I promised you a post about Essex didn’t I? Quite some time ago – sorry about that. Singapore happened.
Although there is a similarity I can pin between Singapore and Essex, and in fact also with the Season we are in. Making an effort.
The friends we stayed with in Singapore assured us the temperature had dropped notably over the last few weeks. It was hot. We averaged three outfits a day, Blake’s (increasingly long) hair was permanently plastered to his forehead and I quickly found the advice ‘don’t bother with makeup because it will melt off your face, and while you’re at it just embrace whatever the hell your hair does’ to be very true. Liz S remarked to me when we returned home ‘the photos are amazing. But your hair looks A.B.S.O.L.U.T.E.L.Y mental.’ I’d like to have been outraged, but she spoke the truth.
The locals however, look great. I was flabbergasted one day, as I huffed and puffed my way over to the local Mall, to observe a native Singaporean with poker straight hair, skyscraper heels, full face of makeup inc. uber rouge lips, sporting some sort of Barbie meets peplum mini dress. Despite the sweltering heat, the natives make an effort out there. All credit to them.
Likewise in Essex. I squeezed myself into the only party dress I’ve purchased since Blake was born, threw some makeup haphazardly into my face, ran my straighteners over my hair and trotted gaily off to Sugar Hut to realise that I was underdressed by a clear mile. (Cue squealing forlornly to make up aficionado Hannah PLEASE DO SOMETHING WITH MY FACE!) Whatever the Essex stereotypes, the people make an effort. When they go to town, THEY GO TO TOWN.
Facebook is plastered, most of time, with messages that go along the line of:
‘Each stretch mark brought me a bit closer to you’
‘My wobbly tummy housed you my darling’
‘Bingo wings take me on the joyous flight of motherhood’
Well. If you feel that way, I salute you. I really do. Do not mistake me for a second, I adore Blake and I will be forever grateful for him. He is a joy. But I cannot bring myself to such wild declarations of love for the havoc pregnancy and motherhood have wrought upon my body.
Pre-Blake, I was a regular at the gym. I’d trot off early doors twice a week to start the day with a Spin class or a workout, and I’d end at least one other day in the same fashion. I really enjoyed it, and I was pretty proud of the shape I was in for my Wedding Day. I trotted off to the Spa fairly regularly, and I generally looked after myself. I had the money for such things and James’ antisocial hours allowed for them because I could crack on without cutting into our time together.
These days the most I manage is a 15 minute workout video.
I do feel sorry for my poor Husband, for he has been royally conned. He has the Son he’d always hoped for, and the shadowy memory of a Wife who looked after herself, replaced by a scrappy thing who fannies about doing 10 minutes of Pilates here and there when she could be talking to him and classes painting her nails as having made an effort.
It’s brought into even sharper relief at Christmas. To my (childish) mind, we should all be wearing sequins throughout the month of December and dipping ourselves in glitter, with a Champagne flute permanently attached to our hands. I am writing this somewhere on the M6 (CALM DOWN JAMES IS DRIVING) en route to a Christmas get together at James’ Aunt and Uncles’ house (this will be a right old knees up by the way – I have never met a more welcoming bunch, nor a group of people who know how to have as much fun as this lot), and I am wearing the only clean clothes that were available and ironed this morning. Five years ago a lot of planning would have gone into the outfit and the preparation. Oh well.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful, or a Christmas hating troll. I am not. I love Christmas – seeing family, seeing Blake’s understanding and excitement grow year on year. I understand I am lucky. I am healthy and I have a child. But I do want to be honest because I am sure I cannot be the only Mum who cannot get completely comfortable with the post baby bod, and who winces slightly at all the expectation to look fabulous this month when the reality of it is you are tearing round trying to layer Christmas and all its baggage on top of your daily, busy life.
I hear ya Sistas! I have no magic words that can repel stretch marks or undo the wrinkles caused by years of sleep deprivation. But I raise my champagne flute (filled with cheap Aldi Prosecco), clutched in fingers sporting chipped nail varnish, to you in solidarity and wish you a Happy Christmas. It’s not just you, it’s me too, and I think it is quite possibly ok.
(Jolly Christmas post to follow)
dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused