- At Home
Mothers of the World, please unite with me on the subject of “no more deprivation.” Somewhere and somehow, someone told mothers they had to give up all the little luxuries that once made them happy and become self-abnegating sacrificial lambs. Truly, a colossal mistake because a long period of deprivation is not only dangerous to the soul but dangerous to the happiness of the family fold.
Now, I am not advocating shockingly expensive acquisitions, luxury vacations or a fleet of polo ponies but I do know that there’s a competitive urge to talk about who sacrifices the most for their families. The whole thing is nonsensical since an unhappy mother creates an unhappy family.
So why do it?
There are a myriad of ways a mother can find personal satisfaction and some of them are completely free such as a day spent alone in the library reading back issues of The Atlantic and of course, Elle and Vogue. Or a bagged lunch with a friend at a spectacular spot - lolling under a massive tree trunk in the park, hiking through a protected reservation or sitting on a park bench with a birds’ eye view of fascinating characters. Surely one can find the time for peace, quiet and intellectual stimulation that keep your mind sharp and your zest for living on high alert.
Free is always nice (I personally love “free”) but if you would like to treat yourself to something special, may I suggest a spectacular soap for your personal bathroom? Rather than a clunk of Dial sitting in the soap dish, wouldn’t it be delightful to see a soap in the shape of a Buddha’s head (available on www.etsy.com).
If you’re on a hiatus or a full-time mother, you still need to express your thoughts. Instead of buying a card from the supermarket, it’s far more fabulous to sit down and compose a note to write sympathies, congratulations or to let someone know you are thinking about them. While email has its virtues, nothing beats a letter that arrives in the mail with a witty stamp affixed to the envelope. That is why you need beautiful stationery, not a piece of paper torn from a wired notebook. Go to Paper Source for a fabulous selection of note cards and cutetape for the Japanese Washi tape that adds such panache to gift-wrapping or keeping an envelope flap from flapping.
Personal grooming should never take a backseat to raising wonderful children. I love when I see a parent pushing a stroller and looking like a million dollars in a great jacket, smart hat and a bit of whimsy around the neck. Sure Old Navy makes fabulous jeans at unbeatable prices ($19.95 a pair) but wear them when you’re playing with your kids on the floor. When you’re out and about, you should look as if you’re on top of the world.
The top of the world requires maintenance and that seems to get thrown to the wind, too. Big mistake. While it may be difficult to fit in a manicure every week, nails can still look stylish by wearing them short and square and giving them a coat of the sheerest pink or clear polish. Essie is the queen of nail polishes and both Baby’s Breath and Blushing Bride are exquisitely sheer and beautiful. (Pssst: They don’t show chips.)
Now, let’s talk about lingerie - since that tends to fall by the wayside, too. After wearing those grotesque pantaloons for nine months, it’s rather tempting to slip into something comfortable since you’re under the erroneous impression “no one is going to see me.” But you are going to see you every time you pass a mirror so why not rock it with a pair of tap pants or a bikini?
Remember: No more self-abnegating or depriving yourself of the fun thoughts when you’re young, beautiful, and fabulous. You can have it all if you stop trying to win those ridiculous “who can suffer more?” games that end up with everyone the loser.
Ellen Lubin-Sherman got her start in business feeding gossip items to Liz Smith, the esteemed former gossip columnist at the New York Daily News. Those early days of name-dropping were the perfect foundation for her later work in cultivating and branding identities for some of the country’s most luxurious products. Ellen went to work for some of NYC’s top communications firms, advising top tier brands including The Gap, Perrier Water, and Martha Stewart. Today she uses that expertise to coach corporations and business leaders in the art of creating a polished presentation. She does this through LAUNCH, her coaching and consulting firm for business leaders and corporations who need to craft the visuals and the messages that will burnish their reputation as leaders and differentiate them in the marketplace. Today, in addition to executive coaching and consulting, Ellen is a sought-after speaker for companies and groups that are desperate to know how they can become fabulous.