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Why, hello knife. Meet heart…

I’m having one of those days.

(Okay, so I’ve been having a string of “those days”…)

Y’know – when you’re alternately pissed off or brought near tears by any random thought or comment, for no discernible reason.  When all of your faults play themselves out on a loop in your head.  Where for the life of you, you can’t seem to get anything done the way it should be done – or done at all?

We all have them.  And please – if you don’t, just don’t tell me, because then I’d have to loathe you. Neither of us want that.

So, here I was an hour and half ago, trying to maintain a fairly stable facade of cheer and emotional stability as I sat in the pre-school pickup line.  Liam came bouncing out, all smiles and chatters about his day so far.  Generally he doesn’t require an answer to his steady stream of consciousness monologues, so I contented myself with half-listening as I navigated out of the parking lot.  Then, out of NOWHERE, he comes out with this.

“Mom.  You’re a little pretty, but not much.”

Yep.  Just like that – all matter of fact, and apropos of nothing, an unintentionally scathing judgment dropped innocently from the normally sweet lips of my precious little boy and lacerated my heart.

Now, don’t worry. After the initial biting of the lip to hold back either tears or expletives (I’m still not sure which were on their way out), I managed to calm down enough to realize that he didn’t mean it, and even if he did, he’d still love his fugly old Mom as much as ever.  But it did get me to thinking…because, as they say “Out of the mouths of babes oft time come gems!”

Have I been taking care of myself?  The answer to that is a resounding “NO”.  Have I set time aside to actually consider my appearance, beyond the basic clothing of my being so as to be allowed into the public at large?  Nope.  Have I made more than one attempt a week to style my hair in anything beyond the three second ponytail/out the door look?  Nuh-uh.  Have I bothered with makeup more than four times this month?  Not likely.

Yet until today, I *thought* I was setting a good example for Liam.  Just last week, I had him help me construct a fence, and while I was hammering the spikes into the ground, I made sure to explain to him that women (or girls) could do anything they set their minds to.  Nothing had to be a “man’s job” or a “woman’s job”.   I’m constantly on him to be polite and respectful, and have exceedingly high expectations for his behavior in public – so much so that I think some of my Mom friends think I must have run an East German women’s  prison in a former life.  I’m conscious of his appearance – I always make sure that he is dressed appropriately for any situation, and that he has everything he needs to feel confidently prepared for any activity.  He plays soccer, he plays Little League baseball, he’s starting swimming lessons again soon.  He’s active and I encourage his interests.  So, I’ve done a great job in showing him how important HE is.  But, how can I expect to teach him true respect for others if I don’t treat myself with the same?

So… what ABOUT me?  Have I somehow negated myself and “my time” in all of this?  I haven’t been to the gym in ages – it’s been months since  I went on a “girl’s night out” with my friends, and I’m pretty sure that the last time Brian and I went on a date was when I was pregnant.  (Yes – Liam has never had a babysitter.  I know, I know – shush.  That’s a whole ‘nother post.)

Since I work from home, I have very little reason to cast off the “Mom uniform” of yoga pants and t-shirt…that’s one of the perks of ghostwriting and web design.  Nobody wants to see you – they’re happy to bask in the glow of what you produce.  It’s become too easy to fall into complacency – of appearance, of expectation, of career.  This, friends, is what I believe they call a RUT.

Leave it to the five year old to bring it to my attention in his own, inimitable way.

So, while I don’t want sympathy or reassurance from you, dear readers, I would like some perspective…and perhaps some commiseration.  Am I the only one who’s allowed the sum of herself to be swallowed by forgetting the parts?  Anybody else out there also in need of a good, swift kick in the pants and a hard look in the mirror?

I, the sweat pant clad mom with pony tail, flip flops and dark undereye circles, get it.  I totally get it.

Now, let’s get it back.




8 Responses to Why, hello knife. Meet heart…
  1. Jennifer
    May 16, 2011 | 3:15 pm

    Ri! What Liam will learn is that beauty comes in different packages, shapes, colours, and ages. I think what his comment might actually reflect is how early boys and girls are socialized into thinking that men and women are “supposed” to look certain ways. Now if you really feel like you need more time for yourself– then by all means take it– but never apologize for being a “natural” woman, or for prioritizing things other than beauty regimes. That said– if such indulgences would make you feel better, and a little retail therapy might offer you a different perspective– then crack out that charge card and go for it!

    Greg just laughed when I read this to him and said I was covering all of my bases– but isn’t that what Third Wave feminism is all about? 😉

  2. Mari
    May 16, 2011 | 4:39 pm

    You are a great mom, Ri – I’ve seen proof of it! And you are an awesome woman. And you must know that the two can co-exist.

    I know that I have to give myself time to truly be myself or else I’m not happy. I first left my son with a sitter when he was just under a year, and I went kicking & screaming. I cried; it’s true. Now I know that a good sitter is worth her weight in gold. My kids see it as a fun night for them & we grown ups get to do grown up stuff that may include fancy clothes or just a lot of swear words and liquor.

    You need to allow yourself the same! Do what makes you happy; if you’re happy doing what you are doing, then keep calm & carry on. However, if you feel it’s time to change then do it, m’lady.

    And the kids … gotta love their way with the words. When my oldest was 5, he told me I was so skinny … because I had skin all over my body.
    Mari´s last blog post ..Drafts File 2- Random stuff I want to write about books

  3. Lisa Allen
    May 16, 2011 | 6:48 pm

    Um, yeah. Me, too. Gotta love the kids, but damn. RT @musicsavvymom New MSM post: Why, hello knife. Meet heart http://goo.gl/fb/O1YGS

  4. oh_pook
    May 17, 2011 | 8:01 am

    Haha, Ri!!!! God i love you!

    Kill 2 birds with one stone. You certainly have adult friends now that Liam is in school. Ask one to watch Liam while you and Brian go out on a freaking date (even if it’s just get a sno-cone at 6pm). Do the primping you haven’t been doing. Liam will love it. He knows you’re awesome. you’re his Mom!… Seeing you in a different light will allow him to see that you can choose external beauty…you just don’t. There’s lots more important stuff out there

    ^^^see above post by my freind, Ri

    the respect thing was a good question… I think you can teach him about respect in a relationship by going on a date with your Hubby! 🙂 *snerk*

    • oh_pook
      May 17, 2011 | 8:03 am

      He may even have a good suggestion on where you should go and what you might wear on your “hot date” heh heh. Odds are he’ll be excited for you, but if he’s not… being involved in the planning of the event could soften the “blow” of yu going somewhere without him.

    • Xin
      November 26, 2014 | 12:24 pm

      I am deeply almeard by Byrne’s implication that we need to start banging on about immigration. I went up for a weekend to campaign for him in the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election and though I’m not sorry to have helped defeat a particularly appalling Lib Dem, I was pretty taken aback by Byrne’s vicious leaflet campaign against “failed asylum seekers”. In my book, playing politics with asylum is just plain wrong, and as it happens I also think it’s a pretty stupid electoral strategy, at a national level at least. Byrne may choose to sell his soul to Satan, but I for one don’t want him doing the same with the Labour Party.

    • Michal
      March 7, 2015 | 10:24 pm

      in their article: there is no dicoothmy in building a broad coalition of support, or between middle and working class voters. They then go on to set one up by talking about how Labour has to push the agenda of a a small percentage of the population, when actually, we should be concentrating on everyone in the bottom two third of our income structure.Labour is not just about the middle 5%, it is about the many, not the few. Rammell and Byrne are on the verge of understanding that… but not quite there!

  5. Lisa Kearns
    May 17, 2011 | 8:37 am

    I’ve got those comments about how I look many times. I’m no great example. My son looks at my legs or armpits in horror and says, “Are you turning into a man? That’s not natural.”
    Yeah, I finally shaved a couple days ago after letting it go the whole winter. Feel better? Funny thing is, I had to explain that the hair IS natural. I also have received many candid descriptions of what I look like. I’m told I don’t look so pretty in the morning but then I get better. I’ve also been told my face “is a little bit bumpy” or “you’re kind of pretty.” The size of my stomach has also been mentioned a few times.
    You’re right, sometimes it does serve as a reminder to take care of ourselves, but mostly I just find it amusing.

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