The Princess Dilemma
or Am I A Scullery Maid?
My 32 year old daughter Maren told me last week she is seeking princess status now because she didn’t get to be one as a child. Of course, I took this personally. My reaction: I failed as a mother because she never felt cherished as a little princess should. I am trying to keep my objectivity as I have moodled about this dilemma. "So", I asked her, "What is your definition of a princess and what are you doing now to create this image of yourself?"
This is the gist of her answer: A princess gets her nails done; she has pedicures, facials, and massages; she shops at Nordstroms; she seeks all opportunities to be pampered. OK, that is not me. If I had 10 million dollars I doubt I would shop at Nordstroms. She is right; it has never been in my personality to seek this kind of pampering and so it would not have been easy for me to create that kind of atmosphere in rearing my princess. First of all I am cheap and I am a simple person with simple needs. I doubt if I have ever paid full price for a piece of clothing. I don’t do my nails because they get in the way of my projects. Even nail polish makes me feel like I have weights on my fingers. I am a scullery maid.
Maren recalls her girlfriends being taken by their mothers on Nordstrom shopping adventures. They would go to lunch somewhere and have a facial at the make-up counter and try on and buy expensive things. Did I fail because this wasn’t me? I taught her that she can make, cook or fix anything her heart desires. I have seen Maren scrape old paint, lay tile, dig in dirt to plant flowers, hang light fixtures and tear out a wall with a chain saw. I tried to convince her that you can find good things cheap. I sewed a lot of her clothes as she grew. Was that degrading? Did I teach her to be a scullery maid?
I have come to believe in my assessment of this matter that we all have different ways we seek our inner princess. My full-grown princess is 5’10" with size 11 doublewide feet. The glass slipper was out of the question. I have never worn a pair of high-heeled shoes. I ended up sewing most of my clothes because nothing off the rack fit very well. This has changed as I have grown older and more tall women have come on the scene. I no longer sew clothes or much of anything. If Ross doesn’t have it I don’t need it. Still, I have been known to find a few things on the discount table at Wal-mart. There is no doubt: I am a scullery maid.
So, what does my inner princess want? My grandfather always raved about my hair. He called a woman’s hair her "crowning glory". He convinced me. My only claim to beauty fame was that as a kid I won freckle contests. As I started to wear make-up in my teens my facial freckles began to fade out some. My eyes and face are pale so I have always felt more normal with mascara, blush and lipstick. About 10 years ago I had my eyeliner tattooed on. I start every day with my princess beauty routine: exercise, shower, do my hair and make up and get dressed in something clean and presentable…usually jeans and a shirt. I guess you could say that my inner princess pampers herself. The best pampering I get is a back rub from my prince and this is free (most of the time). My princess also likes her castle to be clean and organized. I am not always good at this because I am also a project person and often the projects take precedent and things get out of whack but never for too long. I am definitely not a clean freak but for sure I am a scullery maid.
Being a scullery maid does get tiring. My daughter works very hard at her job serving others in retail. It is surely a relief to try to find some relaxation and pampering at the end of the day. I hope she finds peace and satisfaction as she seeks to be a princess because I know she has the fortitude and creativity to be and do anything in consequence of her scullery maid training. Pampering feels good but being able to do something yourself feels smart. This is a given: It is much easier it be a princess after you have been a scullery maid than it is to learn to be a scullery maid when you were reared a princess.