Momfession #55: Shiny People

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Every Sunday morning, we take our kids to swimming lessons. Our three-year-old’s lesson is first, and we are almost always rushing in at the last minute. I typically burst through the door that leads to the pool deck carrying my unshowered (“too cold, mommy!!”), messy-haired daughter sporting a bathing suit one size too small. I plop her down at the side of the pool and walk as quickly as the wet floor and flip-flops will allow, back to the locker room before she can follow me. We sit for the next 25 minutes in the viewing area and watch a surprisingly happy K as she practices her flutter kicks, before it is our son’s turn to get dressed for his lesson.

In the moments that we have between watching both kids swim, struggling to get them dressed, and waving to them from behind the plexiglass, I get the chance to check out the other parents.

Most of them look like us…somewhat sloppily dressed, overtired, preoccupied with their mobile devices, while periodically commenting that “he’s getting better at his back stroke!” or shouting, “c’mon honey, you can do it, just jump in!!”

But there are a few parents that stick out. I like to call them the Shiny People.

The Shiny People show up right on time. Their kids are wearing perfectly-sized swimsuits. They carry their towels in brand new Lululemon duffels that perfectly match their coats. The Shiny women have gorgeous, thin bodies, and the Shiny men have perfectly-coiffed hair. The couples nuzzle each other and breezily chat while beaming at their beautiful offspring. They look like they just stepped out of J Crew catalogue page 17 entitled “A Sunday with the Family”.

I absolutely hate them.

When the Shiny’s are around, I begin to second guess myself. How is it possible for parents like that to look so put together, get along so well with their spouses, and seem to operate completely stress-free, while I am in the corner wearing oversized jeans and yesterday`s sweater, growling at my husband?

I have always assumed that behind the perfect exterior, every parent/couple is hiding some issues. But what if that isn’t true? What if the Shiny People know something I don’t? What if they ARE better parents, have better relationships, better lives? How does that happen?! And why do they bother me so much??

Maybe it is because I know I will never, ever be like them. I don’t have the money (or the desire, or the body) to dress like them. My husband isn’t the “modern-babywearing-latte-drinking-collared-shirt-on-weekends” sort of man. Our kids our noncompliant at best. And I am a stressed out bitch on Sunday mornings (and most other family outings).

So, I implore all of you Shiny People out there, please stop looking so damn perfect all the time, and let me in on some of the imperfections that you have hiding behind your Ray-Bans. And for the love of god, tone down the cologne. There is no one to impress at the public pool on a Sunday morning. No one.

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Momfession #54: Come here often?

Last night, I attended an after-work networking event. It was at a bar in downtown Toronto, and while not particularly fancy, it was a kid-free few hours out where I could have a drink and meet new people, and I was excited. At one point in the evening, I was chatting with a young(er) and somewhat attractive guy about work stuff when a much-younger-and-skinnier-than-me girl walked past. I watched with amusement as his gaze immediately shifted away from our conversation and toward the girl in the fitted red dress. I wasn’t at all offended (heck, I was checking the her out too) and I chalked it up to the obvious wedding ring on my finger and my business attire. It was only later that I started thinking about it, and wondering if those were the only reasons why I was no longer worthy of a check-out or some good old-fashioned flirting.

I used to love to flirt. And I was good at it. I was never the hottest, skinniest, sexiest woman in the room, but boy did I know how to flirt. I never had a problem finding men to flirt with on a given night; they always just sort of materialized. And I never for a second considered that the men I flirted with wouldn’t be interested in flirting back.

But once you become a mom, something happens. In fact, several things happen that seem to deter random men in bars from wanting to flirt with you. Apart from the obvious extra poundage, frumpy mom clothes, and wedding-ringed finger, something changes that I can’t quite comprehend. Maybe it is the slightly overenthusiastic look that I must have on my face, because I am out drinking a drink like a grown-up and talking to other grown-ups about grown-up things. Or maybe there are some sort of un-flirtworthy pheromones that a woman’s body produces once they birth a child. In any case, I am pretty sure that my days of being able to command a man’s attention in a room full of other women are long gone.

I would never want to trade the life I have now for my single days. Although it was fun to go out, flirt, and sleep until noon, and my boobs were much perkier then, I actually feel much more attractive and secure than I ever did in my twenties. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a part of me that misses being thought of as attractive by someone other than my husband and kids. It is flattering, obviously, but perhaps more than that, it is a reminder of the person I used to be before becoming “mom”. Sometimes, in the insanity of life with kids, I lose sight of that flirtatious, fun-loving, spunky girl that I used to know. And I miss her.

So if you’re a dude, and you ever see me out in a bar, buy me a damn drink. It won’t get you anywhere, but it will make this frumpy old mom feel a little bit more like a lady.