Yesterday on Facebook one of those memory reminders came up on my timeline. It was a picture from my 40th birthday party (3 years ago). This was the last time I can remember pictures being taken of me where I actually looked half decent. Since then I've just gone downhill and at remarkable speed!
Oh yes, I looked the best I could on my wedding day, last year - but I'd had my hair and make up done, by a professional for 5 hours! In all other snaps of me, since my 40th birthday party, I feel look 'grey', dirty, untidy and bloody awful.
Now yes, it could be my age but I'm not having that. My mum is 24 years older than me and she always looks incredible. Plus I'm not saying I want to look younger, I just want to look nice. Not tired, with dry pasty skin. I'd love my hair to be more than just long, down, witchy and brown (with increasing amounts of grey).
The one thing I don't struggle with is keeping in shape and my, 'lose weight without dieting' series will start soon, I just need to get my head round the best way to tell you about it. Of course, I'd like to feel fitter, firmer and just for want of a better word juicier, but on the whole I'm happy with my shape.
I'm not even going to patronise myself by saying, oh but I'm so happy and happiness is a beauty that shines brighter than any make over, because it doesn't. I look and feel dowdy and Winter is such a little bitch for draining you of any colour and highlighting any flaws you may have anyway.
I also don't remember smelling like food all the time before becoming a mum, I smell of mash potatoes or beans most of the time and frankly even though I rarely eat a meal in peace, I'm constantly covered in food.
Now, I'm not blaming Phoenix but I do blame being a mother. A girl definitely has less time once she becomes a mum but it's not only the lack of time, It's also lack of care for myself. The biggest culprit for my demise though is a hefty dollop of guilt and only I am to blame for that.
Any 'time' I steal for myself, is usually because some else is taking care of Phoenix, which is either his dad or his granny. The time that I do steal, I find I am either simply and very quickly getting dressed, cleaning, writing, working, paying bills or cleaning again.
If I took the care I used to take about my looks, that would mean being selfish. Not being selfish towards Phoenix but being selfish towards his babysitters and that's where a lot of my 'mum guilt' comes in I think. I don't really feel guilty about Phoenix very often, I know I'm there for my child - but I do feel guilty if I let other people take care of him, especially if they are looking after him so I can do something that is specifically me. I have a bath at night for 15 minutes and that really is the only 'me' time I have. I get to shave my legs and chuck on some moisturiser, if I'm lucky. Honestly though, my legs are that dry at the moment and my knees are sagging so much that Phoenix has taken to pinching the old gnarled skin! Horrendous!
I know full well too, that my husband does not have the same guilt trips as me in the slightest. He will happily play on his X Box while I bath Phoenix. He has no trouble at all taking time for himself, but I really do and I know it's my problem to get rid of. No one has made me feel guilty, Ayden would happily look after Phoenix all day every day while I flounced off to look pretty. This problem I'm facing at the moment, is all down to me.
It's such a weird thing. My brain will allow me time off from being a mum to clean or work guilt free but that is it and I even find that I rush those chores, so I can get back to my role of being a mum as quickly as I can. I find myself apologising to anyone else who looks after him for taking so long while cleaning the floors or that my blog took longer than usual. I desperately need to get a grip on this, or I fear I will never look nice again!
The other shame is, I do not care enough to look nice these days. All I care about is that my little boy is OK - but I am getting sick of looking in the mirror and seeing the mess I am right now. Could this finally be the resurrection of the me who cared about looking half decent? Could I soon be forced in to daring to be a bit selfish. Maybe this disgust I feel at myself, will finally make me take that hour I desperately need for myself, at least once a week. Will I finally allow myself to do something that makes me feel good about me? Heaven forbid it but I may even allow myself to go to the hairdressers.
I know I can't be the only mum who feels like this. Who struggles with this internal fight of wanting to look nice but who is afraid to be seen as being selfish and just palming my child off on others while I selfishly treat myself to try and look nice.
See me here at my 40th birthday party, possibly the last time I could bare to see myself in pictures.
I don't want to give up on me, I want to look the best I can but I clearly need to find the courage to just occasionally be selfish. I need to give myself a day where I can do my hair and my nails, even treat myself to a hot chocolate without having to rush back. A day alone, with no one to worry about but me.
Not every day, probably not even once a month because in truth, I miss my little boy every second I'm away from him - but maybe once in a blue moon, That would be great.
I owe it to myself and to my poor husband to be nice to me again and pamper the goddess within. All mums do, every now and then we deserve a day off, to dust off the baby food and buff up our sparkle again.