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Sometimes I Can't Believe What's Happening to My Face

Photograph by Twenty20

I blame my first wrinkles on motherhood. Apparently, I've furrowed my brow so much in response to the day-to-day stressors of mom life that I now have a hairline wrinkle in that exact spot. I can see it even when I'm not furrowing, which makes me want to furrow but also makes me want to cry.

Forget about my pre-baby body. Can I get my pre-baby face back?

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Lack of sleep is the major culprit in premature aging. Never mind that sleep deprivation also impacts cognitive performance and memory! One study (admitted, it was funded by Estée Lauder) found that sleep-deprived people showed increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors. Skin repairs itself at night—while we sleep. You can see how this would affect new moms who hardly get any sleep.

I don't need a study to tell me I look older though. It took a year for my baby to sleep through the night. The difference between my pre-baby and post-baby face is considerable. There's really nothing like that carefree glow.

There are other ways I've aged too. I don't like when neighbors have loud parties (It's 10 p.m.! We're trying to sleep over here).

In addition to lack of sleep, I'm convinced the daily stress of mom life adds years to our faces too. Consider President Obama, who's leaving his second term of office with considerably more grey in his hair. President Obama has a lot in common with your average, super-exhausted mom when you think about. Dealing with tantrums from those who should know better, having to say the same thing over and over again, the weight of responsibility bearing down on him—and sometimes having to wield veto power much to others' chagrin.

Stressful jobs take a toll on a person and motherhood is stressful.

There are other ways I've aged too. I don't like when neighbors have loud parties (It's 10 p.m.! We're trying to sleep over here). I spend my weekend mornings doing yoga, not recovering from the night before. When I have time to myself, I'd much rather have a quiet dinner with my husband than go to a party. I worry about food additives, cancer, sensible financial planning. Becoming a mom forces you to grow by leaps and bounds.

I know I should think of aging as a privilege and something to approach with grace and quiet dignity. I'm trying, I really am.

But the proof that motherhood changed me is staring back at me in the mirror every morning.

I’m not going quietly into that good night (seemingly also my daughter’s personal ethos for her first year of life). No, I’m fighting against the onslaught of time in a few ways: adding a serum to my skincare routine, diligently wearing SPF, wearing my makeup more naturally since I've crossed the line where less is more. One more thing: There's a reason they call it beauty sleep—getting a nap feels a little like a spa treatment, except with neglected chores at the end.

Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe her-kid-slept-till-8-a.m!

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I know I should think of aging as a privilege and something to approach with grace and quiet dignity. I'm trying, I really am. If #momface ever has you feeling down, just remember everything we got in exchange.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat, of course. I suppose if I'm going to end up with wrinkles anyway, I'd much rather they be laugh lines.

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