It’s taken me a while to understand that I’ve been letting myself go.
I was looking in the mirror the other day when something caught my eye. “So, that’s what they mean by ‘fine lines’,” I said to myself. “DAMN it.”
And then, a couple of nights ago, I was flipping through a “Victoria’s Secret” catalog when three things occurred to me at once: “Hey, those underthings are meant to be worn without clothes on top!” “Hmmm… it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve worn anything like that.” And “I can’t imagine feeling good enough about myself to put that on right now.”
And I realized… letting yourself go isn’t just a matter of being out of shape physically. It’s a matter of being out of shape emotionally and mentally, too.
The physical part is probably the easiest to remedy, and that’s hard enough. Emotionally and mentally, it’s been so long since putting myself first was second nature to me that, I have to admit, I’m both envious and a little resentful of the people who seem to do it so effortlessly.
Back to those little lines. I’ve spent years moisturizing my skin faithfully and ignoring commercials for anti-aging solutions and serums because I didn’t think they applied to me yet. I thought that the fact that I was so careful about my skin meant that a.) I wouldn’t end up with wrinkles too soon and b.) I was taking care of myself pretty well. Turns out, I’m not, really. Not at all. I know I need to make time to do it, but honestly, I find myself standing in my bathroom at night, desperate to wash my hair without an audience and yet so equally desperate for sleep that I’m considering forgoing the hairwash so I can go to bed 20 minutes earlier. Make time… how?
I’m not insecure about my looks, per se, though I’m not delusional — I know I’m not getting any younger, and I know that I can’t blame baby weight for the extra 15 pounds I’ve packed on my 5-foot-3 frame, not with a 2-year-old scampering about the house. I don’t buy into the “40 is the new 30!” hype, and I don’t expect to look like Angelina Jolie after popping out a few kids. (Interestingly enough, Angelina Jolie doesn’t expect to look like Angelina Jolie anymore, either. Except, of course, she does.)
As working moms, do we have a worse body image than the average woman because we’re being scrutinized at work as well as at home and by society in general? Or is ours better than average, because we simply don’t have the time to deal with the details?