I went to one of those home spa parties yesterday. You know, the kind where a very together woman slathers you with hand and foot cream and tries to sell you an increasingly expensive line of beauty products. What surprised me was how bad about myself I felt by the end of the afternoon. The salesperson, who had beautiful skin I might point out, spent the time talking about the benefits of her product and trying to recruit more people to sell it. She painted the picture of the ideal job, letting her stay at home with her kids and earn extra money and maybe even a fancy car. I spent the time looking in her little magnifying mirror seeing the blotchy and not-so-perfect skin that seems to have accompanied motherhood. It got to the point where I almost considered buying the $400 anti-aging product line she was trying to sell. Now, I’ve never been one to drop huge amounts of money on skin care, but with my income dependant on the whims of the economy, I’m glad I came to my senses.
That said, ever since, I’ve been very aware of the lines on my face and of how dry my hands feel. Generally, I’m not one for fits of self-consciousness but today I feel very far from my old, pre-kids life of TV cameras, high-end makeup and buying clothes without much thought to the budget. It’s got me thinking.
I wonder if society will ever be happy with the role of women. In the 60s it was the perfect housewife, in the 80s it was career focus and smashing the glass ceiling, and now we have this ideal of the yummy mummy. Suddenly, being a mommy is cool. On it’s own that would be great, but being a ‘yummy mummy’ is no simple proposition. The trend watching magazines are always featuring the hip and cool new moms but, with three kids to keep up with, getting a shower is a major accomplishment, looking like celebrity moms Angelina Jolie or Terri Hatcher is beyond unrealistic.
I’m really glad society is starting to give motherhood its due – it is cool to be a mom. I’m proud of the time I spend with my children. However, I think most moms – even the celebrities – will tell you it is not a glamorous job. I clean up puke, I wipe noses and I change diapers. I also have to change my shirt two or three times a day. I’d like to think I remain presentable; sometimes I even strive to look good, even if my old TV clothes are mouldering in the closet. My skin may not be prefect and my body will certainly never be the same, but I need to be okay with that. I just wish society would stop trying to tell me otherwise.
My mother has great skin and I don’t remember her ever giving up a mortgage payment for skin cream. I think I’ll call her for advice. It’s cheaper and far more reliable.