Without the diapers, moms get pampered

By Towanda Underdue
Star-Ledger Staff

Every moment of every night and day, Regina Tapanes of Woodbridge gets close and personal with her three bundles of joy.
She cooks meals for her three children, tucks them in and washes their clothes. She gets down with them on the floor, stacking blocks and maneuvering Barbie dolls.

On June 18, the 33-year-old mother took time out for herself. She left the kids home with their dad and took part in a free Day of Indulgence.

Tapanes arrived early for the event, sponsored by ClubMom Inc. in the Garden State Convention and Exhibition Center in Franklin, Somerset County. She had her back massage and makeup session in the morning, long before 1,000 other moms arrived. "I just wanted to relax," said Tapanes, who stays home every day with kids ages 1, 2 and 5. "I love my kids," she quickly added. "But when you have children, you lose your self. You don't relax. You don't take care of yourself."

Naomi Byars of Somerset gets her hair styled by Mutiyah Chiles of Soultry Scissors at Garden State Convention and Exhibition Center.
See More Photos from the ClubMom Event!

Care was the theme of the event attended by moms in the tri-state region. Corporate sponsors gave moms free back massages, free food, facials and live music. The goal was to push commercial products and services, while pampering consumers who happened to be moms.

"Moms' jobs are 24/7, so they're often so busy doing for others, they rarely have time to reward themselves," said national ClubMom co-founder Meredith Viera. "ClubMom responds by recognizing and rewarding moms for their priceless contributions." The organizations have held 10 pampering events for moms in various locations since 2001, Viera said. She said the very firs event was in San Diego in 2001.

The June event in Franklin in Franklin drew Cheryl Noll, a 23-year-old mom from Phillipsburg. Noll said it felt good to be rewarded after caring for her baby, working part-time, and coping with painful endometriosis, a uterine disease. "My (1-year-old) daughter is walking now, so I have to keep up with her, and also run to my doctors' appointments," said Noll. "I'm here alone today, so I can really allow myself to be spoiled."

Mom Cindi Hixon, 35, of East Brunswick, brought her 10-month-old daughter with her, since her daughter has separation anxiety. Hixon got hack and foot massages, as her daughter watched from a stroller. "I never get a chance to pamper myself; I don't get time for massages or relaxation," Hixon said. "But it's all worth it," she added, as she stooped to pick up the bottle her baby dropped. "I love watching her learn things. And when she reaches up and grabs my face for a kiss, my heart simply melts."