Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Frumpilicious

I may not have the sexy moves of the Pussycat Dolls, the booty of Beyonce, or a hit record to show for my nascent solo career (think Fergie), but I have loads of Mama Attitude, especially that grungy not-quite-enough-sleep attitude. Therefore, I feel I deserve a "-licious" as well as any other diva.

Did I say diva? Oh, let's just blame that on lack of sleep. I am not the Queen of Soul or Pop...more like the Queen of Poopy Diapers. But I digress...

The idea for Frumpilicious actually started last Saturday, on one of my few outings without the wee one in tow. I met my friend Jen downtown at her new place. She's managing an old building, let's call it "vintage", that I actually wanted to live in once upon a time. I love the charm of anything built before WW2, and this place has it in spades. Walking around her new digs made me reflect on my "olden days" in old apartments, having my own space with my books and cds and not much else except some peace and quiet. Bonding time with the curling iron, or soaking in one of those old clawfoot tubs with a book and a glass of wine. The feeling that my old life was far enough away to feel some fond nostalgia for itonly made me feel more settled into my new life as a parent.

Jen and I walked up to Northwest, talking of places we might want to check out. "Oh, we have to stop by Lush" she explained. "What, do they sell alcohol?" I jibed. (Yes, I jibe. I'm just that kind of gal.) No, they didn't sell drinks, they sold skin products.

Walking into Lush was when I discovered the essence of my sheer frumpiness. My frumpicity, if you will. Here I was, thinking how great I looked that day--I'd showered, rigged up the ponytails, had on my cute sweater and a new purse!--and the shiny, fresh, well-rested faces from behind the counter told me that I had deluded myself. Here were pretty girls who had done more than just scrub their face with a squirt from the soap pump and a washcloth. No, they had exfoliated. They had slept for more than a handful of hours and had clothes that didn't show off the fact that they lived with a cat. I looked at the candy colored soaps-- Ice Blue! Bright Orange!--singing off the shelves and read the most hilarious word next to each of them: Massage. This was Soap for Other People, but not me. Massage my skin in the shower?! My morning Five Minutes in Paradise Alone is not a nice stem-to-stern sort of cleansing affair, but more like Let's Hit the Highlights, and there are six hotspots which I will not list because I may be frumpy but I am not vulgar. In any case, the idea of paying $9 plus for a pretty massage bar I would look at wistfully every morning as it slowly disintegrated from neglect and a drippy showerhead just seemed torturous.

I also checked out the masks, which my Jen swore by. I believe her; she always has great skin. But let's say I put on this mask and scared the baby, what then? He's already got a case of stranger anxiety larger than a Vuitton trunk show. Last thing I needed was to freak out the baby and deal with scraping the mask off while he's crying because "where did Mama go"? I was beginning to wish they did sell alcohol, because a stiff drink would make these revelations all go down so much more smoothly.

While Jen was calling her mom, who she was also shopping for, I ducked outside. Two hours without nursing and I was starting to get sweaty, what with the two steamed milks on the front of my chest. I took off my sweater, folded it neatly to hang it on my bag, when I noticed that the peas and brown rice puree I'd fed my son last night had dabbed a bit of itself onto my sweater and dried, nice and crusty. So there I stood, cursing a little under my breath, scraping off said spill with my thumbnail and turning it into a fine green powder before it disappeared.

Sweaty, tired, and now feeling unremarkable (let's not forget the pulverized green peas under my thumbnail), I now had to laugh. I looked at Jen, just emerging, who has always been one of my fashion icons, and then had to laugh at myself. I was such a MOM.

Most of us have seen that Suave commercial where the woman starts out gorgeous and then has one, then two, then three children and somehow you get to see the tired hair, the bags under the eyes, the stained sweatshirts and then, the words, "95% of Mom's say they've let themselves go"...well, I've got a question-- Let themselves go Where? Not to the bathroom to shave their legs and shower in peace (most of my mom friends are amazed I shower everyday!), and we don't go to the salon until we just can't stand it anymore, and we hardly ever go out shopping to buy ourselves new clothes. Then, of course, we see that Commercial Mom shampooed with Suave (apparently, it comes with childcare) and she's wearing a lovely black wrap dress and her hair looks lovely and she's knocked up again, so she couldn't have looked that bad. Ahhh...what a lovely fairy tale.

I'm sitting here typing, sweaty (again), in my jeans and a plain shirt, and all I can think about is how we as mothers don't let our selves go nearly as much as we just have to Let Go. Let Go of expectations that our kids are going to nap or that we are going to get the dishes done or even have a chance to type on our blogs. I have had to let go of the things that mean the least to me, and even many things that mean a lot to me. My sense of independence and freedom to do as I please are entirely on hold; my financial independence is on indefinite hiatus; my ability to create whenever and however I choose is pretty much out the window in deference to that little person sleeping in the stroller right now. He could wake at any time and my mind would not be solely my own again, for who knows how long. But letting go seems right, and I do try to be gracious with it. I fail miserably sometimes. But it's so much better than Holding On and being miserable all the time, which is what would happen for me if I did grasp all things formerly dear to me with white-knuckled determination.

So I laugh, revel in my plainness, in the interruptions and the soil and grubbiness and lack of glamour that my life holds right now. Hence, the attitude. Hotcha! Watch out! Comin' at you with babyfood spills, drool, and Eau de Baby Wipes! I am Frumpilicious! (coming soon, my hit single "My Frumps"...sure to be a sensation!)

4 comments:

Amanda said...

I love you! I say we don't "let ourselves go" as much as we choose to stay....stay at home, stay close to our sweet ones, stay close to our men.. and staying's just not that bad. It's a season, really, it is! Just the other day I bought eyeshadow, for the first time in years. Some days I actually put it on. :)

The Daileys said...

Wonderful post that mothers everywhere can empathize with! The little ones that we give our energy to are a very worthy receptacle of where we have "let ourselves go" to- and one in which we will see a blessed return on in the years to come! Keep on being frumpalicious!

rogersf said...

wow, i had no idea i was your fashion icon! ha ha ha... i thought you looked great that day and didn't notice the peas under your nails or milk on your shirt.

rogersf said...

ooops, i had no idea i was signed in as Roger. i guess this site is affiliated with his Google page. you know it's Jen, right?