Thursday, August 22, 2013

Surprising insight from the Real Housewives...of New Jersey

Before you immediately close out of Chrome, or Firefox, or whatever browser you're using after reading the title of my post, allow me to clarify a few things.

1. Although many of you know I have a penchant for trashy reality TV (My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Jerseylicious, whatevs), I'm proud to report that for years, I have avoided the trainwreck that is the Real Housewives series. I knew it existed; my dear friend and godmother of my son is obsessed with RH. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding this past January, and one of my gifts was a shirt that said, "the REAL bridesmaids of Aleia's wedding." Super cute, I know. Anyway, I'm getting off track. She talked this show up for YEARS, but I resisted. I had my reasons-I watched enough TV as it was, I didn't need to pollute my mind with more uppity, uber-wealthy women with way too much time on their hands, etc. Well, I stayed strong until our return from Philadelphia-more on that tomorrow-and for whatever reason, I watched a RH episode. Of New Jersey, no less. I'm appalled and ashamed to admit that I'm hooked. I'm holding Aleia 100% responsible for my demise into this ridiculousness. That's right, I declare I hold absolutely zero personal responsibility. *nods*

2. I stepped on the scale this morning, and I've LOST 12 POUNDS!!!!! I'm down to 186 (which I haven't seen since my unfortunate gallbladder removal in 2011).

3. Even though I'm definitely slimming down, I've been feeling kind of crummy about myself lately. My pre-pregnancy clothes fit again, but they fit...weird. I still have the mummy tummy, I have a bunch of leftover pregnancy stretch marks, I have legit bald spots on my head after the lovely and massive post-partum hair loss, I haven't had an eyebrow wax since December...you get the picture. I've been going through a "well I look like crap so why bother?" phase lately. Hanging around in grubby t-shirts and sweatpants (and that's assuming I change out of my pajamas). No makeup, stringy hair, shaving my legs maybe once a week. Not okay.

So. On to the insight. I started out, naturally, from the first season, and a woman named Dina was talking about her frequent trips to the beauty salon, as well as the gym. She brought up an interesting point. "It's important to think of yourself as your husband's girlfriend; not his wife. You should always want your husband to want to date you, and to not fall into a rut." Obviously, I'm paraphrasing here, and I cut out the remaining part of her quote (which was that if you let yourself go, don't be surprised when your husband finds someone else. Sorry, I don't agree with that. If your husband finds another woman, the problem doesn't have anything to do with you not losing the pregnancy weight fast enough, or not going to the salon every week, or not fitting into size 2 clothes. The problem is that you married an insensitive, narcissistic jerk). But anyway, Dina actually got me thinking. Was I happy with the way I looked? Nope. If I was Will, would I be happy to come home to a frumpy, frazzled wife who looked exhausted beyond belief? Definitely not. Did I feel good about myself in general? <=That right there was the sticking point for me. I hate the way I feel when I'm slumming it, whether it has to do with my appearance or the state of my house. For me, I feel so much more "with it," and much more together when I'm showered, made up and have my hair done. Obviously, I don't have the time (or frankly, the desire) to do the full-on salon makeup and hot rollers every morning. But it also doesn't kill me to spend 5 minutes putting on some makeup, and a few extra minutes fixing my hair and choosing a nice but practical outfit.

Will has a very easy schedule on Tuesday (only one class! Yippee!), so I spent a little extra time on myself that morning before I headed downstairs to join the fam. I can't even begin to describe how much happier and more confident I felt. Will commented on how nice I looked (and this is the guy who has no clue when I'm wearing makeup). It wasn't my clothes, the hair or makeup, or even the fact that I had a little extra time to spend on the house that day. It was how I felt about myself. I no longer felt like frump mom, and when I did some grocery shopping later that day, I didn't feel the need to keep my sunglasses on in the store to hide the black circles under my eyes. Now, obviously what works for me won't work for everyone else. I know plenty of women who never wear makeup (either they just don't like it, or they don't need it), and I'm sure there are plenty of ladies out there who can't roll their eyes hard enough at the concept of wearing anything other than jeans and a t-shirt during the day while they're at home with their kids. Seriously, no judgment. I think everyone has a line of "I feel good about myself when I do xyz, or when I make a concerted effort on my appearance, or when my house is nice and neat..." You just have to do what works for you. As much as I might love a weekly trip to the salon, it's not practical for either time or financial reasons. However, there's no reason I can't schedule a haircut and an eyebrow wax for myself sometime in the near future. I can do my nails at night after the babies go to sleep, and I can get some housework done during the day.

I have a daughter now (it's still so weird to say that!), and I don't ever want her to get the impression that her looks are more important than her intelligence, or her attitude. I'm also very careful of what I say in front of both her and Tony (I never complain about my weight anymore, I don't make disparaging remarks about my appearance), because I don't want either of my children thinking that it's normal to harp on every perceived bodily flaw. However, I definitely think there's something to be said for putting your best foot forward. I just want to stress the importance of doing so for yourself, and no one else.

As women, I think we tend to see the worst in ourselves, not the best. We're our own worst critics, and I'll be the first to admit that. So I'd like to take this opportunity to raise my glass (of water/grapefruit juice...it's not quite wine 'o clock yet!) to all the wives and mamas out there. You're strong, you're a hard worker, you're beautiful, and you deserve way more credit than you give yourself.

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