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30+ Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

  • Spencer Jones

    In honor of Mother's Day, here are 32 fun ways to treat yourself that won't break the bank or take too much time, so you can feel spoiled all year long.

    Time to indulge
    You may not get a whole day at the spa, but you can learn to take advantage of those brief but blessed windows of freedom when the baby naps or spends time with Dad.

    If you have 15 minutes...
    Make yourself a cup of tea and watch Saturday Night Live clips on YouTube or Hulu.
    Toss out all your raggedy, stretched-out underwear and order some sexy new ones online.
    Put on your favorite Alicia Keys or John Mayer CD, dim the lights, and pour yourself a glass of wine.

    If you have 30 minutes...
    Hole up in your bedroom with a cozy throw and a bowl of ice cream to watch the most mind-numbing show you can find. The Hills is always a safe bet.
    Call that old friend you recently found on Facebook and talk for 30 minutes about the old days -- without once using the words "sore nipples" or "colic."

    If you have an hour...
    Go to the gym. Spend 20 minutes walking on the treadmill and 40 reading magazines in the steam room. Take a car ride, music (not Barney) blasting, along pretty roads near your home. Stop somewhere scenic and just sit for a while before heading back.

    If you have three hours...
    Bike to a park with a friend; pass right by the swings and sandbox and find a grassy spot for a picnic lunch.
    Find the coziest corner at the coffee shop, order a latte, and read half a novel without interruption.

  • In honor of Mother's Day, here are 32 fun ways to treat yourself that won't break the bank or take too much time, so you can feel spoiled all year long.

    Time to indulge
    You may not get a whole day at the spa, but you can learn to take advantage of those brief but blessed windows of freedom when the baby naps or spends time with Dad.

    Little Luxuries
    Just because we're all watching our pennies doesn't mean we can't feel like millionaires. Here are our favorite on-the-cheap treats:

    If you have $5...
    Buy a refreshing fruit smoothie; a paperback romance novel; a fancy bakery cupcake with sprinkles; a gossip magazine; a yummy-smelling, flirty lip gloss.

    If you have $10...
    Go to a movie (bring your own snacks).
    Download ten new songs on iTunes and dance to them for half an hour.
    Pick up a luxe bottle of nail polish and give yourself a quick mani.

    If you have $20...
    Splurge on a completely unnecessary -- but really cute -- accessory.
    Grab a novel at your local book-store (we love Janice Y.K. Lee's The Piano Teacher) and head to the coffee shop!

  • A new take on date night
    Dinner for two: $70. Movie: $20. Popcorn and soda: $16. Wondering if the film is going to end before 9 p.m. so you don't have to pay the sitter for another hour? Pretty pricey. But you can still indulge in romance when you have a baby -- you just have to be a little more creative. Five ways to rethink date night:

    1. Bring the baby. If she's still a newborn, plop her in her car seat, pop a paci in her mouth, and expect her to be out by the time your appetizers arrive. Restaurant din often lulls young babies to sleep.
    2. Stay at home. After your baby goes down, prepare an easy but fancy-feeling meal. Dim the lights, play some music, and turn off the monitor (it's okay, really!).
    3. Have a date day. If you both work, pick a day and play hooky. Keep your baby in daycare or have the sitter come, then sneak out for a long lunch and a movie.
    4. Swap sitting. Offer to watch your friend's kids for a night while she goes out, then let her return the favor for you the following weekend.
    5. Breakfast in bed. If your baby is a late sleeper (or takes an early nap), bring a box of doughnuts into bed. Nibble on the food -- and each other -- in your pj's.

  • If I had the whole afternoon to myself and $100 to spend...

    "I'd take all my mommy girlfriends out for a leisurely lunch, where all the food would stay on the table, the only faces we'd have to wipe would be our own, and the only loud screams we'd hear would be our own laughter!" -- Kelsey Francis, Lake Placid, NY

    I'd get a hotel room, order up room service, and then sleep the afternoon away. -- Susan Kampen, Fort Walton Beach, FL

    "I would get a haircut (haven't had one in six months), have my car cleaned (can't remember original color of floorboards), and buy a new outfit (one that is stain-resistant)." -- Mary Anne Zang, Keller, TX

    "As dorky as it sounds, I'd buy stuff to help organize my home and I'd spend the afternoon filing and reorganizing. This would help clear my otherwise overloaded brain and make me so happy." -- Mandy Plodek, Alexandria, VA

    I'd get a pedicure, since I'm always on my feet, then I'd see a romantic movie and get a big Cherry Coke and popcorn all to myself. -- Tonya McIntosh, Charlestown, IN

    "I would rent a darkroom, then I'd spend the day playing my favorite country music and printing old black-and-white film." -- Leigh Ober, Lancaster, PA

    "I'd go to the mall, get a bubble tea, and spend all my money on a completely new outfit, with all thoughts of dirty diapers and laundry pushed firmly to the back of my mind!" -- Hannah Goodman, Greenville, SC

    treats for nursing moms
    You don't have to be an ascetic monk just because you're breastfeeding. Though some finger-waggers may tell you caffeine and alcohol are absolute no-no's, a cup of joe in the morning, a few Hershey Kisses as a snack, or a drink at night are all perfectly fine, says Stacey Rubin, author of The ABCs of Breastfeeding. "Enjoy that glass of wine; just feed the baby before you indulge and eat some food with it to help slow the absorption of the alcohol."

  • Spencer Jones

    Better Than Chocolate...

    Traditional Mother's Day presents are sweet, but if he only knew what we really want!

    You got a $30 pair of earrings but you really want three hours of babysitting (find sitters at sittercity.com)
    You got a $40 box of high-end chocolates but you really want two hours of a house-cleaning service (find one at mtpmaid.com
    You got A $59 bouquet of a dozen roses but you really want takeout dinner for two from a favorite restaurant
    You got a $70 plush bathrobe but you really want a night at a hotel with no morning wake-up call
    You got a $95 bottle of designer perfume but you really want a gift certificate to the Gap and three hours to go shopping

    Plus:
    16 Ways to Pamper Yourself
    21 Ways to Enjoy Being a Mom
    6 Ways to Be a Great Mom

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