Taking Care of the Family Ambassador

April 28, 2010

woman relaxingBefore becoming a mom, most women have a relatively unlimited amount of time to take care of themselves, whether it is leisurely shopping for new clothes or spending a few hours at the gym on the weekend.

When you become a parent, time becomes a lot more valuable and scarce. As a mom, you have also taken on a new role as your family’s ambassador, the official head and authorized representative of your family, and should feel and look the role! Of course, you have a lot less time to take care of yourself because you are busy taking care of everyone else. Even when you do find the time, you may not feel like you have money to spend on yourself.

To ensure that you take care of Mom, I recommend putting in place a financial system for this specific purpose. Here is what you do:

  1. Open up an account specifically designated for your personal care. Yes, an account just for you! There are some banks that will even ‘pay’ you to open an account. For example, ING Direct paid me $25 to open up a checking account.
  2. Determine how much money you would like to spend on personal care for the year. Dream big! Make a list of everything you might need or want for yourself and the associated costs. Haircuts, beauty products, nails, waxing, massages/treatments, gym/fitness, and even clothes belong on your list. Add up the costs and divide by 4 quarters (or 12 months). If that number is unattainable given your current financial position, take a critical look at your list and determine where you can scale back and still feel and look the way you want.
  3. Fund your personal care account. If you already have money in your spending plan for personal care, put it in your new personal care account. Otherwise, determine if you can allocate some of your monthly cash flow to this account. When there just isn’t any extra money, you need to get creative! First, instead of asking for gifts from your family for holidays, ask that they contribute to your personal care account. Second, consider consigning or selling clothes and other items (CD’s, DVDs, books) that you don’t use anymore and putting this money in your new account. Finally, instead of hiring a sitter, swap with a friend and put the money saved into your personal care account.
  4. Schedule your appointments and don’t cancel them. Now that you have some money put away in your personal care account, you need to schedule the appointments and spend it. If the amount you have to spend still isn’t enough, you can get creative again. Ask around to find great deals on haircuts, massages and other services. You don’t need to pay $125 for a massage at a big spa. You can get an hour long massage starting at $33 by a massage intern or $53 by a high quality professional at Bodywise Massage in San Rafael. Or spend a few hours (or the day) at Cavallo Point’s Spa for $40 and enjoy all the amenities, like reading by the fireplace, relaxing in the meditation pool, and enjoying complimentary yoga.
  5. Continue to fund your personal care account throughout the year, every year. Take care of yourself without guilt. You are your family’s ambassador and need to be at your best for this important job!

Katy lives with her husband and two young children in Mill Valley. Visit her online at www.katysong.com, or contact her at katy@katysong.com