Face Forward

January 31, 2011

Over the past few years, I have really “let myself go.”  I do nothing but completely validate the cliché that when women become moms, they start to ignore their own needs.

It – EVERYTHING — goes so quickly.

It’s so easy to think that always putting yourself second — or third, or fourth, or whatever – is the right thing to do.

All the little bitty things you once did to nurture yourself drop off your to-do list.  Consoling your colicky baby clearly supersedes putting lotion on your feet and elbows.  Mixing formula, emptying the Diaper Genie, scrubbing spit-up stains off the family’s heirloom christening set are, hands down, completely worth canceling your 8-week haircut.

I remember so clearly rocking Claire, and looking into those gorgeous blue eyes and knowing, having an eternity-deep understanding that this beautiful, precious baby in my arms was the answer to our prayers.  I had waited so long for her:  I wanted to bond with her and snuggle with her and watch her sleep and see her recognize my face.

Sleep was optional.  Exercise, skin care, make-up trends, heck, even eating regularly and well were now completely gone.  On rare occasion, I resented it, but mostly I felt that losing those things were not even negotiable.

Of course, after nine months of a colicky, never sleeping baby, I wasn’t thinking very clearly.

Seriously, though, like so many parents, moms especially, everything came second to that baby.  And if self-care didn’t come second to my baby’s needs, then it was obliterated by things like driving my stepsons to doctor’s appointment, attending school conferences, attempting to keep track of their social lives, etc….

My needs came second – or third, or fourth, or fifth — to my husband, who, throughout the years has, rain or shine, gotten his butt out of bed and gone to work.  Without fail.  Making sure the Breadwinner had clean clothes and a decent meal was [is!] far more critical to daily life than me addressing gray hairs, unplucked eyebrow hairs, etc.

And then, like it does, life just kept coming.  And we were blessed with two more baby girls.  And keeping them fed and diapered and clean and happy, AND stimulating them to an appropriate level socially and intellectually (how dare I even THINK of failing my children in ANY of these ways??) — everything was more important than me.

This isn’t a “poor me” post.  Honest engine.  This is about taking baby steps back toward the me who is me beyond/before becoming a mom.

Where to start?

Nearly ten years of this kind of behavior, I have a lot of ground to cover.  A lot of self-care habits to re-establish.  Several new ones to create (I don’t know how or why, but I never really took the whole “wrinkle” thing seriously – what an idiot!).

I’m not even going to mention all the weight I have to lose.  Now that my baby is nearly 4 ½, I guess I cannot keep calling it “baby weight,” huh?

After ignoring my terribly dry skin and mottled complexion, my very gray hair, my medical problems, my complete lack of make-up for years on end, wondering where to start paralyzed me for the better part of the last two years.

Not kidding.

Then I decided to figure out how to dye my own hair.  Not too tough, and really, not to toot my own horn, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it (except this last round, but let’s not go there right now).  I reveled in that win for, well over a year.

I recently took on my latest challenge.  And it’s actually been far, far easier than I could have ever imagined.

I’m over 40, and my face shows it.  No secret there.  I’ve never had horrible acne, but I’ve ALWAYS had some.  And I’ve tried pretty much every product on the market.  Name it, and if it’s been at Walgreen’s, Target, Boston Store, or Macy’s (formerly Marshall Fields in this neck of the woods), I’ve tried it.  I found a few products I like along the way, but never have I been able to rid myself of my splotchy, problematic skin.

About a month ago, a friend who I really trust told me that proactiv really helped her skin.  I’ve never purchased anything, not one single solitary item that is advertised via infomercial.  I always thought I’d feel like I’d be giving in to a level of marketing madness that was beneath me.

How dumb was I???  [Please note:  that’s rhetorical.  Don’t comment on this part, OK?]

Well, proactiv sent me a sample kit.

I love getting packages, so I was really, really excited.  But I was skeptical as hell.

And then I tried it.

Oh my God.  OH!MY!GOD!!  The results have been unbelievable.  Here are just a few of the things I’ve noticed since starting with proactive about six weeks ago:

  • If I start to get a blemish, it never fully progresses into the ugly monstrosity that it used to.  In fact, even the reddest, most inflamed “bump” is gone in about 36 hours.  Usually less.
  • Because I KNOW that this works, I actually look forward to washing my face.  That sounds bizarre, even to me, but it’s true.  It’s like eating a big salad:  you know you’re doing something good for yourself, so you will yourself not to feel like a rabbit crunching away on all those greens and root vegetables.
  • There is NO QUESTION that my skin is improved.  Not only are the blemishes a non-issue, my skin is smoother and more even in both tone and texture.
  • I cannot hardly believe how affordable this product is.  One thing I failed to mention above is that undeniably, even more of my self-care-type habits and rituals flew out the window when Hubby and I decided that I would be a stay-at-home-mom.  Between me not working and the rotten economy that has done so much damage to everyone, the last thing I can afford to do is spend money on myself.  But even I can afford this!  And that is such a relief, because I have NO intention of ever parting with proactiv.  Ever.

If you’ve ever wondered whether you should try it, I’m telling you, wonder no longer.

If you’ve ever disliked your complexion – a little bit or a lot, it doesn’t matter – there really is a product line out there that WILL deliver excellent results.

Learn from my mistakes:  you put your own needs on hold long enough.  Head on over to http://proactiv.com and start taking better care of yourself.

Ed. Note:  While I was given free product to sample, I receive no proceeds from any orders you may place.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary LaVick February 1, 2011 at 6:02 am

My baby is 14 so don’t feel too badly! Thanks for the review – we have some teenage acne issues in the house now and though some friends have suggested Proactiv, like you, I thought is was all hype (and that my boys just wanted to try it because of the latest pretty spokesperson).

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2 Amy February 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hel Mel – I have been using Proactiv for about 14 years now. I did stop for a very short period about 5 years ago because I thought at my age it was probably not necessary anymore but quickly found out I was wrong. I swear by it and have freely recommended it to several friends who are now also avid users!

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3 Sue Farrell February 1, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I have heard great things about Proactiv. I am a firm believer that it is extremely important for a woman to take care of herself. Clean skin, a good hair cut and even a little makeup once in a while does wonders. When we feel better about ourselves, we and everyone around us is happier. Taking care of ourselves doesn’t need to take more than 15 minutes a day for the basics.

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4 Jackie Schwabe February 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

My 13 year old nephew lived with us for a year and his skin was …. well icky. We got it for him and after 2 weeks his face looked like a baby’s butt – and he wasn’t diligent with his routine. I hate to say it, but this stuff is the best, really the best.

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5 Joi Silvius May 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I have been tempted often seeing their commercials. I think I might have to try it. Do you know if Walgreens has it yet? They always carry the stuff that says ONLY AVAILABLE ON TV! LOL It’s great to hear when there is good stuff out there. About 6 mons ago I broke down and bought a wrinkle product off TV…I still have my wrinkles and in addition its also like bleached my skin color under my eyes in splotches and hasn’t gone away. Make up barely covers it. Be aware of this product that comes in a small blue container!!!

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