During a recent family gathering, I crossed paths with a relative in my grandmother’s cozy kitchen. She was putting pulled pork and deviled egg leftovers back into the refrigerator. As I closed the refrigerator door, I noticed a picture of me and my husband before kids securely hanging directly in front of us. In this particular picture, I was glowing and carefree; my expression anticipated the joys of future motherhood.
After relishing in those moments of past freedom, I realized my relative noticed the picture too.
“Oh, you were so young here! How long ago was that?”
“Umm, actually only a little over a year ago. Kids apparently have aged me.”
*Insert awkward silence/quick change of subject here.*
I appreciate honesty. I wouldn’t want my relative to reassure me that my appearance remains youthful when it doesn’t. Although twenty-five years old, much has happened in my life forcing me to grow up quickly. My husband and I went from just the two of us to a family of four all in the span of one year. Although I wouldn’t change a thing about those events, I have been reflecting on my unwanted aged appearance and thinking about what this rapid beauty decline will mean for me when I’m thirty *gasp!*
I need to either come to terms with this aging thing or figure out a way to stop it before my 50th birthday party is spent with my hair in curlers reviewing nursing home pamphlets. Since I stay at home with the kids and simply won’t hire a nanny while I head to the gym or spend the day being pampered instead of getting a day job, I figured coming to terms with the aging process seemed to be the right way to go.
The first step is to admit there is a problem. The next step is to make excuses. So, I created a list of the top five
excuses reasons for early aging:
- No time for physical care: Of course I make time for proper hygiene, but I’ve had to say goodbye to the daily smooth legs, three step skincare routines, and moisturizing hair masks. Sure, they were nice when I used them, but if I have spare time at the end of the day, I will choose Netflix and BBQ chips in a heartbeat. You expect shaved legs? Find me on a Sunday. It’s my scheduled twenty-minute shower day, and I’ll be rubbing them too.
- No sleep: Back in the days of college and staying up late to study for final exams, I would feel tired going into the next day. I thought that was my maximum exhaustion. Then, kids came along. I didn’t realize past weekends spent catching up on sleep now actually looked the same as a typical Monday-Friday. I think walking around like a Zombie 24/7 automatically ages a person. And there isn’t enough night cream in the world to reverse the zombie effect.
- No daily changes: You know how machines wear down over time from doing the same thing over and over? That’s my life filled with monotonous routines. Wake, feed, change, mediate, rescue, repeat. My inner mechanical parts start to become run down a little bit more every day. Without the hopes of a spontaneous venture, my internal engine becomes parched from running on empty for so long. Don’t they say hydration is crucial for anti-aging even if it’s simply water for the soul? I believe I read that somewhere credible.
- No excessive immaturity: I get the daily fun of acting like a kid during playtime and using my imagination, but in the end, someone has to be the adult. I often look around waiting for the adult to show up only to realize the adult is me. With wisdom and maturity comes wrinkles and grays. Oh, how I wish wisdom came with a magic wand instead.
- No extra spending money: When you have to pay for formula, diapers, activities, and clothes, there is less money to go around for self-care. Traveling or days spent at the spa to destress soon become nonexistent. Money for the latest skincare or diet plan? I wish. Basically, the more kids you have the less money is spent on frivolous bliss. Money…I’m sorry I took advantage of you before. But if you were here now, I would probably have to give you to a babysitter anyway.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and point out the imperfections of my aging reflection. I notice the unwanted crows feet or the purple half-moons that hug underneath my eyes. I try to change my perspective and smile at the lines that echo laughter and the natural beauty my eventful life has afforded me. In the end, I take a deep breath, hurriedly dab on some concealer, and learn to embrace the rapid incline of aging as a thriving mother. I hope you will too.
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