The Pink Robe

This Christmas I was given possibly the softest, fluffiest, pale-pinkest bathrobe I have ever seen. When I put it on the morning after Christmas and walked out to the living room, my teenaged daughters burst into unison laughter. Never a good sign, having both of them laughing at me at once.

“You look like a pink marshmallow!” said one.

Now I’m not going to tell a lie and say it was entirely the robe that caused my shape to resemble a marshmallow. But since they’d never had one bad thing to say about my blue bathrobe, I chose to assume that at least part of the problem lay with the robe.

I walked back into the bedroom and looked at the box it had come in. Sure enough, there was the receipt. I thought about bringing it back. But somehow I couldn’t.

My mom, you see, had a bathrobe the exact same shade of pink when I was growing up. Hers was quilted and had a silk lining. She’d come out of the bedroom wrapped in its softness in the mornings. And in the afternoon, when religiously she took an hour-long nap, she used its silky softness as a throw so that she would not have to mess up the bed.

Mom is a mother of eight herself, five of whom were born between 1967 and 1973. She must have had years where she never slept a whole night. But each day she wisely decided to go lie down in the afternoon, to refresh and rejuvenate herself, almost always with a baby snuggled in by her side.

Even though there were so many of us, I have a hard time thinking of her being angry very often– except for the times when I richly deserved it. I wonder if her naps had something to do with her unflappable calm.

I’m terrible napper myself. Naps leave me off balance, yawning till dinner and then owl-eyed at midnight. Besides, the instant my babies nod off, I bolt up and away, book or paintbrush or computer mouse or camera in hand, intent on using that precious hour or two for something not involving a baby.

I’m not as patient as my mom. Maybe if I chose napping over doing, resting over producing, maybe I’d be calmer too. And yet, somehow I think my way works for me. Though she and I choose different ways to use that afternoon time, we both got what we needed from it.

it’s important for a mom to somehow claim a tiny oasis of time each day. Maybe it’s napping under a pink robe with the baby every afternoon. Maybe it’s lying on the living room floor, flipping through a magazine and sharing your chocolate with the nearest kid. Maybe it is untangling yourself from your sleeping baby and running off to tap on a computer keyboard for half an hour. Maybe it’s sticking the baby in the stroller and walking fast enough for twenty minutes that your heart starts thumping.

Whatever you choose to do, as long as it leaves you breathing a little deeper and thinking a little clearer and smiling a little easier, I think it is worth doing.

I think I’ll keep that new pink bathrobe of mine. I’ll wear it now and then, especially on cold mornings. And whenever I see it on the back of my bedroom door, I’ll remember that along with keeping the rest of my family afloat in a hundred different ways, caring for myself needs to fit into my every day too.

{ 23 Comments }

  1. WEAR THE ROBE AND WEAR IT PROUD!!! It’s not just girls, trust me- have the small pleasures, you darn well deserve it Mary!

  2. Mary, I really enjoyed this post. In fact I enjoy all your posts and am so inspired by you. I would love if you lived down the road and came over for coffee sometime. I am new to the blogging community, but have been so inspired by you and all the neat people you have led me to. Thank you for taking the time to share your world with us. And that picture of your daughter brought tears to my eyes! I love hearing about your present family and how you are doing things, and how this is different from the way your mother may have. I hope to have a large family too, one day, but for now you encourage me to enjoy each day and the treasure it is. It is good to know you.

  3. That’s so sweet, and I’m sorry they laughed at you. Grrrrr.

  4. I am much like you! As soon as the baby naps I dash off to see what chore/hobby can be done in the small amount of time I have to myself! I used to think that was selfish but now I know I need that “me” time!

  5. We refresh ourselves in solitude! Where do we all come to the erroneous conclusion that every waking moment must be spent “doing”. Maybe it is better to stop “doing”, curling up in the pink bathrobe and in the in-between moments of somnolence and wakefullness arrive at some solutions for spending every waking moment with our families in creative personal manner to everyone’s benefit.
    Mary… I like how you express ideas it is helpful for all of us in cyberspace to mull on.

  6. Mary – I’ve thought of that pink bathrobe hanging on the back of Mom’s bathroom door a thousand times. Just the other day, as I was reaching for MY bathrobe off the back of MY bathroom door, I remembered going into Mom’s bathroom as a child and burying my nose in her soft robe to smell that “Mom” smell. It was always such a comforting and reassuring smell – just like she is such a comforting and reassuring person. We are truly blessed.
    I laughed when I saw myself in your description, too – here I am catching up on your blog while my homeschooled 2nd-grader is finishing up her art project. I have a few minutes until she is finished and needing to move on to the next subject, so I’m trying to get something done. I’m so glad I chose your blog to spend those minutes on! [:-)
    Love, Rachel

  7. Pink marshmallows are wonderful, what a compliment. 🙂

  8. Michelle, you beat me to it . . .

    Mary, since when is being a pink marshmallow bad!?! I mean, pink. Soft. Sweet. What else could a mom want to be! (except for that soft part – I mean it in the nicest way possible, think snuggling children!) Wear your robe proudly, knowing your girls are just jealous. teehee!

    And when they are moms, they’ll smile when they open a box with the softest pink robe ever, and they’ll think of all the hugs they got from you in yours!

  9. I love marshmallows, they are a great comfort food! That was a wonderful tribute to your mom as well. I don’t know how the generation above us did all that they did?!!!

  10. You always say things in the most beautiful ways, Mary!

  11. Excellent post! I’d keep the warm fuzzy bathrobe too. If nothing else it will be a reminder to you that it is important to take a nap-whatever that might look like. The thing that refreshes and rejuvenates.

    I’ve never been a napper much either. If I fall asleep it seems to difficult to wake back up. But your description of your mom taking a nap with that pink bathrobe draped over makes me wish I could! What a great memory.

  12. Good advice. Enjoy the warm fuzzies in your fuzzy pink bathrobe.

  13. Wonderful post. Made me miss my mom and wise use of “free” time. I love taking naps – especially with a little person.

    Thanks so much for sharing your life with us in vivid pictures.

  14. well said!

  15. Loved this post! My mom usually worked for my dad but I remember that when she was home for some reason she always took a nap in the afternoon.

  16. Oh Mary, this just left me with the warmest feelings inside. What lovely thoughts and how true your words are.

  17. That bathrobe sounds heavenly!! Post a pic!

  18. I too loved this Mary! What a wonderful way make that bathrobe come to life!

  19. Hello Mary,

    It’s my girlfriend’s birthday next month. One of the gifts she would like is a “fuzzy pink bathrobe”. Can I ask you where did you get yours? Yours sounds perfect!
    Thank you.
    Patrick, NYC

  20. What I love about the post is the continuity and bond between generations. Having my mother’s things (jewelry, cast iron frying pan, pictures, tablecloths, etc.) keeps her on my mind and helps me to recall the days when she was here among the living. About the robe itself, about 12 or 13 years ago, my mother and one of my daughters went shopping, and my mother bought a silky floral robe for my daughter. She still has it and wears it often because it reminds her of Granny. Sweet, huh?

  21. I know this is about a year old…but…I think I may have that same robe…haha…and it does make me look like a marshmallow…haha…

    I love your blog! I stumbled on it today! Keep up the good work!

  22. Kathy McCrary says:

    Mary,
    Enjoyed this post of yours. Reminded me of myself when my three, (now grown)boys were small. I wrote. Wanted to set the world on fire with wonderful books for children. When I saw that not happening, I freelanced and sold magazine articles on a variety of subjects to regional and national publications.

    I was a stay at home mom and treasured the time I spent with the children, but also valued the “me” time I was able to ferret out of busy days on our farm. This was before PC’s or word processors and I typed everything on an old portable typewriter saved from college. I had to know my brain had not turned into marshmellow and was still suitable for something other than dipping diapers in the toilet prior to washing them. So, is the time you can pull when babies are down for naps valuable? You bet it is! Makes you a better mom and a more fulfilled person.
    Kathy

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  1. […] PS- Since this was a bathrobe kind of day at our house, I finally got around to posting a picture on my pink bathrobe post. […]