Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Wrinkle Cream Named Denial

"I think I'm using the wrong facial moisturizer, or wrinkle cream, or whatever," I whisper to my friend. "These women all look at least five years younger than me."

I'm at a playgroup run by a local organization - a way for Moms to get together one morning a week, bring their kids, have a cup of coffee and do a little socializing in between breaking up toddler fights. When Greta was small, we went every single week without fail. We were new in town, and it was a great way to meet other Moms with preschool aged kids. Greta always wore cute little seasonally appropriate outfits -- her socks even matched her hair ribbons. I would be showered, dressed to the nines and well accessorized before we left the house, ready to make small talk with the best of them.

"Wow, that's a head scratcher," my friend whispers back, rolling her eyes. "Maybe that is because they ARE at least five years younger than you."

I look around and realize she's right. When did this happen? Most of the Moms there have one preschooler and a toddler or a baby, or maybe they are pregnant with their second child. They are talking about teething, immunizations, and when to wean. Their dewy complexions taunt me.

I haven't been to this playgroup since Greta was three and Finn was an infant. Today, along with my friend's son, Finn is the oldest kid in the room. My friend and I are sitting off to the side, silently sipping our lattes and grateful for a few moments of peace. We have no interest in small talk; silence is golden in our lives. We are the oldest people in the room.

I have become, without noticing it, that harried Mom of school aged kids I used to see in the supermarket. I would be primly pushing my adorable 19 month old along in the cart -carrying a bag full of snacks and drinks for her in case she got hungry or thirsty, along with an educationally enriching toy or two - and wondering what in the heck those other Moms are so stressed about.

Now I know. They are stressed because their 1st grader decided she is a descendant of polar bears and won't wear her coat even in 20 degree weather. Their 4 year old, who didn't have to go to the bathroom when they left the house, is whining that he has to go potty. There is no food in the fridge, and they have to bring cheese and crackers (no peanut products, please!) to the classroom open house the next morning. They have already carted their kids to the library, soccer and CCD, and have to get back to get homework done, dinner on the table and complete the entire week's reading log in one night.

I am lucky if my kids are even wearing socks when we leave the house, let alone matching ones. My daughter won't let me anywhere near her hair with a brush, and prefers to pick out her own outfits - even if it is a tee shirt and flowy skirt in December. Now, instead of obsessing about cute accessories, I find myself saying, "no, you can NOT wear socks with flip flops. It's snowing."

And me? Long gone are the days of showering and doing my hair before I'll step foot outside my house. In a bitter twist of irony, I used to get all dolled up because I wanted to be presentable and put together so I could meet new people. Now I know a lot of people in town, and they are all shopping at Target on the morning I go there hoping my pajama bottoms can pass for sweatpants, my hair sticking out crazily under the baseball cap I crammed on my head as I ran out the door.

I should stop worrying about playgroups and facial moisturizers and have some Moms of pre-teens over for coffee.

I have a lot to learn.

11 comments:

  1. I guess that I am glad that I was too busy to get my act in order to join playgroup this year.

    I went out the other day with the sticker still on my new shirt.

    Great post!

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  2. My friend did errands after dropping her toddler off at nursery school. She noticed that people in the stores gave her a funny look. When she got home, she found that the post-it note that should have been on her toddler had instead become fixed to her shoulder-length hair. She had unknowingly spent the morning with a note saying: "Today I'm wearing underpants!" True story.

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  3. Sunny ~ that has to be a true story! You can't make that stuff up!
    I can so relate to everything you wrote.
    Funny ~ I worried so much before that my children looked perfect because I was so focused on covering up the unmanagable mess that alcohol had created out of my life. Now that I am sober, peaceful, and content (usually), I no longer worry about what other people think. What they think is none of my business. I don't obsess over the fact that William will only wear his navy blue Osh Kosh sweatshirt that is stretched, faded, and has the zipper half falling out. He feels comfortable and safe. I embrace the fact that Mallory steps out confidently in her summer tank top over her tie-dyed t-shirt over her striped long sleeve shirt with a pair of nylon athletic pants that are two sizes too small. She looks beautiful and creative. I can finally love all the characteristics I knew I wanted to foster in my children, and I choose not to worry if others recognize them as things to be celebrated. Hopefully my children will grow up to accept their thoughts and feelings as "normal," and not try to numb them away as I did for years.

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  4. Wait until your kids are in high school - then you become harried AND frumpy...
    xo
    LBC

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  5. Great post. Similarly, I have become the greyhaired middle aged mother wandering around the shops with an impeccably made up and glamourous teenage daughter - I am not sure how that happened either, but I am not any more organised than in the first days of school - younger daughter was the only one in Guides last week who came in uniform rather than Christmas fancy dress and forgot a Secret santa present. Oh dear.

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  6. I can so identify. Especially this month. Personal hygiene (i.e. combing hair) and personal style (i.e. clean clothes, matching socks) have given way so I can get everything done this holiday season.

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  7. Yes, yes, you should have me over for coffee. I can tell you about the Wikihow page I found him reading last month and the girl in the green shirt...and the book...

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  8. I'll always remember when Aria was about 3 - before John was born- and I went to the mall and as I was leaving a store the clerk came up to me and said "You are the best Mom! You are so patient with your daughter and there are so many moms that just yell at their kids". Well I carried that comment around like a badge of success for about 6 months, feeling like the perfect mother. Then John was born. Then Ella. And now I look back on that comment and think sometimes that I am the worst mother - I am definitely the one yelling at my kids. Then I realize that no one is perfect -especially not me! - and I accept the fact that I can't control everything. My kids want to dress themselves too and most of the time they want to wear sweatpants to church, fancy dresses to the supermarket and no socks in the winter. Oh well!

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  9. Are you unable to cope with the wrinkles in your face? If your facial deformity is making you unattractive in front of your hubby and he is drifting away from you, then it is time for you to find out an appropriate solution. A host of skincare treatments are available to erase the wrinkles from your face completely but if you opt for the Revitol cream, the look of your face would be entirely changed and the lines on your face would be a matter of a bygone era. Revitol cream is a product of the Revitol company and all Revitol natural skincare products are available for you at www.herbsncures.com/.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Are you unable to cope with the wrinkles in your face? If your facial deformity is making you unattractive in front of your hubby and he is drifting away from you, then it is time for you to find out an appropriate solution. A host of skincare treatments are available to erase the wrinkles from your face completely but if you opt for the Revitol cream, the look of your face would be entirely changed and the lines on your face would be a matter of a bygone era. Revitol cream is a product of the Revitol company and all Revitol natural skincare products are available for you at www.herbsncures.com/.

    ReplyDelete