Fine lines and Selfies

I’ve never been much into selfies. Since having my kids I find I take more, not of myself but of me and the kids. My sister and I actually invented the selfie years ago, we just didn’t know the name. haha. But on my phone there aren’t many pics of just me. And of those that exist none were taken in a bathroom and I guarantee there are no ‘duck lips’.

Kudos to anyone who loves taking selfies. I wish I had that confidence! But I generally don’t need to see myself that close up. Any time I do take a pic of myself, if I’m having a good hair day or like my new eye makeup, I tend to not like the pic, blame the lighting and delete. Snap. Delete. Snap. Delete. Snap *gasp* DELETE!!!! I recently wanted to update my facebook profile pic and considered a selfie. I took 24 I’d say. 3 were maybe’s. I was so unsure, I sent the one I hated least to a friend to ask her if I looked weird. Then I sent the same pic to my husband and also asked my kids for their honest opinions. Despite getting approval from all of the above, I still haven’t posted it.

What I did post recently on Facebook was a trip down memory lane. I put up 30+ pictures from the last 20 years. I generally don’t like myself in pics so of course I chose the ones that I didn’t hate. In fact, some of them I actually liked and I couldn’t help but wonder if at the time the pic was taken did I like what I saw or did I pick myself apart (like I do now). We are all our own worst critics after all.

There were two things I noticed about these pics. 1) My hair hasn’t changed in two decades (give or take an inch or side bang versus full) and 2) I looked younger. Keep in mind these pics spanned 20 years so in some of them I was in my teens. But even the ones from 10 years ago, I looked like a baby. I was completely carefree, had no real responsibilities, lived at home with my parents, worked full time, had someone cook all my meals (thanks mom!), do my laundry (thanks mom!), and I slept well. Frig, I used to come home from university (okay and work) and take a nap for an hour before supper. So no wonder I looked younger. I also looked relaxed and rested.  Because I was. Why the hell didn’t I take more selfies back then??? Lol

Recently (even months before I had this trip down memory lane) I have become obsessed with something about myself that seems to have changed over the last few years. It was something I noticed in pics. I looked different somehow. My eyes, they looked tired (and not just during the 2 year zombie stage when Camryn refused to sleep at night). From what I could tell, my dark circles were more prominent and I had these little lines that weren’t there before. Hmmm……how did that happen? When did that happen??

In reality, of course I don’t look the same as I did 20 years ago! I’m not the same person. How could I be? I’ve had so much more life experience. From graduating university and getting my first car and job to moving away and starting over, getting married, buying a house, pregnancies, kids, miscarriage, and struggling with post-partem and anxiety. It turns out the everyday stress of life, love and motherhood has a funny way of wearing on your face. I guess in my mind, it was that somehow my eyes were revealing my truths.

And the biggest truth of all was that I’m getting older. It was like I was suddenly announcing to the world that I was not 20 , or even 30 years old anymore. So I started spending way too much money on creams and serums designed to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. When I bought an Oil of Olay anti-aging cream at the drugstore last summer I was hoping the young perky 20 year old serving me would ask me if I was buying this cream for someone else because SURELY it wasn’t for me! Of course she never, but I was just glad she didn’t ask me if I needed a pack of Depends to go with my eye cream. What I did need was 8 new under-eye concealers. Yes, 8! I bought any concealer (any price) that promised to brighten my eyes and conceal dark circles. You know the ones that give you the instant ‘awake ‘look!  Well, I call bullshit. It turns out if you don’t sleep well and you’re not in your 20’s, no cream or concealer can make you look rested (or younger). It’s a fact of life.  Suck it up and deal with it.

I’ve decided to do just that – to stop worrying about stupid shit like my under eyes (which, when compared to friends my age are no worse than anyone else’s. Sorry ladies, I’ve been Zooming!!) Why? Because the reality is, in this day and age, I’m lucky that I don’t have more serious issues to deal with. There are women my age with breast cancer and other diseases who have to worry about such things as how their kids will manage if something happens to them. This realization makes me feels so foolish and yet so lucky. I work in a job where I’m reminded daily how blessed I am to have the life I do. I have the luxury of getting wrinkles and I hope and pray I get the opportunity to have a face full of them. I want to earn each and every one.

I also have a husband who loves me, and has since I was 17 years old. While he may have contributed to some of my wrinkles (from both laughter and tears), he doesn’t look at pictures of me and suggest we try from another angle because my face looks fat (he’d get a punch if he did!! Lol). My kids don’t look at pictures of me and say ‘wow mom, your dark circles are really noticeable in that shot, can we re-take it?’. They don’t notice if my hair desperately needs to be cut (or washed, depending on the day). They see me as I am and they love what they see. They see ME. And I want to see myself the way they see me.

So from today on I vow to criticize myself less. I plan to take more pics, maybe even selfies, and to be less concerned with my new found ‘fine lines and wrinkles’. I will take more and delete less. While I still find it weird to think that I am closer to 40 than I am 30, I plan to take care of myself (and not in the form of expensive eye creams) so that in 20 years time when I look back at pics the only thing I will think to say is, ‘my goodness, look how happy I look”.

Take care of yourself. From the inside, out.





All by myself

This weekend, my husband had to ‘go home’ (to the city we grew up in, which is 2 hours from where we live now) for a sporting event. At first we had all planned to go- me, hubby and the kids.  I usually welcome such weekends away to see family and friends, and shop in a mall that has more than 4 stores.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I’d send the kids in with their dad (to stay at Nana’s) and I’d stay home. Alone. All weekend. I repeat: ALONE. ALL. WEEKEND. 2 nights and 2.5 days all by myself.

And here I am. Aside from the howling of the wind outside and the growling of my stomach (because I’ve been eating nothing but peanut butter and cheerios since yesterday), I’m sitting here in silence. It really is golden.

I’m one of those mothers who spends pretty much 24/7 with her kids (outside of my working hours). If you see me somewhere in town, 9 chances out of 10 my kids are not far behind. I live in a small town with no family support and my hubby works shift work (thus works and sleeps at weird times) and has more extra-curricular activities than me, so it’s just me and the kids a lot. And I’m too cheap to pay a sitter while I run to Sobeys, so we go together or we do without 😉

The idea of having a weekend alone excited me far too much. I was told I was worse than a kid at Christmas. It was true. It’s truly the little things that bring me joy and for me yesterday it was coming home from work to an empty house. I had no one to cook for, no one giving me attitude, no one to referee, no one to bathe, no one to discipline. No legos to step on or toys to help clean up. I was free.

So naturally, I ate a crappy supper, did my exercise videos in peace without almost smacking one of my kids in the head with my dumbbell or having them crawl under my legs as I do my squats or hold plank. I danced around my living room with music on bust, curtains open (sorry neighbors), and I sang along and danced like no one was watching. That’s what they say to do, right? Well, I did it. Then I binge watched my shows and crawled into bed an hour later than usual (party animal, I know!).

This, ladies and gentleman, was the moment I was waiting for. SLEEP. Not broken sleep like I get every damn night, but true sleep. Consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep. You see, I live on broken sleep and I can’t blame my kids. My husband is loud. So when he’s coming and going at midnight (from hockey) or 4am (from work), I wake up. When he’s making popcorn or nachos or deep frying French fries at midnight or 4am, I wake up. When he gets in bed and says good night and starts snoring, I wake up. Add to this the odd time my youngest wakes for a) his blankie to be placed over him or b) to tell me he loves me, it makes for a lot of broken sleep. Of course my oldest wakes up at 5:15am on the regular so I can’t catch a break. I’d never wear my Fitbit to bed to track my sleep because it would depress the shit out of me.  So last night I got in bed and I slept for 10 solid hours straight. I don’t even know if I woke once. I never rolled out of bed until 8:45am. That may as well be noon for me. I felt rested for the first time in, well, 7 years.

The house was empty. Quiet. It was so weird I had to turn on the radio to drown out the silence. But with my fellow mama’s in mind, I took advantage of it, soaked up every moment……and I cleaned. My sister said ‘fuck cleaning, do whatever you want’. I laughed because that’s what I wanted to do -clean.  I cleaned my house from top to bottom. In peace. Not a rushed job because someone needed me or my attention. You could eat off my floors today, and not because there is dried food stuck to it. I cleaned the bathrooms and 5 minutes later there was no pee on the floor or toilet seat. My house stayed clean. And when I was mopping the floors I didn’t have to be a walking, talking wet floor sign, warning small feet to be careful not to slip. I also didn’t have to curse at big feet for walking right across my freshly mopped floors with dirty ol’ work boots. It was glorious.

I ran errands (alone!!) because tonight I am getting together with a few friends for drinks (something else that doesn’t happen very often, let me tell ya). Because I had a decent sleep, I imagine staying up past 10pm won’t be a problem. And I can stay out late because I won’t have anyone waking me up throughout the night or at 5am. I’m gonna have some drinks, eat too much junk and enjoy myself. Even if I do have to pay for it tomorrow.

The truth is, I do miss my kids, I swear. I’ve called them 3 times since they left. I’ve texted with my mother, mother in law and my hubby to check in on them about 25 times. To make matters worse, to my surprise Aiden cried to break his heart yesterday because he didn’t want to leave me. I honestly felt sick to my stomach as they pulled out of the driveway, regretting my decision to send them in. I felt guilty.  Even though I knew that I need this break, that I deserve this weekend alone, I felt greedy for wanting this time to myself. I shouldn’t, but I did.

I learned the hard way that I need to make time for myself, to do things for myself. While I’ve gotten better at doing that (Zumba, walks (alone or with my buddy) and occasional movie or dinner dates), its weekends like this that help give me the true break I need. Not only do I feel recharged, it’s also a nice reminder of how lucky I am to have my family. To have kids that I get to tuck in at night and tell me they love me. It gives us a chance to miss one another. It also gives my kids a chance to spend time with their grandparents and cousins. So there are pros for all of us, not just me.

Tonight, I’ll put on something other than my yoga pants or work clothes and I’ll do my hair and makeup like I’m 25 again (only this time I’ll have crow’s feet to try to cover up the best I can (haha)). I’ll enjoy my kid free night. Then I’ll come home late and hopefully sleep late tomorrow morning. I’ll need the rest because tomorrow is back to reality.  I know the second I wake I’ll sit and stare at the clock, waiting for my little men to arrive home so I can give them a weekend full of hugs and I’ll kiss their faces until they tell me to stop. And even then I won’t. I’ll go back to being a referee and will likely be back to wanting to pull my hair out 10 mins after they get back. But that’s it! That’s life! That’s motherhood. You take the good with the bad. There’s no way around it.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

P.S. That’s bullshit- I’d totally change Aiden’s 5am wake up time for sure. But that’s it, I swear. I don’t want to be greedy, right? 😉