Ditching the Motherhood Frump

Sleepy young women with pillow and sleeping eye mask still on.

When I was in my early 20’s and kidless, I promised myself that I would never become a frumpy mom.

“I’m not a yoga pants and flip flops kind of girl,” I thought. “I don’t even wear flat shoes!”

My 30-something self looks back at that girl and generally smiles. But not this time. Today, wearing yoga pants, flip flops and my hair up in the stereotypical mom bun, my 30-something self looks back on that girl I was with a bit of envy.

The truth is, while I haven’t completely de-evolved into frumpy mom, I’m certainly don’t take care of myself as well as I did in my 20’s or even the very early 30’s. You know, before kids.

I often wear my hair up. During the work week I’m so exhausted that I don’t want to get up any earlier than I actually have to just to dry my hair and on the weekend I rush around from place to place, trying to get everything done that I missed during the week. Wearing it up becomes a matter of convenience and a time saver.

And while we’re on the subject of hair, I’ll just mention that I haven’t gotten it cut in 6 months. Luckily, I don’t have grays yet so I don’t need to color it.

Without diving into every, single one of the things that makes me envy my 20-something self (SLEEP), I’ll just cut to the chase and say that I’m not happy with me. I’ve let myself go in ways that the girl in me would not have imagined and I’m not happy about it. Somewhere along the way between the sleepless nights and being puked on, I’ve become a lesser version of me.

The New Year always leads to some critical self-evaluation and I’m often my own worst critic. So while I don’t believe in resolutions, which feel short-term and temporary, I do believe in creating new goals for myself to reach personally.

My number one goal moving forward is me.

I have a hard time accepting that because I typically put the kids first. However, in doing that, I’ve realized that I’ve really let them down. Because I’ve been so disappointed with me, I’ve also been unhappy. Unhappy me is cranky. Unhappy me yells more often. No one is happy with unhappy me around.

I’m constantly stressed, I’m more tired than I thought was possible and I’ve become really forgetful. I’m sitting here now wondering if I have anything planned for dinner tonight and I really can’t remember if I do. And let’s be honest, I never forget about food.

I know the things I need to do to make me happy and most of these things revolve around me being stressed out because I need more time in my life. So how do I get more time? I quit my job.

I have really mixed emotions about this. I love my job. I love my boss and I know how rare it is to be able to say that.

“You look cute today,” my boss said as she walked in this morning.

“I have boogers on me,” I replied.

She laughed. That’s a good boss.

She also has two kids almost the same ages as mine so she gets it. Luckily, she wants me to consult for them so I don’t go crazy staying at home now, but it will be different. No more than 10 hours a week and always at home. Compared to my schedule now that sounds like paradise.

I’m refocusing on my health. Life has been moving so fast and I’ve been metaphorically running to keep up with everything so even when I can find the time to work out, I really have to push myself to do it. With my new found time, I will be able to fit working out into my daily schedule again. My son will be at home with me fulltime, but when I was home with my daughter I was actually really good about doing short workouts at nap time and then doing some longer activities, like classes, on the weekends.

Aside from working out, I had an issue pop up within the last few months that lead to some testing. Basically, my hair started falling out in clumps, worse than it did after having babies. Couple that with extreme exhaustion and some other factors, my family doctor was concerned enough to order some blood work and an ultrasound on my thyroid.

From the testing we learned that I have a pretty significant Vitamin D deficiency and I have some nodules on my thyroid. Two of the “nodules” are cysts while one is more solid. That solid one is the semi-concerning one. I have an appointment with an endocrinologist next week and I am guessing we will do a biopsy to see if this is something we should really be concerned about. In the meantime, I keep reminding myself that thyroid cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat. Then I take a deep breath and move on with my day.

I’m also going to refocus on the kids. I know, I know. I said I need to make me No. 1, and I will, but they are going to be No. 2. I honestly don’t feel like I have spent enough time enjoying them lately. With this new, extra time I can’t wait to play more, create more and watch their imaginations work.

When I was home with my daughter I felt like I really knew the little person that she was. I don’t feel the same way about my son and I am looking forward to being able to connect with him on that level. I’m also looking forward to having this summer with both of them before my daughter officially starts kindergarten this fall. I feel like this summer represents some rite of passage for her and want to make sure we can have a few adventures together before she becomes a big kid.

In between all this, I’m going to take time for me. I might not be able to get a manicure and pedicure each week like that 20-something version of me did, but I can make time once a month. I can shower and have time to dry my hair almost every day. I can plaster on a face mask while I write at night and I can get lost in some new books that don’t have pictures, which I haven’t really done since starting my job three years ago.

Lastly, I’m going to write more. Writing for me is therapeutic. After we lost our son writing helped me deal. It wasn’t always nice writing, but sometimes you have to get the not nice stuff out before you can fill up your soul again with goodness.

As I set off down the path to make me me again, the 30-something in me reminds myself that the girl in her 20’s didn’t know much about raising a family, making a marriage work, having a career or understanding that life can sometimes throw you unimaginable curve balls. I remind myself that she envied me.

I also know that no matter my age, I’ve always defined my own path…and I’ve usually done it wearing heels. Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I’ve tumbled into a rabbit hole where only bad footwear and yoga pants exist. Time to remind myself that I’m not a flip flops kind of girl…at least most of the time.


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