A little vanity isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I’m starting to think it’s necessary if you want to make it through the first few years of motherhood with your sanity semi-intact.
I say that because at varying points in the last four-and-a-half years, I’ve been that mom. You know, the one who forgets to re-clip her nursing bra and whose boobs are subsequently lopsided. The one who walks out of the house with spit-up on her shoulder and doesn’t realize it for a good hour. The one who occasionally eats a Peppermint Pattie for breakfast and wonders if that counts as brushing her teeth because she’s running late.
Yeah, that’s me. And chances are, that’s occasionally you, too.
And mostly, it’s OK. Now that we’re moms, our priorities have changed, and our time is limited. Those examples above? They’re mommy war stories, and they’re the stuff you laugh about over a bottle of wine with friends.
But this is not OK at all: When my son was about a year old, I woke up and saw a wrinkle…then another…and another. On my face. Forehead creases, little laugh lines from the perpetual dopey-mommy smile on my face, deepened crow’s feet. It seemed like they had literally appeared overnight.
What the heck had happened? I wracked my brain and finally realized that I’d been spending a heck of a lot more time in the sun. Walking across town so I didn’t have to risk baby’s life and limb in a cab. Putting my son in the Ergo and showing him the sights in Central Park. Taking music classes outside.
Even though I obsessively protected my little guy from the sun, I hadn’t been taking anywhere near the same precautions with myself. Yes, I put on sunscreen, but I wasn’t reapplying. And I had ditched my trademark wide-brimmed hats because they weren’t practical in a breeze, let alone while trying to wrangle a squirmy baby. Somehow I couldn’t find the time to buy a more practical hat, even though there was a practical-hat shop just two blocks away from my apartment.
Again, not OK.
Do my newfound wrinkles matter to my kids? Of course not. And when their eyes light up when they look at me, it doesn’t matter all that much to me either. Those wide, dopey smiles of mine aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
That said, you’d better damn well believe that I’m taking control of the little things to stop those wrinkles from multiplying. Life did not end, after all, when Mommy became a mommy. So here’s my (unsolicited) advice to you, so you don’t wake up shell-shocked one morning like I did: Invest in some really good sunscreen and anti-aging products. And for the love of God, wear a hat.