mother and daughter at-home spa
Photo: Michael Edwards
The year was 2002 and I was tired. I was tired of touching up my roots, counting my carbs, balancing my checkbook, minding my manners, wanting a baby, a good apartment, a decent night's sleep. I was tired of being happy for friends who had all the things I wanted, tired of flossing and fish oil and adding flax to my steel-cut oatmeal. I was tired of strengthening my core and analyzing my issues. I was tired of the world and though I had no actual proof, I was pretty sure that the world was tired of me.

Then I went to a spa.

The towels were fluffy and the lighting was compassionate. Incense was burned and kale was juiced. There were hot stone massages and collagen facials, seaweed wraps and almond oil pedicures. We hiked through fields of sage and lavender, soaked in sea salts, and dined in bathrobes. If there is such a thing as avocado placenta, you can be sure that I was slathered in it. I came back to New York exfoliated, moisturized, one with nature, and utterly rested.

What a difference a decade makes. I'm pleased to report that the baby I wanted so desperately is starting fourth grade, and as of last summer, we're living in an apartment with actual closet space. Still...

These days my core appears to be made of marshmallow and where I used to work to get ahead, I now find myself working harder than ever just to make sure I don't fall behind. Factor in the additional tasks of keeping the fruit-roll-up drawer fully stocked, the orthodontist appointments scheduled, the karate exhibitions attended, the homework checked, the meals made, the garbage recycled, the checks written, the calls returned, the e-mails answered, and...well, let's just say your manicure and mental health drop to the bottom of the to-do list.

I don't have the money for a spa, and even if I did, I wouldn't dream of leaving my daughter, Julia (whose father lives in Switzerland), for a blissful weekend of mint tea and Pilates...especially when I'm pretty sure I can create the perfect spa experience here in my very own home. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

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