Friday, September 16, 2011

515. I Don't Have Enough Time To Be Pretty

A strange, strange phenomenon has occurred in my life since I had children and hit my 40’s, and that is: I’m tired. I wake up tired, in the middle of the day I’m tired, and when I cannot fall back asleep sometimes at 3 AM when I am awake for no reason I am still tired. What this means is that I’ve had to prioritize in my life, really evaluate what needs doing, as in, downright essential, and what does not need to be accomplished so much as it is a “nice to have.” Being pretty falls into the category of “nice to have.”

Wash dirty dishes? Essential. Buy milk? Must do. Throw away tsunami of junk mail before it threatens to engulf our entire front entry hall? Crucial. Help child with homework assignment which involves counting how many plugs and light switches are in the house and approximating the dollar amount spent per plug/ switch per month by analyzing the latest electric bill? Urgent. Spend one hour blow-drying my hair? Not so much.

Here is a list of things that no longer fight for time-slots in my day:

• Make-up: eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick, or any of these components separately
• Shampooing hair
• Conditioning hair
• Drying hair (see above)
• Curling hair (I have long, stringy hair)
• Hair-spraying hair
• Brushing hair
• Putting cute barrette in hair
• Jewelry of any kind (plastic Timex watch does not count)
• Dry cleaning nice outfit (vs. desperately pawing through heap of wrinkled but clean clothes on basement floor five minutes after I should have left for work)
• Ironing outfit
• Manicure 
• Pedicure 
• Flossing teeth
• Doing a good and thorough job flossing teeth
• Bleaching teeth (I used to do this, I swear I did)
• Plucking eye-brows
• Polishing shoes
• Packing myself a simple and healthy lunch to take with me (vs. paying $10 for convenient junk food on my break)
• Working out in the morning (or any time of day for that matter), which includes a doctor-recommended mix of cardio and weight training
• Walking to work to my new top-secret job, which is literally a half mile from my house (vs. driving and then lying about it to my new boss—“I live so close! I walk every day!”)

I used to be naturally beautiful, breath-taking/ super-model/ stop-and-look-again beautiful, for about a week in my 20’s. Okay, maybe more like two days.

Now, sadly, there is more work involved, and apparently, less time to do it in. Is it just me, or have the 24-hour days that we were raised on suddenly morphed into 19-hour days without giving us any advance notice? I would actually be happy if this were the case, because it would explain a lot.

Every morning, I focus on my kids: Getting them up, making insightful wardrobe recommendations (“I don’t care, as long as it’s clean!”), making their breakfast, politely reminding them that it would be a good idea to brush their teeth (“Brush! Teeth! Now!”), helping them retrieve their (unfinished) homework from the previous day (this might be when I am first informed of the counting-of-the-plugs accounting experiment and advanced calculus problem), locating their coats (which I know I saw in the front closet yesterday), getting their shoes from the Great Mystery Shoe Places scattered around our home …

Have I proved my point yet? I don’t have time to be pretty.

I haven’t even talked about cleaning up the house. Dishes. Laundry. Mail. Unmade beds.

The Husband and I have an understanding, and that is: either I can be pretty, the house can be pretty, or the kids can be pretty. But not all at once.

I catch sight of myself in the rearview mirror on the short drive to work. Ack! Who’s she? She is not that girl from that weekend in 1994, the one who was mistaken for a model. Not even close. She is a mom, a tired mom, who is tired of fighting the war against the Not Pretty. Okay, Not Pretty, you win.

This time.



  1. This Resonates To My Very Core. You are my soul mate. Because you can't be my twin. I was only super model pretty for 2 seconds. And it was only in a blurry picture.

  2. I have decided that turning 40 means waking up hungover without the fun of the night of drinking!


  3. Lori E,

    So glad you get it! (because I often find The Husband staring wistfully at our wedding picture and petting the frame while mumbling something about "She was soooo lovely," and "Bait and switch" something-or-other.)

    I forgot to add in the blog post (and now I wonder what the best way to modify it, if I should, see-- hyper Virgo!) that Pretty is a MORNING adventure. Who cares if you are pretty in the afternoon? or at night in your living room? Pretty must happen before 7 AM, or Pretty gets violently shoved to the side in favor of Passable. Passable has low self-esteem and her self-confidence has fallen to perilous depths, but Pretty is a greedy time monster, and Passable (honestly) is just a tad bit more easy-going ... as long as you put away any reflective surfaces.

    And of course we are soul mates. We can tape our Pretty photos on the wall from our model days (or photos of Cindy Crawford and Christie Brinkley and mix a round of pintinis and tell ourselves that those photos are of *US* dammit) and talk about how we blew all our millions on useless first class upgrades and over-priced shoes.



    That phrase pretty much sums it up, eh? Or: "Turning 40 means feeling like you ran a marathon when really all you did was walk back upstairs after you forgot why you went downstairs."


  4. I'll give you my twelve-year-old pretties for the Covert Mom Skills (minus the hate-favorite-food-thing) you detailed in post 378. That sounds pretty cool to me.



  5. I recently sent my husband to the
    Estee Lauder counter to pick up some eye cream I had pre-ordered. I said "I know you will have a stroke when you see the price but I've reached the age where my maintenance costs are sky-rocketing...." Not only do I not have the time to be pretty, I no longer have the money. The eye cream was a one time purchase. *sigh*

    Oh and one time? My neighbor who had only ever seen me at the morning bus stop (looking like I had monkeys nesting in my hair) invited me to a party at her house and she said " clean up good." Nice.

  6. Motaki,

    I think your soul is 42 (plus or minus about a thousand years). And I think you possess much better skills than boring old Covert Mom Skills, skills like Way Too Intuitive For Your Age. Keep those skills. They will serve you well. =)


    The Husband would have a heart attack if he knew what just my Lancome face cleanser cost ($30! There, I said it!) and I have not gone down the road of eye cream on a regular basis, but I probably should. That is most definitely next. Lucky for my face, I have the complexion of an albino ice princess mime ghost, one that burns if I so much as THINK about the sun. This has caused me to stay inside, under hats, and using so much 80 SPF sunblock at night and indoors that it gets on my pillowcase. I don't got much wrinkles. (Yet.)

    My appearance issues (and yes, they are many!!) are that I just always look ... tired, pale (did I mention I am pale? kinda like Benjamin Moore's color: alabaster ivory moon), and washed-out. I need that pop of electric blue mascara so I am not confused with a corpse.

    And the monkeys in your hair? Please. For me that might be an improvement...........


  7. I really thought that I'd have a little more time to myself when my son left for college. So far that hasn't happened. Oh, and I've got the expensive eye cream, but I'm so tired at the end of the day that I forget to use it!

  8. I used to think that till I realized my husband needed me to be pretty. (He has plenty of pretty to look at outside of our home)
    Now I take the time to pretty myself even it's before he gets home at dinner time!
    I feel some much better about myself with my hair pulled up in a clip and some mascara on.
    Trying Hard

  9. Lunch Lady,

    Valid point. Hmmmmmmm.



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