Maintenance (#onewomansview).


Every winter, I ski with my good friend from college, K.  K is beautiful inside and out.  She is this way on this inside because she is smart, kind, and very funny.  She is beautiful on the outside because she works very hard at it.  She is tall, strong and fit.  She has run marathons and does sprint triathlons.  She takes time to dress well, eat well, and take good care of herself overall.  One of our favorite topics to discuss is maintenance, and the importance of it for ourselves and for our marriages now that we’ve both rounded the corner past 40.  In addition to my talks with K., I recently read this article highlighting Deborah Spar’s new book, Wonder Women, where, in part, she states she is upset that women are “forced” to spend so much time and energy on looking good.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this (sometimes touchy) subject.

Are there some things we can’t control, like genes?  Of course.  On the other hand, if I can control the way I look in my jeans, I will do so until the day I die or am otherwise unable to keep moving.  From where I sit, it’s either that or to fade off into the sunset, wrinkle by wrinkle, carb by carb.  Anyone who knows me well will tell you that’s just not my style.  I plan to go out swinging, one squat, lunge, and push-up at a time.

I’ll never look perfect, and neither will you.  The incessant conversation about stereotypical Barbie bodies makes me mad, and I’m by no means implying that women should have that goal.  God bless the Athletas of the world who have championed the mantra that STRONG IS THE NEW SEXY.  I love that.  Whether you are a size 4 or a 14 doesn’t really matter. (Unless perhaps your husband fell in love with a 4 and now you’re a 14.  I do think it’s important to have a hard conversation with yourself about that…and likewise if he’s gone from Mr. Svelte to looking like he’s headed to try out to be the next Pillsbury Doughboy).  As we hit middle age, our relationships may change, and that all can be part of the “We’re fine, right?” conversation.

My last post was about my car and what my dog did in it.  If you haven’t read it, it’s here:  My car can provide a good analogy for the conversation surrounding maintenance.  When I bought it seven years ago, it was sleek, elegant, and shiny.  Surely, it’s seen it’s fair share of incidents:  a few dings here and there, a couple of my kids have thrown up in it, and most recently, Baxter’s infamous fiasco.  Even now, as it’s starting to rust, I try my best to take care of it.  It will never be  the same younger version it once was, but because I’m fairly vigilant about cleaning out trash, vacuuming, and detailing it as needed, it looks pretty good for a minivan with 153,000 miles on it.

My car relates back to women (and men too, for that matter, but we’ll talk about the BODY BY BUDWEISER crowd in a future post).  I can hear some of you chiming in, “Oh Brooke, you are so shallow.”  Before you jump all over me, rest assured that taking care of yourself will pay big dividends later on.  You may find yourself forced to wear Depends at age 75, but if you can still jog a 10-minute mile, who cares?  Making the time at least 4 days a week for an hour to work out has also helped me immensely as a mother and spouse in terms of lowering my stress level and increasing my patience.  I find that I sleep better, I have more energy, and yes, I feel like a hot mama again.  I believe I’ve found a path to aging as gracefully as possible.

Let’s face it: there are a few small things we can all do, aside from exercise, to keep on top of our maintenance.

#1:  THE HAIR ON YOUR HEAD.  The timing of this post is perfect.  I just got home from my first true “cut and color.”  Why?  Because if I want to look like a witch, I’ll dress up like one for Halloween.  After finding precisely eight grey hairs on my head, it was time to act swiftly.  I have neither the interest nor the inclination to ever be referred to as the “salt and pepper mom”.  Two hours, six PEOPLE magazines, and a hefty tab later, I have an all-brown head of hair once again.   Mirror, mirror, on the wall…no more grey hairs for the rest of the Fall.

#2: THE HAIR DOWN THERE.  A good friend recently confided as to why she wears a bathing suit skirt bottom.  It’s because she doesn’t “have time” to clean up her bikini area.  I have three words, girls: MOW THE LAWN.  It’s just so…overgrown otherwise, and what on earth, combined with all the other crap we are dealing with as we age, is attractive about that?  Get laser, use NAIR, shave, for God’s sake use your preschooler’s scissors to cut it if you have no other options! Just do something about it.  NOW.

#3: MAKE AN EFFORT WITH YOUR UNDERGARMENTS.  Don’t be like I was, here, with a 3, 5, and 7 year-old, headed for the Glamour magazine FASHION DON’T column, sporting worn-out briefs:

#4: IN THE WORDS OF MY LATE GRANDMOTHER, “PUT ON A LITTLE LIPSTICK”.  No need to look overdone, but a pop of color can add a whole dimension to how beautiful you already are.

#5: ACCESSORIZE!  Jewelry and scarves are my favorite choices here.  They compliment even the most faded jeans and standard yoga pants!

As for Spar’s book, Wonder Woman, it looks worth reading, but I found her bit about the beauty standard out of touch with reality.  She insinuates that women are slaves to what society demands of us.  Yet there are many of us, myself included, who embrace the challenge wholeheartedly as best we can, for what we believe to be some very valid reasons: it feels good, we are happier, and we are healthier.  Additionally, the idea of turning into someone who “lets herself go” has about as much curb appeal to me as a rotten pumpkin sitting curbside two weeks after Halloween.

Here’s to extending my warranty for as long as possible.




2 thoughts on “Maintenance (#onewomansview).

  1. You are beautiful! Gordon Spater Kurgo Products/Motivation Design, LLC. phone 978-465-5678 x101 :: :: 2D Fanaras Dr. :: Salisbury, MA 01952 Video: skype (gspater) and facetime ( Go Together… Follow us Facebook : Youtube

    From: the suburban chronicles Reply-To: the suburban chronicles Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 20:20:37 +0000 To: Gordie Spater Subject: [New post] Maintenance (#onewomansview).

    The Suburban Chronicles ~ The reward is in the journey. posted: “Every winter, I ski with my good friend from college, K. K is beautiful inside and out. She is this way on this inside because she is smart, kind, and very funny. She is beautiful on the outside because she works very hard at it. She is tall, strong a”

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