We’re all familiar with the unfortunate nature by which dogs age, adding seven years at a time rather than the normal one people-year. Except, I don’t know many people beyond the age of five who are truly only aging annually; between throwing down too many processed foods, constant exposure to environmental risks, countless bad choices, and Donald Trump actually having a shot at leading a whole country, many of us are packing on the years right along with the pounds.
There is an aging process that affects only the maternal side of parental units. Its scientific name is Maternalosis Degenerative Progression Syndrome (MDPS), but most of us know it by its street name, Mom Years. Like the odd phenomenon of having just looked at your watch yet having absolutely no idea what time it is, Mom Years often elicits a “Wait, what?!” response upon recognition.
Mom Years ages a woman up to five years the second she holds her baby, and boasts some significant symptoms: Mom’s heart is transplanted to her sleeve, she loses all control (of both her bladder and the ability to protect her child), and incessant worrying can result in the permanent furrowing of her brow. Once that adorable little poop machine starts walking, tack on another ten years. Oh, he’s a chatterbox now, spilling family secrets to perfect strangers? 20 YEARS!
Having birthed three children, I, too, suffer from the effects of Mom Years. Just recently, I’ve seen my oldest child off to kindergarten, my middle to pre-school, and my youngest to three different therapists to battle physical and developmental delays. My birth certificate may tell you I am 34, but I am approximately 465 Mom-Years-old.
You might be thinking, “Holy cannoli, Mom Years is the pits!” but have no fear, fellow Mama. Together, we can reverse the effects of this syndrome and live fuller, healthier lives, and the best news is it’s EASY! Below are five fool-proof ways to combat Maternalosis Degenerative Progression Syndrome:
- Cleanliness is next to Momliness: I used to be a neat freak, then kids. But I will not compromise when it comes to my space. When I sit at my perch, which is currently a pub table in our kitchen, I have a bird’s eye view of our living room. I get twitchy if it’s cluttered, so I insist the place is tidied each night. Waking up to and working in a non-cluttered space easily erases 5-10 Mom years. WIN!
- Start the day with a healthy choice: I try like crazy to begin each day with a healthy choice. Sometimes that means jumping on the treadmill, which isn’t easy because I hate that thing with the heat of a thousand suns, but with the help of music and YouTube clips of babies laughing, I’m more successful sweating it out in the AM. There are days, though, that I can’t manage a workout, so I make sure to down water, take multi-vitamins, and eat something filling and good for my body. It’s difficult not to lather pumpkin cream cheese on a bagel the size of my face, but Fiber One® Streusel bars are yummy and better for me.
- If Mama ain’t happy…: I used to cringe at that saying because it made Mom seem like a tyrant: “See here, minions, I am displeased and now I aim to make your lives unbearable! Muahahahaha!” But I don’t interpret that old adage the same since having kids. If I’m not happy, I’m doing my family a disservice. It’s like the airline rule to put on your oxygen mask before adjusting that of your passenger’s: Moms, take care of you so you can take care of them. It’s not selfish, it’s science. More or less. Treat yourself to a manicure or a quiet cup of coffee—you’ve earned it!
- Don’t forget your passions: It’s very easy to make our children our world, and while I’m not suggesting that’s a terrible idea, I’m merely recommending not losing yourself under your Mom hat. Mom Years takes a hefty toll on those who are completely submerged in any one activity that requires so much giving and so very little receiving. Not until our children are grown and flown do they really appreciate us (so says my Mother, but what does she know?!), which is why it’s so important to keep playing that guitar and continue taking those art classes. Ya never know when a hobby could become so much more.
- Drink enough water: …with vodka and lemon. Works like magic. Or at least it makes you feel like magic. Samesies.