WALKER — Walker United Methodist Church pampered, primped and spoiled mothers in the community Saturday just in time for Mother’s Day.
The free event welcomed moms to have their hair cut and pedicures done during the church’s Mother’s Day Makeover event held annually the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
For three years, hair stylist Sue Hilliard, of Baton Rouge, has organized the event to honor and show appreciation to area women.
As a lifelong hairstylist, mother, wife and active church worker, she understands the sacrifices and hardships many women endure as they put their families and obligations before their own needs, she said.
“Certainly for most of these mothers, they don’t have the time, funds or even the energy to go get beauty services,” Hilliard said as she prepared the three massaging foot baths for the first three ladies in line for their pedicures.
“All women need to feel pretty and given an opportunity to relax. They need a break from all the stressors and demands of their daily lives.”
The Mother’s Day Makeover event became a reality when Sue’s own son, pastor Jeff Hilliard, offered his church for the community-wide free day of pampering. Soon, Hilliard persuaded other Louisiana-licensed hairstylists and masseuses to volunteer their services.
Cyndi Gillette, of Livingston, a single mother of two daughters and full time server at the Family Diner, raised a 20-year-old and has a 15-year-old still living at home.
“These days it is so hard to be a parent, work and struggling to meet all of your obligations,” said Gillette, 44.
“There’s not too much extra money for perks and frivolous things ... There’s a great amount of sacrifice when you are a mother. It’s very difficult when you can’t give them all the things you’d like, so you do without.
“It’s all worth it when you see your kids doing well and knowing you’ve done your best,” Gillette added. “This is such a nice treat. It’s nice to feel pretty; being pampered gives you a whole new outlook on things.”
There is a strong feeling of fellowship here, said Erica Langlois, a 40-year-old mother, who home-schools her 13-year-old son.
“And while everything we do — whether it’s cooking or watching television also becomes a lesson — there’s no time to think about pedicures and all those girlie things which give you some reminder that you are someone other than a mother,” Langlois said.
Stylist Marsha Barbari, of Marsha’s, a full-service hair salon in Baton Rouge, transformed Langlois’ look into what she described as a “glamorous diva.” Barbari has been involved in this event for more than two years. Her two grandsons, Aidan Wadell, 9, and Cole Wadell, 7, also helped the women by serving snacks and running errands.
“This was one of the most heartfelt and enjoyable treats,” said Jeanne Metz, a retired home health care nurse, of Hammond. “It was just wonderful and kind of therapeutic listening to and getting to know the other ladies’ stories as you get your feet and legs massaged and pampered,” she said. “Not only did I feel so relaxed, but now my feet are ready for the summer. I am ready to wear my favorite sparkly flip flops.”
Women such as Wanda Martin, of Denham Springs, Tiny Herrin, Linda England and Gisela Collins, all senior citizens who are retired, attended the event.
“It is so much more than just beauty treatments,” Hilliard said. “It’s giving them a chance to find themselves for a few moments in very complex and full lives.”
Hilliard’s brainchild was derived from her own experiences as a child growing up in the Missionary Baptist Church, where members would wash the feet of church members, she said.
“It is a very Christ-like thing to do,” Hilliard said as she glanced around the room. “Look at the faces of these ladies, each one is leaving here with new friends, rested, smiles and feeling pretty. It’s a physical and emotional transformation.”
Metz was so impressed with her makeover that she plans to tell her husband about the Father’s Day Makeover coming up in June. She’s also going to bring her tired feet back for next year’s Mother’s Day event, she said.