I was sitting in the chair of a new stylist, who had come highly recommended. She was combing through my hair, evaluating the texture and length before cutting and highlighting it, when she gave me what was supposed to be a compliment.
"Your hair is in such good condition, there's not much damage at all."
While I smiled and said thanks, inside I was in mourning, because it was such a stark acknowledgement of what's lacking in my life: Time with my blow dryer.
For years, I blow dried, crimped, curled, hot rolled, and straightened the hell out of my hair. I loved trying new styles and rarely went anywhere without a done do. Then came children, followed by ponytails, followed by soaking wet ponytails.
These days I squeeze in showers when I can -- usually while trying to entertain at least one child -- and race off to get to the many places that need getting to. And there sits my blow dryer, mocking me on the counter, reminding me of a life that once wasn't too busy for it -- a life in which I made time for it.
But dammit, I'm sick of wet ponytails!
One of my greatest strengths is my ability to make things work (yes, Tim Gunn would be proud). I pride myself on being able to fit it all in, get it all done, waste not a second. But it's also my biggest downfall, because all of it is overwhelming me, and I need to slow down and make time for things that I need to do for myself, even little things like blow drying my hair.
The old adage "if you look good, you feel good" is an old adage because it's true. On those rare days I do actually "do" my hair, I feel better about myself, feel more like me instead of just a behind-the-scenes player who is orchestrating everyone else's life but her own.
And frankly, I don't want my children's memories of me to be filled with wet hair and the idea that motherhood means you lose yourself. I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind me showing my appearance a little extra effort either.
My youngest baby is turning 2 this weekend, and I feel like the past two years have passed in a blur -- the blur of a life too busy to even spend five minutes blow drying my hair. I know no matter what I do, I'm going to blink and my children will be grown, but I'd like to be able to savor as much of it as I can without all the rush ... and with dry hair.
It may take getting up a few minutes early, or saying no more, or asking for help when I need it, but it can be done. It needs to be done.
So in 2011, I vow to use my blow dryer more, elastic bands a little less, and try to do at least a little bit of damage to my hair.
How often do you blow dry your hair?
Image via Charles Williams/Flickr