Over the past few weeks I have seen a number of friends on social media try the Face App where they catch a glimpse of what the future may hold for them as they age. The results have been entertaining as most of my friend’s faces have aged gracefully with kind wrinkles where years of smiling would have been and evenly grown grey hairs.
I resisted the urge to download the app to see what I would look in years to come. It’s not because I don’t think I will have the chance to age that far ahead (maybe I will, maybe I won’t), it is truthfully because treatment has aged me. I have permanent frown lines, lost a lot of my eyebrow hair (not that there was much to begin with!), grown multiple grey hairs since losing all of it and facial acne has formed on my once smooth skin.
I am guilty of yet another parenting faux pas, because of feeling less than my attractive usual self, (I mean I am no oil painting but I believe I can scrub up well), I have been quite camera shy with my daughter. My 5 year old loves getting out my phone and taking photos of the two of us “let’s take a selfie” she says (gosh I hate that word, selfie!) and I usually say “no mummy doesn’t want a photo right now.”
A few years ago, when Lindy was around two years old, I had an appointment with our family GP at the time, the lovely Dr Elena Morozova at Kogarah Medical Centre asked me how I was going physically, emotionally and psychologically as a busy fulltime working mum. I expressed that I was generally happy, albeit tired due to long commutes in addition to the fulltime working week and then the parental responsibilities before and after work. She said that I looked really well to which I replied that I don’t like the way I look. Perhaps out of exhaustion and feeling that due to the number of responsibilities I could not look after myself properly. I can’t remember my exact words but they were less than flattering of myself. Dr Morozova, told me that I should not talk about myself that way especially in front of my daughter and she gave me a much needed pep talk about being a strong and beautiful woman. It was a wake-up call as since then I have been much more mindful about what I say in front of Lindy yet I still practice the same camera shy behavior.
As mums we may hide from the camera fearing that our less attractive selves will be captured by the permanent nature of a photograph but it is in these candid moments that our beauty shines through. I am not just talking about physical beauty, but the beauty of our human spirit, the gentle smile and warm hug we share with our children. Those quiet moments that we forget but cherish so much as we get older. As mums we forget how time is fleeting and whether we feel like it or not, we are still the most beautiful person in the world in the eyes of our children. So next time, even when I don’t feel so great and my daughter asks for a selfie of the both of us, I will lean in and not shy away.
I hope you will also remember that you are strong and beautiful and will also do the same.