Mommy is beautiful, not that it matters
A few days ago, we were getting ready to go out. Not anywhere special, really, just out with a few friends who also have kids, and we were all bringing our kids. Hubby was holding the girls at bay while I got ready. These days, that pretty much means just redoing my ponytail, putting on a clean shirt and brushing my teeth. I might smear on a little lipgloss and throw on some earrings if I can find them, but usually I can’t.
Not too surprisingly, this super souped-down routine doesn’t really make me feel amazing about the way I look. But I have so few seconds to myself in the day, and only a few more seconds with my husband, so I don’t want to waste them.
My routine nearly complete, I was brushing my teeth as Todd held both babies (sorry, one baby and one BIG sister, BIG giy-yill) and appraising myself in the mirror. “Does this look OK?” I asked my husband. “Do these jeans make me have a muffin top? Ugh. Look at the back…”
I looked up and locked eyes in the mirror with Quinn. Her hazel eyes were as big as saucers, her lips pressed in concentration. Craaaap. She was in deep processing mode, taking in everything I said so she could replay it word-for-word at a later date, most likely to herself every single day of her 11th year.
I glanced over at my husband, whose already minimalist going-out routine had been reduced to just brushing his teeth. Was he worried about how he looked? In the slightest? Of course not. There we were, showing our toddler that not only does mommy feel bad about how she looks, but that it doesn’t even MATTER how daddy looks. Uh-oh. I had to think fast.
“Don’t worry daddy,” I said very convincingly. “You look fine.”
The big saucers watched unblinkingly.
Oh, thank you,” he said believably. “I am sooooo glad.”
The little face stared at me.
“I look really cute, don’t I?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” she said.
“But more importantly, I am excited about having fun with my friends. Aren’t you?”
Yeah,” she said, still processing. I picked her up and squeezed her, terrified for a future I know will come far too quickly, for the million things I wish for our girls, for the million ways we women trap ourselves, wallowing in the most shallow bits of our existence, hating ourselves for things that hardly matter.
The truth is I’m not 100 percent sure how I want Q to feel about all of this. I just know the way I want her to NOT feel, and that’s like every single woman I have ever met. Is that possible?