When I was younger, I opened my own massage parlor.

I didn’t know that “massage parlor” was synonymous with “brothel,” and I didn’t know that the balloons I cut out of cardboard to glue on my “Melissa’s Massage Parlor” sign looked rather … spermish. I just knew that $.25 for a 10 minute back massage and $.10 for a five minute foot massage was going to earn me that Ford Taurus I wanted as soon as I was 16.

I also couldn’t tell time, which worked out well for my family members who swore it had “only been four minutes.”

Now that I’m on the other side of the equation, I stretch out time the same way — though I do pay more. Call it inflation or desperation, but yesterday I offered Alex $5 to walk on my back.

He was busy getting set up for this picture to send to an astronaut, so he passed up the opportunity.

Which made me re-think his allowance – I would have done just about anything for $5 as a kid. Maybe if I start making him pay for his own food?

It also made me re-think my life. Begging a five year old to walk on my back … how did I get here? In my head, I went through the spa day I had treated myself to the day before.

It had started with steaming my face over the Insta hot faucet while I made my cup of crappy instant coffee. My pores were clean and I was (kind of) caffeinated. Two-fer.

Next, I positioned my feet over the raised threshold between the kitchen and mudroom while I bounced Fitz on my hip to get him to burp. Voila — foot massage!

And, when the “burp” turned out to be “projectile spit up,” I got to treat myself to a quick Kirkland baby wipe cleanse before I ran out the door to drop Lottie at preschool.

After carrying Fitz in the bjorn all morning, I tried rolling out my back on a tennis ball. But Yoda took this as an invitation to play and I ended up rolling out my back on Yoda.

He spent the rest of the day in this position, which has me worried that my free back adjustment might end up costing me $690 in a canine chiropractic adjustment.

This is what “self-care” has become. There was a time not so long ago that I’d drop $90 on a very unpleasant wax, just to avoid having to shave my legs for a week. And that’s when I had actual time in the shower to shave!

Now my showers are timed by a mob of angry children demanding more waffles, a channel change, more waffles, justice for the sibling who was looked at wrong, more waffles, someone to wipe their butt, and MORE WAFFLES WOMAN!

And these if I happen to have a spare $90 lying around, it goes to an Instagram Ad neck pillow that promises sleep like never before, or organic melatonin gummies for that mob of children, which also promises sleep like never before.

I don’t really have a point, except that Christmas is coming up and if Sweet Baby Ray happens to be reading this, a gift card to an actual salon wouldn’t be unappreciated.

In the meantime, hit me up with your at-home self-care tips. Because the wheels are really coming off over here at Melissa’s Massage Parlor.