Taking Time for Mom: I Got My Hair Done (So What if It Took Six Hours)

Sona Charaipotra

Like many new moms, I've let my daily beauty regimen slip.

And when I say my "beauty regimen," I mean some face cream, maybe a little blush, and, if I'm feeling really fancy, eyeliner.

Thermal Reconditioning
Happy mom: It was worth it.
I've never been particularly high maintenance, but there is one beauty treatment I splurge on -- thermal reconditioning. Yes, that Japanese hair straightening thing. And yes, it's permanent.

Last year, as my hair started to grow out, I found out I was pregnant. So I skipped it just in case. Who knows what these chemicals could do?

By this summer, my hair's a mess, given the humidity -- and the fact that 6-month-old Kavi loves to get her tiny little hands into it.

So I decided it was about time to make the appointment. Even if that meant arranging for a slew of babysitters. This was a major splurge -- both cash-wise (around $400) and time-wise. Because, as I may not have mentioned, the process takes nearly six hours.

But sometimes, mama needs a new 'do.

Since my husband was working, Kavi and I headed to my parents in central Jersey -- and I asked that my sister visit, too, so there would be multiple cuddly babysitters on hand for the big day.

With the little one settled in a nani-ma's and playing happily with Meena Masi, I headed into downtown Manhattan, to Sei Tomoko, my regular joint. Omae, my therapist/stylist/hipster Japanese pal, had been filled in on my whereabouts during my year-and-a-half sabbatical from thermal reconditioning (my sister goes to her, too), but was nonetheless slightly appalled by the state of frizziness in which I existed.

After a short gossip session, I showed her pictures of Kavi, settled into the chair with a stack of magazines -- and yes, I admit, about 60 percent of them were mommy mags, but there was an Elle and Us Weekly in the stash, too -- and let her get to it.

I had my cell on hand and checked in with the babysitters every so often via text. But honestly, it was so shockingly, almost excruciatingly exquisite just to have a few hours -- and my thoughts -- to myself for literally the first time in six months.

I felt the mom guilt creeping right up on me as I wrote that, but it's true. I need the break. I needed to be pampered, I needed to be able to just get inside my own head for a few hours and not be thinking about diapers or feedings or daycare expenses or even the giggles and cuddles and how angelic my baby is even at 4:30 in the morning when I'm not so pleased to be awoken.

And five hours later, when Omae had worked her magic, I felt transformed. Truly. Not just because my hair looked fabulous for the first time in more than a year. But because I was rejuvenated by my mini-break.

When I got back to my parents' house two hours later, I was greeted by a happy baby who'd had a fun-filled day with her grandparents and her favorite Masi, but who was clearly thrilled to see me nonetheless. That impish, toothless grin was all the more precious because I'd had a few hours away. And boy, did Kavi ever love the new 'do. She can't get enough of mama's silky smooth new locks.

What's your big beauty or time indulgence?

Image via Navdeep Singh Dhillon

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