Back in my early twenties, motherhood seemed more like a good way to settle down in my mid-thirties than a thing that was unsuspectingly about to take control of my entire life. I used to walk around, head in the clouds, like I had the sweetest-smelling shit of all, telling myself “when I become a mom, I’ll be the MILF-y kind who looks hot all the time, still hangs out with my friends, has an amazing, easily-balanced between home and work kind of job, and would never even THINK about driving a minivan.”
Now that I am a mom, well, I’m still not that into minivans. But the rest of that stuff is just plain hilarious. What is it about being a single twentysomething that turns you into a know-it-all bitch? No offense to my one or two young, childless readers. My qualms are mostly with my own obnoxious younger self, not you fabulous bitches.
The dictionary merely defines motherhood as “the state of being a mother.” I’d like to add an alternate definition to that: “the state of being in a permanent, childbearing-induced rut.”
It feels like motherhood has left me with a severe inability to get my shit together. Physically, mentally, and emotionally just incapable of looking and feeling awesome. Ever.
While I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way, I also know that there are moms out there who haven’t been quite so physically defeated by this hurricane we refer to as parenthood. And whoop-de-doo for them. Go buy yourselves a Sephora gift basket or something. Maybe reapply your mascara on a roller coaster or during a high-speed car chase. I don’t care. You and I aren’t likely to ever be very close anyway.
The thing is, I love my kids and they’re the best and they come first and yada, yada, yada, but I miss giving even half of a shit about what I look like when I leave the house. I don’t really want to add the obvious subtext here that my kids are the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I’m blessed and all that sentimental whatnot, but I will. It’s all gravy, folks. I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing.
But sometimes, I think, it’s okay to vent about the fact that you’re falling apart from the inside out, and that you look and feel like you’ve been hit by a truck most of the time.
I have come to a point where I don’t even care anymore about how I look. Last year, the full-length mirror in my bedroom broke and I didn’t bother to replace it for about six months. I could have replaced it sooner, but my need to see how my sweatpants matched my sneakers just wasn’t motivation enough to haul two kids out to Home Depot with me to lug home a gigantic mirror. And really, who needs another daily reminder of the ever-widening hips, increasingly disappointing wardrobe selections, deepening under-eye circles, and sudden appearance of a new wrinkle every other week?
I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting dressed up to leave the house both excites and terrifies me. Switching out pajama pants for skinny jeans, slippers for knee boots, hoodies for fitted, cashmere sweaters—in theory it sounds appealing. Looking sexy is empowering. When you look great, you feel great. It really is true.
But when your skinny jeans leave you looking anything BUT skinny, and they slouch messily around the knee area of your boots instead of perfectly hugging your pant leg the way everyone else’s seems to, and your cashmere sweater gives you pre-premenopausal hot flashes, and you find yourself daydreaming of cozy Old Navy pajamas, you can’t help thinking “what’s the fucking point??”
And that sentiment really sums it all up. What IS the point? Why bother wasting my time with nice clothes that will end up covered in tomato sauce and toddler snot? Why bother putting makeup on if taking it off is just another thing to check off my to-do list before I go to bed? Why even bother putting in my contact lenses if it means I’ll eventually run out and have to purchase more? Like diapers and groceries, those things aren’t cheap.
I don’t have a solution for any of this, so if you’ve been hoping for some advice or perhaps a sudden epiphany at the end, sorry for wasting your time. I’m a lost cause. It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and I haven’t put on a bra yet, I’m not wearing a single unstained article of clothing, and I honestly can’t even remember if I’ve brushed my teeth today. Hell, I haven’t taken a selfie since before they were called selfies.
But I can tell you this much: I have faith that it will get better eventually. I don’t know when, and I don’t know how. But someday, somehow, Mommy will look and feel good again. She has to, right? RIGHT?
I honestly have no idea.