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.