At 34, I’ve already had my quarter-life crisis, and I’m too young for a mid-life crisis. (Right? RIGHT?) But something is definitely going on with me. I’m suddenly incredibly into the idea of totally and completely changing my physical appearance. In addition to my desire to get fit and back down to my college weight (after 3 babies, this is harder than I ever could have imagined), I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting a nose ring; getting a really short, edgy haircut; and highlighting my hair some insanely bright color. Like fiery red, or maybe turquoise. And maybe some more tattoos.
Essentially, I want to go from average, plain Jane mom to someone more along the lines of Pink.
And after much soul searching, my friends, I’ve discovered that the reason I’m feeling compelled to do this is because I want to drag myself out of what I’m terming momopause.
mom · o ·pause (noun) \mah muh poz\
The cessation of the ability to care about one’s physical appearance after having kids; period may be as brief as a few weeks after delivery or possibly permanent (usually dependent on one’s level of motivation and the number of kids one has); more than not results from loss of time to oneself for maintaining even basic hygiene (e.g., brushing teeth, showering) due to selflessly caring for others (including, but not limited to, a spouse or significant other, children, pets, strangers) and putting their needs first.
Here is where a visual may be helpful. This is me on any given day:
Eeeeeek, can’t believe I just showed a full-body shot here. Ah well, here I am in all my glory, I suppose.
Before kids I showered regularly, did my hair and makeup, and liked, at the very least, to look presentable. I enjoyed getting my nails done from time to time (or even doing them myself at home) and going clothes shopping. Today, I’m lucky if I can find a clean shirt to throw on over my most-comfortable pair of yoga pants and brush the mess that is my hair before running out the door. (And if I don’t have anywhere to go, fahgeddaboudit.) And it’s an extra lucky day if I can remember to brush my teeth. Terribly cliche. But true nonetheless.
It’s not exactly that I don’t care what I look like, because I’d be lying if I said that were the case, I just don’t have the time to do much about anything. (Note in my definition of “momopause” I said it’s the “cessation of the ability to care about one’s physical appearance…” Like, there just isn’t time even if I wanted to do anything about it!)
So, how am I going to recover from this momopause? Well, the first step is admitting that I do in fact suffer from momopause. I think the picture I shared here speaks for itself. But, if you want a full-on confession, here it is: Hello, my name is Mackenzie, and I suffer from momopause.
The second step is to make some changes–you know, the piercing and dye job and tattoos I was talking about earlier. Ok, well I probably won’t pierce my nose or get any more tattoos (probably), but I think I will look into doing something fun and a little outside of my comfort zone with my hair. And I’m making a pledge to drag myself into the shower more often–for my sake as well as those around me–and get dressed up even on days when I have nowhere to go. (And by “dressed up” I mean throw on some jeans and a nice, colorful, stain-free shirt.) Maybe even get back to getting my nails done every now and then. Basically, treat myself to some fun and allow some time for me to feel good about me. Like I used to.
An important point I’d like to make here is that I’m not doing any of this for anyone other than me. I honestly do not care what other people think about how I look or dress (well, maybe with the exception of my husband), and if it made me feel good, I’d keep up this low-maintenance, no-time-to-do-much, chic look for eternity. But it doesn’t make me feel good. It makes me feel frumpy. And older than my years. And completely un-me. And I need to get back to feeling like me.