Sometimes I look back at those Mommy years and think that everything was sunshine and roses. From the vantage point of “they aren’t here any more”, my kids seem pretty darn angelic.
Sometimes when I am sad and lonely and I miss those hugs and kisses, I delude myself into thinking that it was easy to raise three children while working full time. Sometimes it seems like I didn’t have to sacrifice a thing!
Then I look in the mirror.
Now, I was never exactly a high maintenance woman. I came of age in the 70’s, so my idea of fashion began and ended with jeans and a flannel shirt. My idea of “make up” was tinted lip gloss. And as for hair? Don’t even go there: the only mousse I ever mastered was chocolate.
But still, when I was in my thirties, I was a relatively attractive young mother. I was never skinny, but I had a waistline and some curvy parts above and below it. I wasn’t too hard on the eyes, that’s all I’m saying.
Now? Not so much.
And I want to be clear: I never actually decided to “let myself go”, as they say. I didn’t exactly make a decision to become frumpy. In fact, I thought that everything was going along fine while I was in the middle of my mothering life.
It’s just that it can be really hard to find time to exercise when you work 50 hours a week and have an hour and half commute every day. That thirty minutes to yourself just doesn’t seem to appear when you rush home to three little kids who need dinner, baths, homework help, bedtime stories and lunch made for tomorrow.
And after you drive everyone to CCD, girl scouts, boy scouts, hockey practice, birthday parties, soccer practice, guitar lessons and a track meet, you don’t have a lot of energy for facials or manicures or yoga or pilates. In fact, you kind of don’t even have time to brush your teeth thoroughly before you fall into the bed face first, thereby making even more of a mess of your formerly glowing skin.
So now that I am an empty nester, I know that I can blame my physical decline on my kids. The jowls? Hey, I must have been at a hockey game when I should have been doing those firming exercises. The wrinkles? I definitely got those while squinting into the sun at baseball/soccer/football games. The flabby middle? Well, jeez, if you are going to be making homemade bread, real Italian meatballs and lots of chicken pot pies, you have to expect some of that to stick to your ribs, right? The bags under the eyes that now lie like empty sacks on my cheeks? Totally caused by high school curfews and those who failed to meet them.
I loved my mommy years. You know I did! And I didn’t mind the little daily sacrifices that I made while I was in the middle of them, either.
But I want to be clear that if I hadn’t made so many sacrifices for my best beloved babies, I would no doubt be slim, smooth and sleek right now, instead of looking a whole lot like a sack of wet cement.
So kids? If you’re Mom isn’t as pretty as she used to be? Just remember: I blame you!