Thursday, August 19, 2010

Not So Yummy Mummy

One of the things I love about Hong Kong is the emphasis on self-indulgence. Shopping is the national pastime and there is no shortage of beauty salons and cheap massage parlours (sorry, “parlour” is such a seedy word but I don’t know what else to call them!). Many places offer a number of services and you can get an eyebrow wax, foot massage, and manicure while someone’s cutting your hair. The best part is that it’s all available for much less than you would pay at home. While I was pregnant I retained more water than the South China Sea, so foot massages and pedicures were a weekly occurrence. Now that my bump buddy, and frequent foot massage companion, G is back in the UK, and I have an 8 month old to chase at home, I have less time and no real excuse to pamper myself. And it’s starting to show… There are days when I look in the mirror and feel like I may as well be wearing a paper bag, I feel that frumpy. At the moment my hair is about an inch too long and I’ve resorted to pony tails and bobby pins to tame it. My eyebrows resemble the very hungry caterpillar after his weeklong binge, and I don’t even want to talk about what’s going on south of my knees. The most attention my feet have had lately was when my GP froze off some disgusting plantar warts. Hmm, attractive.

After J was born I was shocked by the way I looked and the toll pregnancy had taken on my body. I'd gone from feeling gorgeous and glowing to fat and flabby in a day. It took me seven months and a nasty stomach flu to shake off the last 8 kilos of baby weight I was carrying around. Getting back to my pre-baby weight definitely helped me feel better about myself, but I still can’t wear my wedding ring and I think it’s going to take a mortgage-sized diamond to make my knuckles look remotely feminine again. Having said all that, I do think it’s a small price to pay; I may have to give up my dreams of becoming a bikini model but I wear my stretchmarks with pride, like beautiful battle scars. I’m proud of my body and what it achieved; I made a human being and brought him into the world! I have a beautiful son and I don’t have time to get a haircut because I’m making him a priority: not because I’m a martyr but because he makes me happy.

For me, getting a pedicure was always about more about indulgence than aesthetics. Spending time sitting quietly, reading a trashy magazine while someone painted my toenails an outrageous colour made me feel good. I guess that’s why it was so easy to give up. I have someone else to worry about now and I feel guilty just thinking about sitting around being pampered. Hang on… maybe I am a martyr after all. I shouldn't feel guilty I know, it's not like I'm spending entire weekends at the spa! I realised today that it’s not so much the grooming that I miss but the “me” time, so you’ll be pleased to know I’m actually writing this from the comfort of Thai Pailin Massage in Mui Wo while a lovely Thai girl tortures my toes. My feet feel great and I’m inspired to take a little time out more often. Now about those eyebrows…

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