m forced to eavesdrop on someone else’s conversation, it is supremely annoying. But this gal was different. She was fascinating, intelligent, witty and shared useful travel tips in savvy sound bytes fit for talk radio; she was attractive and well-dressed in the most friendly, approachable way.
Just as I started thinking to myself that I guess it’s easy to be that way when you’re still young and single and living in Hoboken, I heard “…that worked amazingly well for us when we flew to Ecuador with my two year old.” SHUT UP. Seriously? She was a mom too! A hybrid of the sharper, put-together pre-kid version of myself and the woman I always aspired to be. She was my 15-minute commuter crush.
Has this ever happened to you? Am I the only one who feels they’ve lost their luster?
“It’s a mother’s natural instinct to nurture and care for others, but many sacrifice their own needs in the process, forgetting to care for themselves,” says Carol Davidson, certified image professional and owner of StyleWorks of Union Square in Manhattan.
Here are five simple strategies for getting your mojo back:
1. Engage in a confidence boosting activity – Maybe it’s working out to some new tunes, or maybe it’s something more laid back like reading a motivational book, or picking up a pen yourself. Pour your heart into something that gives you a positive, empowered feeling.
2. Devote ten minutes every morning to feeling “put together”. “Being stylish is not just from the neck down,” says Davidson. “An easy to maintain haircut and a five minute makeup routine can have you looking your best in no time and give you an instant emotional pick-me-up.”
3. Give your “go-to outfits” a mini makeover. You don’t have to break the bank to look chic – you don’t even have to go shopping. Glam things up by adding an unexpected accessory to some tried and true basics, or challenge yourself to incorporate some of your business or evening separates into your everyday favorites. Who says you can’t dress up a bit for a day with the kids? Self-confidence is contagious, you know.
4. Schedule a kid-free event with close friends. Whether it’s a mani/pedi, a dinner on the town or seeing a show (concert tickets, anyone?), give yourself a few mommy-free hours to feel like your old self. It may feel greedy, but it’s the opposite. A few hours of self-indulgence can renew your willingness to be more selfless towards others.
5. Rediscover a defining characteristic lost. Were you always the sophisticated friend who could intelligently discuss the latest story from The New Yorker (instead of the latest potty-time fiasco)? Do you miss turning heads with your personal, unique style (free of spit-up)? What happened to the social networker who could pull together a dinner party in five minutes? Where IS she? Find her.
It’s never too soon to start feeling like the truest version of yourself again.
Sharon Marcus is a working mom who blogs daily at mamadoitall.blogspot.com