What I gave up……


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!

31 thoughts on “What I gave up……

    • But, see, you still have the beautiful glowing skin and the smooth jawline. Plus, you have never, ever had bags under your eyes! And for the most part, your boobs are still above your knees.

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  1. I remember you as a beautiful young mom, then a beautiful middle aged mom. Don’t you dare bemoan your big crazy hair- I inherited it and I LOVE IT! You have half the wrinkles most women your age do, and none of the pasty/ashy skin. I have my fingers crossed that it’s Sicilian genetics and olive oil intake so I get it, too! You raised me to take care of myself and to know that beauty was more than makeup and jewelry. I looked up to that as a kid and a teen looking toward adulthood, and as an adult I look forward to middle age following you as my model still, so don’t be hard on yourself! I’m still following in your footsteps.

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    • Aw…..I think my jowls just receded a bit from reading this!
      I know and truly believe that beauty is internal, and that it is the heart and the spirit that count.
      Still…..looking in the old mirror ain’t what it used to be!
      But thank you, bellissima. Just remember, you got a head start on all this because you’ve been gorgeous since you were born. And I should know!

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  2. I blame my son too. And my health. And anything else that I possibly can. You know what? We should have been born earlier — when Reubinesque was fashionable.

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  3. You know what is funny? I’m currently in that insanity right now, with three kids under 5. I read this, and I’m totally aware that the exact same thing is happening to me, but am powerless to stop it. It is like having an out of body experience. I fully plan on reminding my children every day for every and any possible thing I can manage to pin on them. That is one of the purposes of having children, after all, isn’t it???

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    • Ah, you are so wise for one so young!
      Absolutely. I now know that I had kids for three reasons: to lift heavy loads,
      to embarrass with hugs in public places
      and serve as my excuse for everything I didn’t get done!
      Have fun with those little ones.
      The jowls are totally worth it.

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  4. I read this last night, and went to bed smiling…
    I did it in my 20’s, and now it looks like I’m doing it over again with the granddaughter…How did I ever get good meals on the table when I had THREE of them running around?
    Oh, yeah. I *didn’t*…not often, anyway. Suddenly, Fish Sticks look appealing again…
    Shudder.
    And if my once-cute figure suffered the first time around, it’s terrifying to imagine what it’ll look like once this one’s in high school! 😉

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  5. You put it beautifully. When it all has a reason like that, it doesn’t seem so bad. Just like my elephant sag of a belly button that I blame on my daughter. I certainly wouldn’t trade her.

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  6. This is brilliant! I never thought to blame it on them 🙂 As for you, I am sure that you are not as far gone as you think. I have (for the most part) decided that while I will never be a model, it would be far to difficult to maintain the status anyways. I would prefer just to be me – most of the time. (Tell me that when I look in the mirror in the hallway, will you please? 😉

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    • Funny timing…..My gorgeous daughter gave me a talking-to this morning about how attractive I am, and how it is all about the internal spirit, and all that……I bought it, too!
      Then I spent some time with a group of my students, who took pictures of me in a wig and fake glasses (Loooooong story).
      Yeah. I am wicked old and funny lookin’ No getting around it.
      I blame those damn kids!

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  7. It is the Sicilian blood. My 74-year-old mom has hardly any wrinkles. And yes, it is hard to work fulltime with kids and have time for yourself. For years I woke up at “dark-thirty” so I could exercise. Now I can I sleep in with the eldest out of the nest and the youngest pretty self sufficient.

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    • Hi, Joanne!!! So funny to me that you have found me out here in the “blogosphere”!
      See, the difference between you and I is that you got up at “dark-thirty” to exercise. I got up at “dark-thirty” to make a good breakfast…..We may both be Sicilian, but you are of the “gorgeous Sicilian” variety. I am of the “wet cement” variety!

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  8. LOL! Ok this is too funny…I was just looking in the mirror wondering what ever happened to the pretty me. Seems someone took her and replaced her with frumpy me. Humph!

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