On Mommy Martyrdom

Why, oh why, do us moms go out in schlumpy, stained, clothes while our honey-darlings are dressed to the nines? And, really--wearing a nightgown to the pool is never a good idea...

After a small "break", I'm getting back to writing again.  I realized that I hadn't been taking the best care of myself lately, and wanted some time to schedule some long awaited (and totally procrastinated) doctors' appointments, surgeries, and other things.  Instead, after my first afternoon at the local pool, perhaps I should have reconsidered what "taking care of myself" meant.  While it's lovely to know that I will soon be up to date on my "lady doctor" appointments (I mean, I only procrastinated a little bit...) and I finally got my neck and back problems looked into (they've only hurt for 30 straight years...  I've kind of gotten used to it by now), I think that my time and co-pays should have been put to a different cause.


Like laser hair removal.


And micro-dermibrasion.


And Weight Watchers with a side of Boot Camp.


And a bathing suit made within this decade, with a coverup that doesn't look like a potato sack.


I mean, holy crappola!  Before, in the good old days before kids and mortgages and pretending to be grown up, I'd just pick out a few suits from Hecht Co. or Woodies (gee, am I dating myself?) and grab an adorable beach dress as a cover up and head out to the beach after a quick date with a two-bladed pink razor.


Then, after I had a couple of munchkins, I bought a couple Lands End tankinis with the little skirt (made popular by Kate on "Jon and Kate Plus 8") and threw on a pair of cute Eliza B. flip flops and worried more about how many extra swim diapers I had in my beach bag, and whether my pedicure was up to date.


Now?  Well, after what I saw this summer, I've slid a bit past "shabby chic" to just plain shabby.


Even with a five-blade razor and half a gallon of Nair, I apparently missed huge swaths of leg and other parts.  I looked like I had a bad case of mange. Add that to the bruises on my legs from playing with kiddos for a decade or so, and  marks from kneeling on the tiles for thousands of bubble baths, I have pemanent pressure bruises on my knees.  I can only imagine the snickers about those bruises...


Those cute tankinis from 10 years ago?  Yep, I'm still wearing them.  Ten years and twenty (ahem...) pounds later.  Thankfully, the spandex is slowly dying from age and repeated washing, so I can still claim to "fit" into them.  Oh, and did I mention--last year I made it on the front page of The Capital (above the fold!  yippee!!) in said tankini.  In all my pasty, lumpy glory.  Yep--not even that humiliation was enough for me to go through the drama of a new suit.  Or two.  Oh, and did I mention--my "cover up" doubles as my nightgown.  Yep.  I was going to the pool in my "pa-jay-jays".  Classy...




But, I've noticed that it's not just me out there in an outdated, sagging swimsuit and a half-cocked sunscreen application, while our kids are outfitted in adorable bathing suits with matching rash-guards and sunglasses, basking in the joy of the pool while lovingly rubbed down in SPF 55 Aveno sunscreen.  It's not just me that buys the new bottles of sunscreen for the kids, but uses the old, slightly coagulating bottle from last year that's completely out of date (wouldn't want to waste that sunscreen when billions of people around the world don't even have access to clean water...)


And, I think it has something to do with martyrdom.  Mommy martyrdom.  Mixed with a bit of guilt for good measure.


And, I'd really like to throw that recipe away.  For good.


So many of us go out of our ways to make sure our kids have the best we can afford for them.  Whether it's bathing suits and sunscreen, or dental cleanings and well-child check ups.  And, I know I'll do it at my own expense, as I suspect many other moms to do.  I'll be dragging myself around with a virulant case of pneumonia and ebola--yet refuse to go to the doctor, or even admit I'm the slightest big sick to begin with.  It's just an allergy.  Or sinuses.  Or stress.


But, one of the kids coughs funny and I'm all over them like white on rice. Feeling for fevers, scheduling same-day appointments with the pediatrician, rubbing their chests and feet with Vicks Vaporub.


Same with clothes.  As soon as a growth spurt is on the horizon (sleepy today?  did you need an extra snack?  Oh, oh--time to go shopping!!), I'm on top of it with new shoes and pajamas, shirts and jeans, socks and underwear.


Me or MacGyver?  Nah, we don't need anything new or that even fits... I prefer to ignore the holes and the straining waistbands.  I've actually gotten pretty used to walking around with holes and boob stains.  And, I'm thinking that's not very good.   Not only does it make the kiddos think they rule the roost, it's teaching them that my "job" is too look like crap but the kids look great.  And, they're going to grow up and do the same thing.  And, I don't want to teach my daughter that it's okay to look schlumpy when she has kids.  I want her to feel wonderful about herself, and proud of herself regardless of a few extra pounds of flabby flesh and stretch marks.  I want her to feel it's not selfish to eat her own meal, and not just the leftovers from everyone else's plates.  To feel entitled to clothes that don't have stains, holes, and that actually fit and look nice.  That she doesn't have to put her own needs (or reasonable wants) aside for the sake of her children.


And, the way she will learn that is to watch me.  And the other moms.  We are all, ultimately, responsible for teaching our children how to behave in this world.  And being a martyr to parenthood is not how I ever want my kids to behave.  And, I doubt there are too many of us out there that would wish that for our kids.


And, on that note, I think I'll go clean out my closets (again) and start vowing to teach self-respect and balance to my kiddos.  Wish me luck!!!

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Christine Wagner October 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
@Beth--I totally remember Garfinkles! My favorite yellow sweater and stirrup-pants from 9th grade came from there. Ah, the memories... @Jenn--thanks sweetie!
Beth October 04, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Christine, I once had my hair cut in their window in their downtown store! :) Fun times, now I personally could model for the Goodwill catalogue! haha
Maryann October 05, 2012 at 01:22 AM
So very true! Thanks for the reminder :)
Christine Wagner October 05, 2012 at 06:28 PM
@Beth--maybe we could both volunteer as models for Goodwill! :) @Maryann--thanks!!
Beth October 05, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Christine, I'm aspiring to be a Plus size model with my new found love of anything in a bag, box or carton! haha!


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