I hope you don’t mind but I’m calling bullshit on adulting. When I was small, I couldn’t wait to do all the adult stuff. Driving, drinking, using a credit card, decorating a house, having dinner out with friends, get married, have kids…I wanted it all and I wanted it now. I was about seven.
The thing is the driving is expensive, the drinking well, THAT’S a whole other blog, the credit card needs paying off, as does the house that you want to decorate but can’t afford to after the whole driving/credit card thing which means that dinner out with friends is off the table too and as for getting married and having kids…while the pros definitely outweigh the cons, the cons rear their head enough times to make you wonder.
But doesn’t it all feels a bit never-ending? Everything, from the laundry to the work emails to the bills to the meals that need cooking and a million other things, as a parent, someone always wants something from you. Most of the time you manage to keep the important plates spinning, sometimes you drop them but essentially, you manage to keep the whole sorry show together. Lord knows how. And what of the sacrifices? The sacrifices are huge.
Let’s talk about my face first, mostly because it makes sense to work from the top down but also because I haven’t quite built up the courage to focus on the other parts. There are lines in my forehead that are so deep I worry my whole face might fall into them one day. My eyes used to be bright and blue; now they’re dull and grey apart from when they’re red and twitching with exhaustion. My cheeks are slowly slipping off my face into the jowl area and my teeth? I’ve gone from being on first name terms with my dentist who I used to see every three months to wondering how painful my gums have to be and how bad the plaque has to get before I start losing teeth.
Working downwards…my neck looks like a tic-infested flesh sac overgrown as it is with skin tags that appeared during pregnancy but didn’t get the memo when it was all over. They are still there, getting caught on my necklaces, picked off by errant tiny baby nails (that I never have time to trim) and ruining the look of most low cut tops.
This brings us to the boobs, the norks, the bust, the breasts. What can I say? Oranges in socks? Spaniel’s ears? My husband used to say, pre-kids, that I had 70s porn star tits which I always quite liked – they weren’t typically pretty but they were real and in your face and sexy and a bit saggy, but generally pretty damn good. Post-children, post-breastfeeding they’re the body’s equivalent of the sad face emoji. Much like my soul, my energy, my bank account: they’re drained, flapping in the wind and generally cocooned in a bra that once was white and now is a bit grey and a lot full of holes.
I’m pretty sure there are pieces of lego stuck in the doughy folds of my tummy that have been there for at least three months along with a few KitKat crumbs and my bum while still pretty pert is just really quite big. My legs are riddled with varicose veins and my last pedicure was so long ago the Shellac grew off.
My hands are dry and cracked and I can actually see liver spots appearing. For real. My arms are like truncheons and my bones creak, my haemorrhoids exist and that’s all you need to know about that. Maybe that’s too much. I’ve never been great with boundaries.
The point is that all these things could be waylaid if I just had a bit of time. If I had time to maintain the beauty regime I used to do my face might recover. If I had a minute to do some exercise, then maybe the extra baby-weight would drop off me (I would also have to give up Dairy Milk and Prawn Cocktail crisps), maybe the varicose veins would recede and maybe I’d be able to dig out my old clothes. I might even consider dusting off a bikini or two.
Of course, despite all the shitty things that adulting has done to my face and body, it’s fed my soul ten times over. I’ve never felt as comfortable in my own saggy, skin-tagged, skin than I do these days. This wobbly, overstretched body has created and emitted two whole humans – that’s epic. It keeps me going for 18 out of the 24 hours I’m allotted daily and for the other 6 hours it manages to recharge itself just enough to ensure I don’t drop down dead the next day which, in itself, is a pretty epic achievement.
One day, not long from now, I’ll find the time to rectify some of the damage that motherhood and adulthood has done to my body. What feels like a crack house right now will, one day, rise from the ashes a temple once again. I just need a little patience because if a bit of a fuzzy silhouette and a few lines and dimples are the price I pay for learning a lot of important shit about myself and others and how the world works then, on reflection, it’s totally worth it.