Desperate to find something to wear to all the holiday events coming up, I forced myself to go clothes shopping — something I loathe at the best of times. I wandered around the stores, glancing at mannequins half my size looking amazing in clothes that would look dire on me, until I happened upon a silver miniskirt. I LOVED it. And in my head, I was 25, still had a flat stomach, and thought this skirt would be ACE with a black jumper, thick tights, and biker boots.
Then I tried it on.
Across my stomach (two C-sections later), it looked like I had wrapped the Thanksgiving turkey in foil — and decided to wear it. Tragic. I realized with certainty I can no longer rock a miniskirt — especially not a faux-leather silver one.
This harrowing experience made me think of all the other things I no longer do now that I’m a mom over 40 with two kids.
Stay up past 11 PM.
The thought of New Year’s Eve and having to stay up past midnight makes me positively nauseous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as happy to see the back of 2016 as the next person, but my idea of a party? Being tucked up in bed by 11 PM in cozy PJ’s and cashmere socks. A late night no longer appeals to me, knowing that my kids will still rise at 7:30 AM — and children, hangovers, and lack of sleep are not a winning trio.
I want to — I really do. I salivate over Manolos and Louboutins, but in reality my life consists of school runs, trips to the local wine bar with other moms, and the odd trip to the movies. Heels no longer exist in my life. It’s time I accepted that and stopped buying them for the weddings I never go to, the parties that I only attend in flats, and the glamorous nights in London that I no longer have. Sigh.
Get my nails done, wax, or get a massage.
At the age of 43, I’ve embraced rocking a ’70s vibe in the pubic region, accepted that biting my nails is faster than getting a mani, and realized that a massage costs almost as much as our weekly groceries. They’re pastimes I had when I had time and money, but two kids and a full-time writing job put an end to that.
It’s a nightmare trying to please everyone in my house (husband included), so I end up making boring dinners — as no one likes lemongrass seasoning, chili, garlic, or anything with proper flavor. My son loves pizza, my daughter hates it. My daughter loves rice, my son hates it. And I hate cooking for them. What was once a pleasure is now a huge chore.
Sure my husband and I do small pecks on the cheek or the odd kiss, but proper, good old-fashioned snogging (as we say in the U.K.) is a thing of the past.
Go out on the town.
There was a time when I painted London red. I attended dinner parties, concerts, premieres, house parties, and a quiet night was rolling out of my local wine bar at 1 AM. But now, if someone asks me to venture further than the pub at the end of my street, I find myself debating, Do I really need this friend in my life? Tragic, I know, but the sheer effort of getting ready — after I survived the school run and made it through dinner and bath time — feels too much to contemplate.
My husband and I used to be mega-foodies. He worked in the catering industry in central London and was fairly well connected, so we often went to fancy Michelin-starred restaurants. We thought nothing of traveling to Spain to dine at the famous and fabulous elBulli, or celebrating an anniversary at Gordon Ramsay’s.
Then we had kids.
Now, the closest thing we get to fine dining is extra dough balls at our local pizzeria. When looking for a restaurant, we want somewhere:
- Close to home so we can drink wine and walk back
- Kid-friendly so we can actually have a conversation
- Quick, so we get through the horror of dining out with kids in a relatively short time
Leisurely brunches that last all Saturday? Ha! If only.
Spend leisurely Sundays pampering myself.
Sundays for me used to be about reading the papers, seeing a movie, cooking a roast, planning for the week ahead, doing laundry, then soaking in the bath with a face mask and hair conditioning mask, and finishing it off with a toe polish and eyebrow pluck. Now there is only one of those things that I still do on a Sunday and it begins with “L.”
Now if I have drunk enough Prosecco, I believe I am indeed Beyonce. But sober, I look like your dad having a seizure on the dance floor. There is no way on earth you would catch me making any moves without alcohol as my lubricant.
Yet with all of the things I no longer do post-40, there are some things I do that I never thought I would …
Invest in expensive slippers.
An untold joy. Sheepskin — like walking on air.
Buy hemorrhoid cream without looking embarrassed.
Two kids will do that to you.
Because it makes ALL the difference getting into a bed with soft clean, ironed sheets. Like giving yourself a hug.
Invest in sensible winter footwear.
Because the school run in January is no fun at all — but with warm feet it’s all the more bearable.
Offer to help at the school fair and then enjoy being Santa’s helper.
If my 24-year-old self could have seen me, she would have never believed it possible. But being an elf will get you in the Christmas spirit faster than you can say eggnog.
Feel relieved when I have no weekend plans at all in the winter.
By the time it gets to 5 PM on a Saturday night, it’s dark, the temperature dips past freezing, and the furthest I want to venture away from my sofa and TV is to the fridge to get wine.
Agree with my mother.
The day came. There were no pigs in the sky. Bless her, she didn’t even say, “I told you so.”
Spend $50 or more on expensive coffee pods.
Invest in anti-wrinkle eye cream.
I caved. The little lines appeared and vanity took over. Don’t judge me.
Realize I don’t need new handbags, fancy matching underwear, or knockout dresses.
But I can never have enough white T-shirts, flattering jeans, and matching black socks. It’s the simple things in life, ain’t it?